Raring to get stuck into your chosen career? With practical teaching and hands-on learning, taking a BTEC could be the perfect first step to success.

Girl studying outside

This was taken just before all of her books got blown away.

What is a BTEC?

BTEC stands for Business and Technology Education Council. As the name suggests, BTECs are industry-led qualifications designed to help you learn more about a particular area of work. Many BTECs have been created with advice from real-life industry professionals.

What makes a BTEC different from other qualifications?

“A BTEC is really hands-on,” says media teacher Carla Taylor. “For example, students doing a BTEC in Media Production are expected to pitch ideas for programmes, take part in shoots and learn about copyright along the way. There’s often some kind of work experience involved, too.”

Which subject areas can I study?

BTECs cover career choices that range from sports to social services. Courses currently available include:

  • Child Studies
  • Creative Arts
  • Hospitality
  • Leisure and Sport
  • Motor Vehicles and Engineering
  • Retail

What are the entry requirements?

Different BTEC qualifications have specific entry requirements, so check with your college to find out if you’re eligible for a course.

What level BTEC can I take?

BTECs are available at different levels that relate to the National Qualifications Framework. For instance, a Level 1 BTEC is the equivalent to 4 GCSEs grades D-U, while a Level 2 BTEC is worth 4 GCSEs grades A -C. Speak to your college or find out more on the DirectGov website.

How will I be assessed?

BTECs don’t involve written exams. Instead, you’ll be assessed by coursework, case studies and evidence of the skills you’ve developed on the course. At the end you’ll be awarded a pass, merit, or distinction.

How long will it take?

You can study full-time or part-time, usually over a period of one or two years.

Where can a BTEC take me?

Because BTECs are closely linked to different career options they can lead straight into the world of work. However, a BTEC can also be used as the basis for further study. For example, a Level 3 BTEC can count towards getting a place at university.


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Updated on 29-Sep-2015

Picture of girl by Shutterstock.