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Vocational Course Levels Explained

East Durham College offer a range of vocational qualifications, including BTECs, NVQs, City and Guilds and Diplomas.

A vocational course is a training programme which focuses more on practical work, rather than traditional academic exams. The 'Vocational' part of the name refers to the fact that this course prepares you for a vocation - a particular skillset required in different types of jobs.

If you feel your skills are more suited to do practical assessments and coursework assignments rather than exams, a vocational programme may be the best route for you.

Vocational Course Levels

If you're studying a vocational course, you'll be assigned onto a 'Level' of the particular subject you're interested in. 

Which level you're allocated to will be assessed by East Durham College's tutors, based on your previous academic achievements and/or work experience. After completing one level - subject to excellent attendance and behaviour - you may then be able to move on to a higher level to further your qualifications.

There are four levels of vocational course levels. Here's what they mean:

Entry Level and Level 1

Equivalent to three or four GCSEs at grades D to G.

Suitable if you don't pass your GCSEs, or perhaps don't get the grades you had expected.

Level 2

Equivalent to: four or five GCSEs at grades A* to C.

Generally, this is the level you should start on if you got four GCSEs at grade D or above, or equivalent qualifications at pass level. Some courses will require certain grades in maths and English.

Level 3

Equivalent to two or three A Levels

Generally, this is the level you can study on if you have passed four/five plus GCSEs at grade C or above, or equivalent qualifications at pass level. Most courses will require you to have a grade A* to C in maths and/or English.

Like A Levels, vocational courses are a route on to higher education; most university-level courses accept a Level 3 qualification as entry.

Level 4

Equivalent to a Foundation Degree or Higher National Diploma (HND). 

Remember, when making your course and career choices remember it is important to choose a subject area that you enjoy and have an interest in.