BTECs explained!4 min read

Infographic - BTEC Levels

BTECs have earned their reputation as the world’s most successful vocational learning qualification, giving students a clear path into a profession and/or career. It gives students the knowledge and tools to to take responsibility for their own learning. BTEC develops the practical, interpersonal and thinking skills essential for professional life.

What is a BTEC?

BTECs are work-related qualifications designed for study in a wide range of occupational areas from aeronautical engineering to horticulture. They are equivalent to other qualifications such as the GCSE (levels 1 & 2), A Level (level 3) and university degrees (levels 4 – 7).

They offer a mixture of theoretical and practical work, which are suitable for a wide range of students. The provide students with a practical, real-world approach to learning without forgoing essential theory. BTEC qualification holders can then progress into the labour market, or onto university, or more advanced vocational courses.

Why take a BTEC?

There are plenty of reasons why a BTEC is a good qualification.

Firstly, BTECs enjoy a good reputation and are recognised by schools, colleges, universities, employers and professional bodies throughout the globe.

Secondly, they are developed by key industry representatives and sector skills councils together, so that they meet the needs of employers and learners alike. Moreover, this means that BTEC content is up-to-date and current with key industry changes.

Thirdly, if you are not a fan of exams and find their pressure makes you under-perform, a BTEC allows you to take a number of units in which you will present evidence, based on real-life work experience and studies. Therefore, you will be able to showcase your skills and knowledge through a practical situation rather than stressing away in an exam hall.

Infographic - BTEC Levels

How are BTEC qualifications organised?

BTEC qualifications are available in 7 levels ranging from BTEC Introductory Diplomas and Certificates to BTEC Advanced Diplomas, Certificates and Awards.


BTEC Levels

Title & Small Description

Level 1 BTEC Introductory Diplomas & Certificates.
Level 2 BTEC First Diplomas & Certificates
Level 3 BTEC Diplomas, Certificates & Awards, & BTEC Nationals
Level 4 BTEC Professional Diplomas, Certificates & Awards
Level 5 BTEC Professional Diplomas, Certificates & Awards
Level 6 BTEC Advanced Professional Diplomas, Certificates & Awards
Level 7 BTEC Advanced Professional Diplomas, Certificates & Awards


The Infographic to the right gives you a visual representation of the different BTEC levels and what they entail. (If you would like to share it in your own blog or site you will find the code at the end of the article)

Within each level BTECs can vary between 3 sizes, taking into account how long it will take to complete. Generally:

  1. The smallest is the Award (1 to 12 credits),
  2.  Followed by the Certificate (13 to 36 credits),
  3. And the largest is the Diploma (37 credits or more)

A credit is equal to approximately 10 hours of learning. 

Each BTEC size and level is made up of a number of units. The number of units varies according to the design and focus of each qualification, and all students complete work-experience based assignments, which are internally assessed. Thus, allowing students to demonstrate their knowledge and skill via a practical situation. Unit results are graded as Pass, Merit or Distinction.

EdExcel makes sure that each centre follows certain quality assurance procedures and decides how a student’s work is assessed. 

How many UCAS points is a BTEC worth?

Level 3 BTEC Nationals  are designed for students looking to progress into higher education. BTEC Nationals are equivalent to A levels and will earn you UCAS points.

The following table shows you how many UCAS points you can earn with a Distinction (D), Merit (M) and Pass (P) grade.


UCAS points

Diploma Certificate Award
DDD 360
DDM 320
DMM 280
MMM DD 240
MMP DM 200
MPP MM 160
PPP MP D 120
PP M 80
P 40

If you still some more information about how BTECs are broken down into UCAS points we recommend you to visit the UCAS Tariff page for a more detailed overview.


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