Why employers value this

Holding the QCD and a Master’s/Post Graduate Diploma shows employers that your professional practice is underpinned by a post graduate level of understanding of theories, policies, professional networking and research which have challenged you to be critical, enquiring and reflective. 

Employers appreciate the academic rigor that underpins the post graduate qualification, that the QCD is developed, moderated and awarded by the CDI as the professional body for the sector, and that as part of the QCD, professional practice is assessed in the workplace. As students undertaking the QCD are student members of the CDI, employers also know that they understand the CDI Code of Ethics and how to adhere to its principles.  

Holding QCF Level 7/SCQF Level 11 qualifications also opens up opportunities to progress to more senior strategic level roles, such as consultancy and management, where there is an expectation to apply academic rigour to driving a service forward 

This combination of the post graduate qualification and the QCD equips you to work in both an employed and self-employed capacity in any part of the sector across the UK and with clients of all ages. It is also valued by international employers.  

The skills and knowledge you gain can be used in any setting, e.g. schools, colleges, universities, careers companies, National Careers Service, voluntary and community sectorcustodial settings, private practice, Careers Hubs and Local Enterprise Partnerships, training, research and more. 

For information on where students in the UK have found employment please see: QCD Destinations on the QCD Further Resources page 

Vacancies in the sector can be found in Careers in Careers. 

Holding the Master’s/Post Graduate Diploma and QCD meets the qualification requirement for the UK Register of Career Development Professionals 

In England the Master’s/Post Graduate Diploma in a career development subject and the Qualification in Career Development are recommended in the Statutory guidance for schools and guidance for further education colleges and sixth form colleges (January 2023) 

In Scotland, if employed by Skills Development Scotlandit is a requirement that the Post Graduate Diploma in Career Guidance and Development and the Qualification in Career Development are held. Increasingly other employers such as university career services and colleges are more frequently requiring these qualifications to be held. 

What the QCD covers

The QCD Learning Outcomes are the same at all seven universities. The Master’s/Post Graduate Diploma enables you to develop a post graduate level of understanding of the following which in turn help you to meet the QCD requirements.  

  • Production, application and client use of sources of career and labour market information and assessment tools and techniques.

  • Principles of learning design and how to apply them to a range of career-related learning activities. 

  • Theoretical approaches to the study of career development from a range of disciplinary areas. 

  • Approaches and techniques for conducting client-focused career development interactions with individuals using a variety of delivery modes. 

  • Contemporary career-related policy and its impact on service delivery and practice.  

  • Professional networks and partnership working. 

  • Personal values and beliefs, ethical and legal issues and their application to career development practice.  

  • Continuous professional development as a career development practitioner. 

In addition, the Professional Practice element of the QCD covers: 

  • undertaking career guidance interviews with clients of different ages and the use of technology when conducting interviews. 

  • undertaking group work sessions with a range of different clients. 

  • obtaining, using and interpreting Labour Market Information. 

  • reflecting on own practice, application of the CDI Code of Ethics and determining own CPD needs. 

  • completing a minimum of 20 days of work-based learning (WBL) in an organisation employing fully qualified career development professionals to: 

  1. observe and/or work with a range of clients; 

  2. observe experienced practitioners in their day-to-day work;  

  3. practise interviewing and/or group work skills;  

  4. be assessed or receive feedback from experienced practitioners on their interviews and/or group work;  

  5. gather information and/or undertake research for assignments or their Master’s dissertation;  

  6. understand more clearly the practical application of their theoretical studies to the workplace environment;  

  7. undertake visits and research the local labour market;  

  8. learn about the networks in which career development professionals operate. 

  • completing a further 10 days of relevant WBL, e.g. attending conferences, networking events, visits to careers companies etc.  

Full details of the Qualification in Career Development can be found in the QCD Handbook.

Students also produce a QCD Professional Report in which they collate the evidence to meet the above requirements.  

Where the Master’s/Post Graduate Diploma and QCD are offered

The content, titles and modes of study of the Master’s/Post Graduate Diploma vary between universities. Please look at the course information for each university. Links to each university website and contact info for each university can be found on our QCD Course Centres page

QCD Fees

Most professional qualifications require that a fee is paid. The QCD fee covers the cost of having your QCD Professional Report moderated by a team of qualified and experienced CDI Moderators, the provision of free Student Conferences and the updating of the QCD each year so that it continues to meet the demands of employers from across the UK career development sector.  

Whilst undertaking the QCD you are also required to be a student member of the CDI. This costs £55 and brings a range of benefits which will help you with your studies 

The QCD fee for both full and part time students is a one-off fee of £310 

To pay the QCD fee and Student Membership feeplease use QCD and Student Membership Fees Payment.

QCD Placements with Employers

One of the requirements of the QCD is that students undertake a minimum of 20 days' placement with an employer/s and a further 10 days of work-based learning. If you are interested in offering these opportunities or are required by your course to source your own placements please have a look at the QCD Placement brochure.

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