What is a Level 3 Qualification Equivalent to? (2023)

One of the most common questions our Course Advisors receive about the qualifications we offer is what the different course levels mean, and how they compare to more ‘traditional’ qualifications like GCSEs, A Levels and degrees.

To help you understand what a Level 3 qualification is, and how it could help you progress with your career, we’ve put together this helpful guide. Read on below to find out more, or give us a call at 0800 0126 770 and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

What Is A Level 3?

Level 3 courses are typically our most popular level at DLC Training. Equivalent to an A Level, Level 3 courses are often provided to those who join apprenticeship schemes following the completion of their GCSE exams as they choose to learn on the job over going to university.

If you’re at a point in your education where you’re looking into what is equivalent to A Levels to fully understand all of your options, then you need to be looking at Level 3 training courses in an area you want to excel in.

Are Level 3 Qualifications Free?

No, despite being equivalent to A Levels, Level 3 courses require payment. Depending on workplace schemes and apprenticeships, some students may be able to get their course paid for by their employer.

(Video) What is a Level 3 Qualification Equivalent to? | Distance Learning College & Training

If you’re looking to study a Level 3 qualification as an individual then we offer great finance options with affordable, monthly payments.

What Are NQF Qualification Levels Equivalent To?

NQF qualification levels can be compared with the more ‘traditional’ qualifications as follows:

  • Entry-level qualifications are equivalent to studying at a Foundation Diploma level
  • Level 1 qualifications are equivalent to GCSE grade D-G level
  • Level 2 qualifications are equivalent to GCSE grade A*-C level
  • Level 3 qualifications are equivalent to an A Level
  • Level 4 qualifications are equivalent to a BTEC Professional Diploma level
  • Level 5 qualifications are equivalent to HND or foundation degree level
  • Level 6 qualifications are equivalent to Bachelor’s Degree level
  • Level 7 qualifications are equivalent to a Master’s Degree level
  • Level 8 qualifications are equivalent to a Doctorate/PhD level

It’s important to remember that this is only a guide and that courses on the same NQF level aren’t exactly equivalent – the learning style, course length and content can vary significantly.

Each of the courses we offer is available at a range of different levels, from Level 2 up to Level 7 depending on the course. The level numbers show where the qualification sits on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). This is a standardised scale which allows different types of qualification to be compared against each other, giving an idea of their relative ‘difficulty’.

The NQF enables students to identify how challenging a course will be, as well as making it much easier to compare qualifications provided by different institutes and accrediting bodies.

It’s important to note that course titles like ‘Certificate’ or ‘Award’ don’t have a specific meaning, so two providers offering two different ‘Certificates’ aren’t necessarily offering courses at the same level instead, it’s the course level number that you must compare.

(Video) What qualification is a Level 3 Award in Education and Training equivalent to?

Why Are Level 1 Qualifications Not Available?

The National Qualifications framework does have a Level 1 qualification, as well as an ntry level qualification below that. However, most professional bodies don’t offer a course at those levels. The introductory level for most professional bodies is usually Level 2.

I Have A Degree – Should I Start At Level 6?

Not necessarily. While a degree is at the same NQF level as a professional qualification at level 6, the entry requirements are very different. Professional qualifications like CILT or CIPS courses focus on your working experience rather than your academic qualifications, so the level you’ll need to start on will depend on your job role and experience – not always on your education history.

What Level of Qualification Should I Take To Progress My Career?

As well as corresponding to academic qualifications, NQF qualification levels also correspond to the type of job role that is suitable for people working at each level. The types of job roles and skills that are associated with each level are as follows:

Entry Level: People working at the Entry Level have a basic level of knowledge, and are able to complete tasks under direct supervision. This level of qualification is not aimed at specific job roles, but rather at building basic foundational skills.

Level 1: People working at Level 1 have a basic level of knowledge relating to their profession, working with guidance or under some supervision to complete everyday tasks.

Level 2: Level 2 represents a good level of knowledge in the student’s chosen area, allowing them to complete a varied range of tasks with some supervision or guidance.

(Video) Why should you do level-3 qualification?

Level 3: Level 3 represents a range of knowledge and skills, including detailed knowledge of one or more areas. Level 3 corresponds to job roles where students are required to work independently.

Level 4: People working at Level 4 have specialist or advanced knowledge and skills – Level 4 is aimed at technical or professional job roles, sometimes with supervisory or first line management elements.

Level 5: People working at Level 5 are involved in complex decision-making and problem-solving – this is generally in the form of middle managerial roles.

Level 6: Level 6 moves from gaining knowledge through study to using the student’s original research and ideas to solve problems. Level 6 is aimed at senior managerial and professional roles.

Level 7: Level 7 represents the use of detailed original research to deal with complex and unpredictable situations, in jobs such as strategic management or directorial roles.

Level 8: People working at Level 8 are considered leading experts in their field. Their role would involve developing new approaches to extend or redefine current knowledge or best practice in their chosen subject area.

(Video) What is NVQ Level 3 Equivalent to?

When choosing a professional qualification, you would usually expect to start at the level that best matches your current job role and experience. Once this is complete, you may choose to progress to the next level of qualification, to help you gain the skills and experience you need for the next stage of your career and enhance what you can bring to the job.

What Students Have to Say About Studying NQF Qualifications with DLC Training

At DLC Training, we’ve helped many people to gain the qualifications they needed to progress their careers by taking the first initial steps to ensure they are matched well to the course level that fits their experience.

Here’s what one student had to say about us:

“When I started to research what courses there were out there, the methods of learning, duration and of course costs of courses, I was impressed by the choice offered by DLC, the accessibility and the level of support available.

I was worried though,I’d not done any formal studying since leaving school at 15 – we didn’t even have computers back then! I needed to speak with someone to check out not only my eligibility but to get an honest assessment and assurance.

I needn’t have worried. From first contact I found everyone to be so friendly and approachable; nothing I ever asked was too much trouble.And now I’ve achieved the Level 7 Strategic Management and Leadership qualification.”

(Video) NVQ Level 3 Equivalent

– Tricia Pritchard, CMI Level 7 Student with DLC

Learn More About Studying NFQ Qualifications at DLC Training

Our aim is your success. For advice on choosing the right level of qualification, simply complete the form below with your contact details and one of our highly trained Course Advisors will call you back to provide a no-obligation, free consultation.

Alternatively, call 0800 0126 770 to speak to us straight away. We look forward to hearing from you!


Is a Level 3 diploma the same as a degree? ›

Level 3 qualifications are equivalent to an A Level. Level 4 qualifications are equivalent to a BTEC Professional Diploma level. Level 5 qualifications are equivalent to HND or foundation degree level. Level 6 qualifications are equivalent to Bachelor's Degree level.

What is l3 diploma equivalent to? ›

The Level 3 Certificate is broadly equivalent to one GCE AS Level. This is a 60-credit programme that extends the specialist work related focus from the Level 3 Certificate and covers the key knowledge and practical skills required in the Information Technology sector.

What is level 3 functional skills equivalent to? ›

The qualifications are available at five different levels: Entry Levels 1, 2 and 3 and Levels 1 and 2. Level 1 is roughly equivalent to half of a grade D/E GCSE, while Level 3 is roughly equivalent to half of a grade B GCSE.

What is level 4 equivalent to? ›

Level 4 is the equivalent to the first year of a Bachelor's Degree programme. The Level 4 course is made up of 10 modules and 8 assignments, which are equivalent to 120 university credits.

Is A level 3 qualification good? ›

Level 3 generally shows greater knowledge in a subject, and is often achieved in Years 12 and 13, or in centres for further education. Examples of Level 3 qualifications include: A level (grades A, B, C, D or E) Advanced subsidiary (AS) level.

Will A level 3 diploma get me into university? ›

Level 3 diplomas work as an equivalent to A Levels, meaning if you meet the entry requirements of your chosen university, these qualifications will be accepted.

How is A level 3 diploma grades? ›

These are Level 3 qualifications, and the certification may show a grade of Pass, Merit, Distinction, Distinction* or Unclassified (or a combination of these grades appropriate to the qualification). Distinction* is an aggregated grade for the qualification, based on the learner's overall performance.

What is level 3 education? ›

The Level 3 Award in Education and Training (QCF) is the introductory teaching qualification for teaching adults or training adults in a college or further educational environment. You are not required to be teaching already as this course will give you a foundation of knowledge.

What is level 3 in college? ›

Level 3. Level 3 courses will set you on a path to university, higher apprenticeships or skilled employment. Qualifications include T Levels, A Levels, vocational qualifications, advanced apprenticeships, and Access to Higher Education Diplomas.

What level diploma is equivalent to a degree? ›

In terms of higher education, a level 6 diploma qualification or above is equivalent to a degree with honours, such as a BA or BSc.

What level diploma is a degree? ›

What is a Degree? A Bachelors degree (Level 4, 5 & 6) is generally the next step to study after A levels or Level 3 Diplomas. The most common titles are Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BSc). Bachelor degrees usually have the option to be studied 'with honours'.

Is a diploma same level as a degree? ›

Some Key Difference Between A Degree and Diploma

The degree is a four-year course, while the diploma is a two-year course. Admissions to a degree program are made yearly, while to a diploma course it can be done either yearly or half-yearly.

Is a diploma the same as a degree? ›

A degree is a credential granted by a college or university upon satisfactory completion of study at a specific level in a chosen stream. A diploma is a certificate awarded by an educational institution to a student for completing a specific course and passing the examination.


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