Professional Recognition

Our recognition scheme contributes towards the professionalisation of teaching by conferring the status of Associate Fellow, Fellow, Senior Fellow or Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

The scheme is closely referenced to the UK Professional Standards Framework (UKPSF).There are many benefits to gaining recognition as an Academy Fellow:

  • It provides national recognition of your commitment to professionalism in teaching and learning in higher education;
  • It demonstrates that your practice is aligned with the UK PSF;
  • It provides an indicator of professional identity for higher education practitioners, including the entitlement to use post-nominal letters:
    AFHEA – Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
    FHEA – Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
    SFHEA - Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
    PFHEA – Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • It is a portable asset, that has UK-wide relevance and which is increasingly recognised by higher and further education institutions.

For an overview of what Professional Recognition means to individuals and organisations, you can download our 2013 Annual Conference poster, 'Partners in Professional Practice and Recognition'.

The HEA is pleased to announce that it has progressed to the next stage of a phased development of the application process for Professional Recognition. The new online application process is now available for use. This enables individuals and institutions to make applications for professional recognition with the HEA via the My Academy portal

The online facility will improve and streamline the process, enhance payment security, data capture and overall service quality. Applications by individuals and batch applications made by Course Programme Leaders are supported. Certificates will be automatically electronically generated and portable. It is through this route all new applications will be processed.

For more information on the new system, please see our Frequently Asked Questions document.

Applying for recognition

Individuals can apply for recognition via the following:

On completion of Academy-accredited professional development provision (for example PG Cert in teaching and learning in HE, or accredited Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme).

With effect from 1 August 2013, the HEA will charge a £150 fee for HEA Fellowship for individuals who started their course after this date and who are applying for professional recognition via accredited provision, who are not employed by a subscribing institution.

This means an individual starting a course in September 2013 will be charged the fee unless they are employed by a subscribing institution. For individuals already enrolled on an accredited course the fee will not apply.

This change has been introduced in accordance with our tariff of charges published in October 2012. For further information, please call the Professional Recognition team on 01904 717500, or email us at

All applications by individuals on the basis of completing an HEA accredited provision should be submitted using MyAcademy.

By applying through the Academy’s Individual Recognition Route, on the basis of their experience in teaching and learning to become an:

The fee you will pay will depend on whether you are employed by a subscribing institution; details of the fees for professional recognition are included in the guidance notes. These are available on the relevant webpage for each category of recognition.

Applications for Professional Recognition via the experienced route may be used for training and development purposes by the HEA.  The final decision to award any category of Fellowship is at the discretion of the HEA.

You can download our timelines for application processes (1.57MB) for an overview of how long applications typically take to process.

In order to improve our recognition services, revisions may be made to our web content from time to time, please check our website at regular intervals to ensure you have the most up to date information available.