BTECs are career-based qualifications designed to give students the skills they need to move on to higher education or go straight into employment.
When combined with academic learning in a school or college (or as a stand-alone course in further or higher education), a BTEC develops a range of practical knowledge and skills which help learners to prepare for – and progress in – their chosen career.
Classroom style teaching combined with project work and practical, work-related activities help to develop students' behavioural skills, which can include teamwork, creative thinking and presentation skills.
More employers and Higher Education institutions than ever before are choosing BTEC-qualified candidates for their academic and practical knowledge and skills.
Many industry sectors have a set of National Occupational Standards that professionals must follow. The learning content of our BTECs is built around these National Occupational Standards, which is why BTECs are recognised as valuable qualifications by the Standard Setting Body (SSB) and/or Sector Skills Council (SSC) for each industry.
BTECs can be studied alongside, or instead of, GCSEs or A levels in schools and Further Education colleges. Although they're often studied by full-time students, BTECs also provide career development opportunities for those already in work. Consequently, some schools, colleges and training centres provide courses part-time.
BTECs are also available at more specialist levels 4 and 5 in Higher Education.
BTECs come in different levels, from Entry Level (Foundation Learning) right through to professional qualifications at Level 7 (equivalent to postgraduate study).
BTECs are available across a range of subjects, from art and design, business, childcare and engineering to IT, music, sports science and more.
Before you pick a subject to study, you'll need to decide which level BTEC is right for you. You can make a start on the qualifications homepage.
BTECs are graded using a Pass (P), Merit (M), Distinction (D) and Distinction* (D*) scale. Depending on the size of your course, you may receive one, two or three grades. If the work you produce isn’t of a high enough quality to pass with a P grade, you will be awarded a U, which means ‘Unclassified’.
BTEC Nationals qualify for UCAS points. You can apply for university places through UCAS – the University and Colleges Admissions Service. Find out more about UCAS and UCAS points at www.ucas.com.
BTECs are made up of a number of units, which are usually assessed through assignments that are both set and marked by your teacher or course tutor. However, some BTECs contain externally marked tests (exams).
Assignments can include tests, research, essays, projects, investigations, artwork, fieldwork and experiments, and often link theory with practical exercises.
The course specification, which you'll find on the subject page for each BTEC qualification, will provide more information on how your course is assessed.
As you are assessed throughout your course, you can analyse and improve your performance in the same way as you would in a workplace.