The UK professional system is relatively permissive, with a relatively small number of regulated professions, mostly clustered within the teaching, medical and legal sectors. Regulated professions, which include professions such as architecture, teachers in publicly regulated schools, doctors, midwives and nurses, are professions in which those wishing to practise are required by law to fulfil specific conditions and present specified qualifications in order to legally practice the profession in the UK. A list of those approved to practice is held by the relevant competent authority.
In the UK, most professions are unregulated, particularly in trades and crafts. For the unregulated professions, there are no laws restricting individuals wishing to practise these professions and no specific qualifications or training are required. Individual employers will determine what qualifications they deem to be necessary for the adequate performance of an individual's job duties. There is no requirement that the individual register with any authority or organisation.
The UK has a number of protected professional titles with designatory letters. Unless the profession is otherwise listed as a regulated profession, these titles are voluntary, and individuals are under no obligation to obtain a protected title in order to practise their chosen profession. These titles may enhance a professional's status within their chosen profession, as the titles ordinarily convey to customers that a higher level of training and, therefore, of quality has been attained by the holder of the title.
While individuals are perfectly entitled to practice unregulated professions without obtaining a protected title, only those who have obtained the title from the relevant professional body may legally use it.