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About BTECs

BTECs are specialist work-related qualifications available in a range of sectors. Find out more about them here.

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BTECs – what are they?

BTECs are designed as specialist work-related qualifications and are available in a range of sectors, such as business, engineering and ICT. A number of BTECs are recognised as Technical Certificates and form part of the Apprenticeship Framework.

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 available at different levels, from Entry Level Skills for Working Life, right through to professional qualifications at Level 7 (equivalent to postgraduate study). They also come in different sizes at each level ensuring you can choose a course that fits around your work or other studies.

Why take a BTEC?

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.


This means that you can trust that studying a BTEC will give you the knowledge, understanding and skills to prepare you for further study, training and employment.

What subjects can I study?

BTECs are sector-specific qualifications. There are over 2000 BTECs available across 16 sectors, ranging from Applied Science to Public and Uniformed Services. You can see the full list of courses available by choosing a BTEC qualification (for example, BTEC Firsts or BTEC Nationals) from 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.

The D* grade was introduced to most of our newer specifications in 2010 to differentiate the highest performing students from other Distinction grade students. 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’.

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, which may be paper-based or taken on a computer.

Assignments can include tests, research, essays, projects, investigations, artwork, fieldwork, 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.

Many courses at university or college will require you to study certain subjects. If you have a particular aim in mind you should check the subject entry requirements for that course and take the appropriate subjects or units. 

BTECs can give you a variety of options, such as:

  • qualifying you to pursue a particular job or work in a particular industry
  • the opportunity to study a new qualification
  • the opportunity to undertake an Apprenticeship.

If you pass your BTEC and would like to continue studying, you could choose a qualification at the next level. For example, if you have completed a BTEC Level 2 First, you may consider a BTEC Level 3 National, AS/A levels, an NVQ, a BTEC Apprenticeship or a mixture of these qualifications.

More about BTECs

For a more specific explanation of each type of BTEC, choose a qualification below:

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