How to choose the right course

With so many creative courses on offer in such fast evolving industries, it can be daunting to find the right one for you.

Whether you are looking to begin your career path with a full-time degree, earn as you learn with an apprenticeship or develop your skills with a short practical course, there are some basic questions you should consider before making your decisions.

Ask yourself:

Why do I want to do this?

If you are considering a course to help you get your foot on the ladder of a creative career, have a think about the skills you will gain. Is there a need for this type of skill in the industry or job you are interested in? Will gaining these skills improve your chances of getting a job? Click here to explore the industries more, including the skills in high demand.

What are my skills and strengths?

Having a passion for what you do is essential to working in the Creative Industries and always remember that people who work at something they actively enjoy generally do much better at their job than people who don’t.

Identifying what you are good at and choosing a course that reflects your abilities and plays to your strengths is essential. If you find it difficult to recognise your strengths and weaknesses ask your teachers and tutors, friends and peers.

Will the course really lead anywhere?

Don’t waste time and money on a course that will not take you where you want to be. Think about the career options your study will open up for you as well as any other steps you might need to take after the course.

Are the skills you will gain needed to fill gaps in the industry?

Check out our job roles where you’ll find descriptions of the many different jobs in the Creative Industries. You can also see the qualifications you will need to get to these jobs and read real life stories about how others have made it.

Once you have considered what you'll get out of a course in these terms, you need to weigh up the costs and benefits to see if it really is the right one to meet your needs.

Do your research

It’s important to look beyond the marketing blurb and check the details of the course and the institution or training provider to see if it is suitable for you.

Gather as much information as possible by reading the prospectus thoroughly and attending any open days or taster sessions.

Things to consider:

Links with industry

Some degree courses will involve practical training through work experience or paid placements. Apprenticeships provide a mix of on-the-job learning at a creative company with off-the-job classroom learning. Gaining hands-on, practical experience of the workplace is a vital ingredient in getting you ready for a creative career.

Creative Skillset has worked with the industries to assess and identify the courses and apprenticeship programmes that have the closest links with the industries and provide the highest quality of education to prepare you for a creative career.

They have been awarded the Creative Skillset Tick. Find out about the courses and programmes awarded the Tick here.

Tutors

An experienced tutor is essential, ideally with some industry experience in the field you wish to study - this a key criterion in assessing courses for the Creative Skillset Tick.

Check the tutors' credentials before the course and how recent and relevant their experience is.

Equipment

It is important to keep up with technological development and be able to use the most up-to-date equipment in your field. There may also be cost implications if you have to have access any specific equipment that may not be included in course fees. Before committing to a course, check what equipment is required, how much access you will have if it is provided and if you need any prior knowledge or experience.

Support

Most courses will be a stepping stone on the path to your chosen career. Other courses or experience may be required to develop your knowledge further or top up your skills. Find out what support an institution or training provider offers during and after a course, if there is any opportunity for careers advice or help with job searches.

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