Levels

Levels image


Qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are assigned to different ‘levels’, starting at Entry level and going up to Level 8 (there is a slightly different system in Scotland).

These levels should not be confused with the Key Stages and Years 1, 2, 3 etc used in schools, which are more related to age than level of qualifications achieved.

Examples of qualifications at each level are given below.


Entry level


  • Entry level certificates
  • English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
  • Skills for Life
  • Functional Skills at entry level (English, maths and ICT)
  • Awards, Certificates, and Diplomas at entry level
  • Foundation Learning at entry level
  • Functional Skills at entry level

Level 1


  • GCSEs grades D-G
  • BTEC Introductory Diplomas and Certificates
  • OCR Nationals
  • Key Skills at level 1
  • Skills for Life
  • Functional Skills at Level 1
  • BTEC Awards, Certificates, and Diplomas at level 1
  • Foundation Learning Tier pathways
  • NVQs at level 1

Level 2


  • GCSEs grades A*-C
  • Key Skills level 2
  • Skills for Life
  • BTEC Awards, Certificates, and Diplomas at level 2
  • Functional Skills at level 2
  • OCR Nationals
  • NVQs at level 2

Level 3


  • A levels
  • GCE in applied subjects
  • International Baccalaureate
  • Key Skills level 3
  • BTEC Awards, Certificates, and Diplomas at level 3
  • BTEC Nationals
  • OCR Nationals
  • NVQs at level 3

Level 4


  • Certificates of Higher Education
  • BTEC Professional Diplomas Certificates and Awards
  • HNCs
  • NVQs at level 4

Level 5


  • HNCs and HNDs
  • Diplomas of Higher Education
  • Foundation Degrees
  • Other higher diplomas
  • National Diploma in Professional Production Skills
  • BTEC Advanced Professional Diplomas, Certificates and Awards
  • Diploma in Translation
  • BTEC Advanced Professional Diplomas, Certificates and Awards
  • Specialist awards
  • HNDs
  • BTEC Professional Diplomas, Certificates and Awards
  • NVQs at level 5

Level 6


  • National Diploma in Professional Production Skills
  • BTEC Advanced Professional Diplomas, Certificates and Awards
  • Bachelors degrees/Bachelors degrees with honours
  • Graduate certificates and diplomas
  • Professional Graduate Certificate in Education

Level 7


  • Diploma in Translation
  • BTEC Advanced Professional Diplomas, Certificates and Awards
  • Masters degrees
  • Integrated masters degrees
  • Postgraduate certificates
  • Postgraduate diplomas

Level 8


  • Specialist awards
  • Award, Certificate and Diploma in strategic direction
  • Doctoral degrees (eg PhD)

More information

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