Education Levels explained

If you have done any studying in the last few years you have come across the level for your pass or course outcome if it’s a standard course.
These levels have developed for several years and can get quite confusing especially when application forms ask what level you achieved. I for one have struggled with this, and to some extent still do, so thought I’d share it.

It perhaps gives employers a comparison or a level they need for their roles and responsibilities, and a guide to what you can aim for too. It isn’t a competition but something you can aim for, if you want to keep improving your options.

I love to learn! Something new every day – a little fact or nugget of information, or a whole course and qualification. It stimulates your brain, improves your options and creates a wider network and more opportunities in future.

A progress monitor for yourself are a few questions here, and your Curriculum Vitae that should be updated with every new achievement, job and referee details.

1. Do you adapt your CV for each job application you complete and submit?
2. What is your latest achievement?
3. What have your learned or skill development/improvement in the last 12 months? 6 months?
4. What do you actually want to achieve? Your highest level maybe or a qualification for a career?
5. Where have you come from and how much have you achieved to date? Don’t be modest!
6. What are you most proud of?
7. What have you done educationally/personal development wise you surprise yourself with?
8. Who do you aspire to be like? Why?

England, Wales and Northern Ireland – There are 9 qualification levels

Entry level

Each entry level qualification is available at three sub-levels – 1, 2 and 3 with 3 is the most difficult.
• entry level award
• entry level certificate (ELC)
• entry level diploma
• entry level English for speakers of other languages (ESOL)
• entry level essential skills
• entry level functional skills
• Skills for Life

Level 1

• first certificate
• GCSE – grades 3, 2, 1 or grades D, E, F, G
• level 1 award
• level 1 certificate
• level 1 diploma
• level 1 ESOL
• level 1 essential skills
• level 1 functional skills
• level 1 national vocational qualification (NVQ)
• music grades 1, 2 and 3

Level 2

• CSE – grade 1
• GCSE – grades 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4 or grades A*, A, B, C
• intermediate apprenticeship
• level 2 award
• level 2 certificate
• level 2 diploma
• level 2 ESOL
• level 2 essential skills
• level 2 functional skills
• level 2 national certificate
• level 2 national diploma
• level 2 NVQ
• music grades 4 and 5
• O level – grade A, B or C

Level 3

• A level
• access to higher education diploma
• advanced apprenticeship
• applied general
• AS level
• international Baccalaureate diploma
• level 3 award
• level 3 certificate
• level 3 diploma
• level 3 ESOL
• level 3 national certificate
• level 3 national diploma
• level 3 NVQ
• music grades 6, 7 and 8
• tech level

Level 4

• certificate of higher education (CertHE)
• higher apprenticeship
• higher national certificate (HNC)
• level 4 award
• level 4 certificate
• level 4 diploma
• level 4 NVQ

Level 5

• diploma of higher education (DipHE)
• foundation degree
• higher national diploma (HND)
• level 5 award
• level 5 certificate
• level 5 diploma
• level 5 NVQ

Level 6

• degree apprenticeship
• degree with honours e.g. bachelor of the arts (BA) hons
• graduate certificate
• graduate diploma
• level 6 award
• level 6 certificate
• level 6 diploma
• level 6 NVQ
• ordinary degree without honours

Level 7

• integrated master’s degree e.g. of engineering (MEng)
• level 7 award
• level 7 certificate
• level 7 diploma
• level 7 NVQ
• master’s degree
• postgraduate certificate
• postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE)
• postgraduate diploma

Level 8

• doctorate, e.g. doctor of …
• level 8 award
• level 8 certificate
• level 8 diploma