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