While A-levels may have long been considered the most conventional qualification path to university, Btecs could be a viable alternative.
A BTEC, or ‘Business and Technology Education Council’ (the name of the body which originally oversaw it) is a practical-based, vocational qualification. It can be studied at a college or school.
BTECs provide the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a field or subject, and are a viable alternative to the more theory-focused, classroom-based ways of learning which you might be put off by.
BTEC’s are increasingly becoming a more popular path to both university and particular jobs in place of, or in addition to, A-levels.
While they are commonly known as an alternative to A-levels, BTEC qualifications can actually be studied at a number of levels including GCSE and even degree-level.
BTECs are designed for young people interested in a particular sector or industry but who are not yet sure what job they’d like to do.
You could study a BTEC at Level 2 or 3, either alongside academic qualifications or as part of a wider programme (such as an apprenticeship). You can also study a BTEC as a standalone course.There are over 2,000 BTEC qualifications across 16 sectors, including:
BTECs are broken down into three main levels of study:
BTEC qualifications are flexible – you can take one alongside (or instead of) GCSEs and A levels in schools and colleges. They’re also usually studied full-time, either in college or jointly between a school and a college.
BTECs are divided into units, which cover specific areas of knowledge, skills, and understanding required by the particular sector or industry.
Entry requirements vary depending on the particular BTEC course you are interested in. You may need up to five GCSEs at grade 9 to 4, or A* to C.
On successful completion of a BTEC National qualification, students can progress to employment or continue their learning in the same or related areas of study, in higher education and professional development programmes.
Some BTEC National qualifications are recognised as technical certificates and form part of the apprenticeship framework. They can attract UCAS points but if you are thinking of going to university or on to higher education, it is important to check whether the universities offering the courses you want to apply to accept BTEC Nationals.
These enable you to go on to further study at Level 3 (for example BTEC Nationals), to do an apprenticeship, or to go into employment.