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

LEVEL RQF EXAMPLES FHEQ EXAMPLES
Entry 1 to 3 Entry level certificate 
Entry level Skills for Life 
Entry level award, certificate and diploma 
Entry level Functional Skills 
Entry level Foundation Learning
 
Level 1

GCSE (grades D-G) 
Key Skills level 1 
NVQ level 1 
Skills for Life level 1 
Foundation diploma 
BTEC award, certificate and diploma level 1 RQF
Foundation Learning level 1 
Functional Skills level 1 
OCR National    

 
Level 2 GCSE (grades A*-C) 
Key Skills level 2 
NVQ level 2 
Skills for Life level 2 
Higher diploma 
BTEC award, certificate and diploma level 2 RQF
Functional Skills level 2
 
Level 3 AS and A level 
Advanced Extension Award 
Cambridge International award 
International Baccalaureate 
Key Skills level 3 
RQF level 3 
Advanced diploma 
Progression diploma 
BTEC award, certificate and diploma level 3 RQF
BTEC National 
OCR National 
Cambridge National
 
Level 4

Certificate of higher education 
Key Skills level 4 
RQF level 4 

BTEC Professional award, certificate and diploma level 4

Certificate of higher education 
HNC
Level 5 HND 
RQF 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 6 Diploma of higher education 
Diploma of further education 
Foundation degree 
HND
Bachelor’s degree 
Graduate certificate 
Graduate diploma
Level 7 BTEC Advanced Professional award, certificate and diploma level 7 
Fellowship and fellowship diploma 
Postgraduate certificate 
Postgraduate diploma 
RQF level 5 
BTEC Advanced Professional award, certificate and diploma level 7
Master’s degree 
Postgraduate certificate 
Postgraduate diploma
Level 8 RQFs level 5 
Vocational qualifications level 8
Doctorate