This table lists some common examples of past and present qualifications along with an indication of their level on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). The Framework is used in education and employment to help compare the size, level of difficulty and content of different qualifications.
The table is only a guide. If you can’t see your qualifications or if you want to discuss the qualifications you have in more detail, you can contact the National Careers Service.
Level

Qualification examples
Entry
(levels 1-3)

Entry Level Award, Certificate, Diploma
English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
Skills for Life
Functional Skills (English, maths, ICT)
Essential Skills
1

GCSEs (grades D-G)
Award, Certificate, Diploma (City & Guilds, CACHE, OCR, BTEC/Edexcel/Pearson1)
English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
NVQ Level 1
First Certificate
Functional Skills
Essential Skills
Music (grades 1-3)
2

GCSEs (grades A*-C)
O Levels (grades A-C)
Award, Certificate, Diploma (City & Guilds, CACHE, OCR, BTEC/Edexcel/Pearson1)
English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
NVQ Level 2
National Certificate/Diploma
Intermediate Apprenticeship2
Functional Skills
Essential Skills
Music (grades 4-5)
3

A Levels (grades A-E)
AS Levels
Award, Certificate, Diploma (City & Guilds, CACHE, OCR, BTEC/Edexcel/Pearson1)
English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
Access to Higher Education Diploma
Foundation Diploma (Art and Design)
NVQ Level 3
Advanced Apprenticeship2
National Certificate/Diploma
International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma
Music (grades 6-8)
4

Higher National Certificate (HNC)
Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE)
Higher Apprenticeship2
5

Higher National Diploma (HND)
Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE)
Foundation Degree
NVQ Level 4
6

Degree with Honours (eg BA Hons, BSc Hons)
Graduate Certificate
Graduate Diploma
Ordinary Degree (without Honours)
7

Postgraduate Certificate
Postgraduate Diploma
Master’s Degree (eg MA, MSc, MBA, MPhil)
Integrated Master’s Degree (eg MEng)
Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)
NVQ Level 5
8

Doctorate (eg PhD, DPhil, EdD, DClinPsy)