COMPARE DIFFERENT QUALIFICATION LEVELS

Regulated qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are either in the:

Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF)

Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ)

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

There’s no simple comparison for NVQ levels 4 and 5*.

*source

LEVELRQF EXAMPLESFHEQ EXAMPLES
Entry 1 to 3Entry level certificate 
Entry level Skills for Life 
Entry level award, certificate and diploma 
Entry level Functional Skills 
Entry level Foundation Learning
 
Level 1GCSE (grades D-G) 
Key Skills level 1 
NVQ level 1 
Skills for Life level 1 
Foundation diploma 
BTEC award, certificate and diploma level 1 
Foundation Learning level 1 
Functional Skills level 1 
OCR National    
 
Level 2GCSE (grades A*-C) 
Key Skills level 2 
NVQ level 2 
Skills for Life level 2 
Higher diploma 
BTEC award, certificate and diploma level 2 
Functional Skills level 2
 
Level 3AS and A level 
Advanced Extension Award 
Cambridge International award 
International Baccalaureate 
Key Skills level 3 
NVQ level 3 
Advanced diploma 
Progression diploma 
BTEC award, certificate and diploma level 3 
BTEC National 
OCR National 
Cambridge National
 
Level 4Certificate of higher education 
Key Skills level 4 
NVQ level 4 
BTEC Professional award, certificate and diploma level 4
Certificate of higher education 
HNC
Level 5HND 
NVQ level 4 
Higher diploma 
BTEC Professional award, certificate and diploma level 5 
HNC
Diploma of higher education 
Diploma of further education 
Foundation degree 
HND
Level 6Diploma of higher education 
Diploma of further education 
Foundation degree 
HND
Bachelor’s degree 
Graduate certificate 
Graduate diploma
Level 7BTEC Advanced Professional award, certificate and diploma level 7 
Fellowship and fellowship diploma 
Postgraduate certificate 
Postgraduate diploma 
NVQ level 5 
BTEC Advanced Professional award, certificate and diploma level 7
Master’s degree 
Postgraduate certificate 
Postgraduate diploma
Level 8NVQs level 5 
Vocational qualifications level 8
Doctorate