Qualifications and accreditation
Professions typically require a prospective member to undertake a training course or apprenticeship, or to complete a particular qualification as a core requirement of membership (among other requirements, such as: examinations; fulfilling a practicum component, etc.), which enables a prospective member to practice that profession.
Professional qualifications can be used to set a competency benchmark for a profession's members. They contribute to the skill growth and good practice standards of a profession.
It is difficult to assess the quality of a qualification, which is why accreditation is so important. Accreditation means that there are minimum standards in place that an education provider must meet, which are monitored and subject to strict requirements and control by an external regulator who has been granted that power through Act of Parliament.
In addition to ensuring a minimum quality standard is consistently applied, accreditation gives context to a qualification. It does this through the allocation of levels and credit points.
Qualification levels: most qualifications have a complexity level (1-12 in Scotland). The higher the level, the more complex the qualification is.
Credit points: All accredited qualifications have credit points. They help to quantify learning outcomes, indicating the amount of time that an 'average' learner at a specified level might expect to achieve the outcomes of a qualification. One Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) credit point represents 10 notional learning hours. Most mainstream qualifications in Scotland have been allocated a set amount of SCQF credit points (e.g. an SQA Higher has 24 credits at level 6, or 240 notional learning hours).
At the time of consulting, there were no funeral director qualifications listed on the SCQF. There are a handful of funeral service qualifications listed on the Register of Regulated Qualifications (for England and Northern Ireland), and on the Credit and Qualifications Framework (for Wales – although at time of consultation they were recorded as 'no longer available').