BTEC or Similar Qualifications Explained

  • Vocational and often linked to an industry
  • Applied learning – theory links in with practical activity
  • Coursework and practical assignment based – some exams
  • Level 3 can lead to higher education

If you pass 5 or more GCSE at grade 4 or above usually including Maths and English, you can go on to study level 3 BTECs at college or a school sixth form.

If you achieve grades 1-3 at GCSE level, you can go on to study BTECs at Level 2 and then progress onto the level 3 programme or enter into an intermediate apprenticeship (sometimes these require Maths and English at grade 4). Read more about apprenticeships…

Where you can study BTECs or similar qualifications

Further Education Colleges offer a wider variety of vocational BTEC subjects. Rarely do Further Education Colleges offer A level programmes nowadays. However, some now offer T Levels. Read more about T-Levels…

School sixth forms predominantly offer A levels with the opportunity to do BTEC study as a combined programme if desired or just BTEC subjects. Read more about A-Levels…

Qualifications similar to BTECs include:

  • OCR
  • QCF
  • ESOL
  • NCFE
  • Drama School


  • You can apply for as many sixth forms, colleges and apprenticeships as you wish
  • Applying does not commit you to taking up a place and it is always good to keep your options open
  • It is not too late to apply –  if the closing date for a college or sixth form has passed, you can usually go on the waiting list