Professional courses

6 Professional Courses You Can Take If You’re in the Commerce Stream Outside of CA

If you are a business student, the most common career option you would have heard of is CA. Although Chartered Accountancy is a very good career option, it is not the only option. Whether you are a class 12 student or a business graduate, taking a professional course helps you get great career opportunities.

Although some of the courses on this list require you to have a degree and some work experience, knowing what to do early on helps set you up for a better career. So today we’re looking at the different career options available to you if you’re a business student who doesn’t have to be a CA.


ACCA stands for Association of Chartered Accountants which confers the qualification of chartered accountant. ACCA is an international degree while CA is an Indian degree.

ACCA has three levels, known as, Level of applied knowledge, level of applied skills and strategic professional level. There are a total of 13 articles in ACCA.

the the first 4 ACCA papers are on demand, that is, you can choose when do you want to give the exam. You are considered to have passed the test even if you are unable to pass the whole level, unlike CA where there is an overall requirement for minimum marks as well as passing all subjects in a group.

Who should do the ACCA?

If you want to pursue a career in accounting with an international degree recognized in over 180 countries, ACCA could be a good option for you. It opens the door for you to work anywhere in the world.

2. CMA

CMA stands for Cost and Management Accountants. This is a professional course provided by the Institute of Cost Accountants of India. CMA is similar to CA because about 70% of the subject matter is the same. The difference is in specialization.

non-ca business course

CA focuses more on audit, compliance, and tax, while CMA focuses more on cost accounting or cost auditing. There are three levels in CMA – Foundation, Intermediate and Final. To become a CMA professional, you must complete all three levels.

Who should do CMA?

If you are more interested in cost accounting than financial accounting, then CMA is a better option for you. You can start CMA after completing your 12th standard or after graduating. If you pursue CMA after 12, you must pass all three levels, while if you pursue it after graduation, you only have to pass the intermediate and final levels.


CS represented Company Secretary and it is a professional course provided by the Institute of Company Secretaries of India. This course is also divided into three levels – Foundation, Executive and Professional.

Compared to the other courses on the list, CS is more theoretical. There are lots of concepts to learn and sections to remember. This course teaches you how to manage the legal aspects of a firm.

cs courses outside of ca
Source: myaolcc

Who should do CS?

If you are someone who is interested in subjects like law and like the legal aspects of a business, CS might be a good option for you. You can pursue CS right after clearing the 12th standard or you can also pursue it after graduation. If you start after 12 you have to clear all three levels whereas if you start after graduation you only have to clear Executive and Professional.

4. CAP

CPA stands for Accountant and is offered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. This is another professional course in the accounting and finance industry. Unlike the other courses on the list, you cannot do CPA right after completing your 12th standard.

To pursue CPA, you must have taken your 12th standard with the commerce component and studied mathematics, economics and accounting as majors. You must complete your degree in order to pursue CPA. This may be an additional course you can take if you want to work in US companies.

CPA course for business students
Source: Brilliant Learning

The CPA exam consists of four sections – Audit and Attestation (AUD), Environment and Business Concepts (BEC), Accounting and Financial Reporting (FAR), and Regulatory (REG). You must pass all sections within 18 months to become a CPA.

Who should do CPA?

Although you cannot do CPA after 12 years, but if you are interested in working in the United States, you can plan your career from the beginning and prepare accordingly. The CPA is usually done by people who already hold a degree in professional accounting and plan to work in companies in the United States or in American companies operating in India.

5. CFA

CFA stands for Chartered Financial Analyst. This is a globally recognized professional course offered by the CFA Institute, USA. There are three levels of CFA comprising 10 core subjects. CFA exams are held 4 times a year.

As a CPA, you cannot do a CFA right after 12th class. You must have graduated in any field to be eligible for the CFA exams. Along with this, you also need a minimum of 4 years of experience in order to pursue CFA.

Who should do the CFA?

If you are interested in the financial services field, you can take the CFA course. If jobs such as research analysts, portfolio managers, and investment banking analysts sound appealing to you, you can opt for the CFA. You can start preparing for it early and take the exams as you become eligible.

6. FRM

FRM stands for Financial Risk Manager and is a course awarded by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP). With the increase in the need for risk identification, assessment and management, the demand for FRM is also increasing.

You can enroll in FRM right after 12th class as there is no eligibility criteria for enrolment. There are two levels in FRM comprising 10 subjects. To get the FRM certificate, you need to clear both levels. After passing the levels, you must obtain two years of relevant work experience in the risk profile.

frm course outside of ca

Who should do FRM?

If you are interested in risk management, you can opt for FRM. After receiving the FRM charter, you can advance to the position of risk analyst, operational risk manager, risk consultant, portfolio manager, credit risk specialists, etc.

All the courses mentioned in the list require a high level of skills. The more qualified you are, the better your salary will be. International professional courses open doors for working globally.

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