Qualifications - levels
Different types of qualifications are grouped together into various 'levels'. This can help you and employers to see how different qualifications compare and how one type can lead on to another.
Advanced Subsidiary and Advanced levels
If you want to study a particular subject in detail, AS and A level qualifications may be for you. They are highly valued by schools, colleges and employers.
Higher National Certificates and Diplomas
If you want to go on to higher education and gain a recognised qualification to do a specific job, a BTEC, HNC or HND could be for you. HNCs and HNDs focus on 'learning by doing' and can lead into a new career, or help you in your current line of work.
If you want to learn more about a particular job or area of work, there are many vocational qualifications you can choose from, like BTEC qualifications and OCR Nationals.
- Business and Technical Education Council (BTECs), Ordinary National Certificates (OCR) and other vocational qualifications
Higher education qualifications
Bachelor's degrees are higher education qualifications that help you develop a thorough understanding of a subject. There are a vast number of subjects to choose from.
Entry level qualifications
If you want to gain a qualification that is recognised across the UK, but don't feel ready for GCSEs or equivalent qualifications, an Entry Level Certificate could be for you. And they're available in a wide range of subjects.
Academic study with work-based learning
A Foundation degree is a higher education qualification which combines academic and work related learning. They are university level degree programmes in their own right and offer an exciting work based alternative to the traditional university route
- Foundation degrees
GCSEs are the main qualification taken by 14 to 16-year-olds, but are available to anyone who would like to study a subject that interests them. You can take GCSEs in a wide range of academic and 'applied' or work-related subjects.
Work related learning and applied courses
If you are interested in learning about subjects directly related to an area of work, or are good at practical subjects there are GCSEs you can choose to study for. For ICT, Religious Studies and Languages there are short course GCSEs available. These are equivalent to half a full GCSE.
English Maths and IT
Problems with reading, writing, maths or using a computer? If so, why not find out more?
Key Skills qualifications
If you want to acquire or develop the skills to help you get on at school, FE college, work or home, or show what you already know, a Key Skills qualification could be for you.
If you want to continue your studies after a bachelor's degree, or learn more about a particular subject, there are a range of postgraduate qualifications available. Some are linked to a specific profession, while others allow you to complete an original piece of research.
If you want to get a recognised qualification related to a particular industry or sector, a National Vocational Qualification, or NVQ, may be for you. You can study NVQs at work, FE college, or as part of an apprenticeship.