The AAT Accounting Qualification

The AAT Accounting Qualification will start you on the path to a successful accounting and finance career. Our training will give you the practical skills and financial expertise to follow a rewarding career in professional accountancy.

Who should study the AAT Accounting Qualification?

To begin studying the AAT Accounting Qualification. all you need to have are:

  • An aspiration to achieve
  • Confidence with numbers
  • The ability to complete assessments and written projects in English.

Don’t forget that the AAT Accounting Qualification is a practical vocational qualification, leading to great career prospects. Read why it’s a cost-effective alternative to university.

How do I start studying the AAT Accounting Qualification?

To begin studying the AAT Accounting Qualification, you need to:

What will I learn and achieve?

The AAT Accounting Qualification is made up three levels. Read about what you’ll learn at each level:

Order your free AAT information pack or try our quick, free online AAT Skillcheck test to see which starting level is the best for you.

Qualification details

Select from the list below

How long is the AAT Accounting Qualification?

AAT qualifications offer a flexible way to study, so you can study full-time, part-time, from home or online.

There are three levels to the AAT Accounting Qualification. You will spend about a year on each level, so if you start at Level 2, it will take you three years to become fully qualified. If you have previous experience, you could have certain exemptions, and qualify in two years or less.

You should spend three hours a week studying outside of class, for each learning and assessment area. Your study time will need to increase before assessments when you’re revising. Don’t forget to use all the study and membership support we offer.

Guided learning hours and credits

This table below shows the Guided Learning Hours (GLH) and credits for each level of the AAT Accounting Qualification.

Qualification Guided learning hours (England, Wales, Northern Ireland) Credits (Scotland, non-UK countries)
AAT Level 2 Certificate in Accounting (Scotland Level 5) 210 34
AAT Level 3 Diploma in Accounting (Scotland Level 6) 305 37
AAT Level 4 Diploma in Accounting (Scotland Level 8)  280 for mandatory units
80 to 120 for optional units
32 for mandatory units
10 to 14 for optional units

Guided Learning Hours (GLH) are the hours in which a tutor, trainer or facilitator is present and contributing to your learning process. For example, GLH would include tutorials, supervised practical work, meetings you have about work experience and assessments with an assessor present.

The credits indicate the size of the qualifications and how long it typically takes to achieve. 

The AAT Accounting Qualification is accredited under Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). You can read more about the QCF at the Ofqual website.

Study support and assessments

We work with our approved training providers to support you during your studies, with comprehensive study support and e-learning resources.

Study support

As an AAT student member, you’ll be able to use these exclusive study resources:

  • Learning area overviews: these explain the skills and knowledge you’ll develop in each learning area
  • E-learning: interactive audio-visual tutorials covering key learning areas of the units you’ll be studying
  • Green Light tests: interactive online tests to check how well you understand your learning areas and identify where you need to do more work. They’ll also give you an idea of whether you’re ready for the assessment
  • Assessment briefings: These show you what you need to know for your assessments and help you understand the skills and knowledge that you’ll be assessed on
  • Sample assessments: these will test your knowledge and familiarise you with the computer based assessment format.


There are two main types of computer based assessment (CBA):

  • Computer based tests (CBT) marked by AAT. Level 2 and 3 provisional results are available on the assessment day. Level 4 results are available within six weeks of the assessment date
  • Computer based projects (CBP) marked by your training provider. Results are available after the project has been assessed and internally verified by your training provider.

There are also two optional ways to complete units:

  • Recognition of prior learning (RPL), where we take into account your previous study. This is available for all units
  • Workplace evidence (WPE) is only accepted for a limited number of units where specified.

How much does the AAT Accounting Qualification cost?

There are two types of fees – training provider fees and AAT fees.

Training provider fees
Training providers set their own fees to cover study materials and tuition support. Distance-learning can start from approximately £600 per level. Full-time classroom study with a further education college can start from approximately £800 per level.

You can read some examples of typical fees you can expect to pay for your AAT training.

Use our training provider search to find the right training provider for you, and contact them about the fees for your AAT study.

AAT fees
To start your study, you need to become an AAT student member. AAT fees cover the registration and support you’ll receive as a student member. Student membership gives you access to benefits including branch network events, a membership magazine and online study and career resources.

There are also fees for taking AAT assessments. Some training providers may charge you on behalf of AAT, so you will only have to pay your training provider.

See our list of current AAT fees.

Depending on where you live and your own circumstances, the government and other agencies may offer financial help with your AAT training. Find out more about the funding options available.

What can I do after I complete the AAT Accounting Qualification?

After you’ve qualified with AAT, you can choose how to build on all the skills and knowledge you’ve gained. The best news is that we’ll still be here to support you, and help develop your career as an accounting and finance professional.

Depending on your career goals, we have the resources and support to help you:

  • Become an AAT full member (and use the letters MAAT after your name)
  • Become a chartered accountant
  • Go to university
  • Start your own business and become self-employed.

Read more about where AAT can take you in your career.

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