Qualifications Explained

Comparing Different Qualification Levels

Regulated qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are in one of the following frameworks:

  • National Qualifications Framework (NQF)
  • Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF)

The table below shows how the most common qualifications compare. The levels show how difficult a qualification is.

Level

NQF Examples

QCF Examples

Entry

* Entry Level Certificate

* Entry Level Award, Certificate

* Entry Level Skills for Life

and Diploma

* Entry Level Functional Skills

* Entry Level Foundation Learning

1

* GCSE (grades D-G)

* BTEC Award, Certificate and

* Key Skills Level 1

Diploma Level 1

* NVQ Level 1

* Foundation Learning Level 1

* Skills for Life Level 1

* Functional Skills Level 1

* Foundation Diploma

* OCR National

2

GCSE (grades A*-C)

* BTEC Award, Certificate and

* Key Skills Level 2

Diploma Level 2

* NVQ Level 2

* Functional Skills Level 2

* Skills for Life Level 2

* Higher Diploma

3

* AS and A Level

* BTEC Award, Certificate and

* Key Skills Level 3

Diploma Level 3

* NVQ Level 3

* BTEC National

* OCR National

* Cambridge National

 

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