Technical Education and T Levels

T levels are a new qualification after GCSEs. If you have a good idea which career you’d like to go into, and you want to learn the relevant technical skills for that career in a classroom, T levels could be a good choice for you.

What are T levels?

One T level equals three A levels and takes two years to complete.

T levels courses have all been written with the help of employers, so you get the knowledge and skills that you need in the workplace. T levels are designed to make sure you’ll be ready to get a job when you qualify.

T levels aren’t an easy option, and you’ll have to work hard. You’ll spend 80% of your time in the classroom learning theory and practical skills. Then, for the other 20% of your time (45 days minimum), you’ll put these skills into action on an industry placement with an employer.

You’ll learn core skills and knowledge as part of your T level course, and you can then choose to specialise for a specific job. For example, you could study for a Design, Surveying and Planning for Construction T Level. During the course, you could choose to specialise in civil engineering, building services design, hazardous materials and surveying or surveying and design for construction and the built environment – whichever suits you best. This makes T levels a flexible option for people looking to join a specific sector or industry but who aren’t sure on exactly what job they’d like yet.

Is a T Level right for me?

T levels can fast track your career – but you’ll need to have a good sense of the industry that you want to work in. If you’re thinking of doing A levels but you know what career you’d like to go into, there might be a T level that gets you closer to doing the job, or degree, you need.

Unlike an apprenticeship, you won’t get paid for doing a T level. You might need to think about getting a part time job to support your studies.

You must pass every assessment and exam to get your T level qualification.

T levels give you UCAS points so you can apply for university or a degree apprenticeship or go straight into work. You’ll be very busy if you take a T level, so ideally you’ll already have your maths and English GCSEs, as studying for resits with your T level workload will be hard.

You’ll also need to be:

  • Organised
  • Enthusiastic
  • Sure about your career choice
  • Happy to learn in a classroom
  • Willing to show what you’ve learned to an employer
  • Committed to pass every part of the course

What areas can I take a T level in?

Not all T level courses have launched yet, but once they have you will be able to take a T level in the following subject areas:

  • accounting
  • agriculture, land management and production
  • animal care and management
  • building services engineering
  • catering
  • craft and design
  • cultural heritage and visitor attractions
  • design and development
  • design, surveying and planning for construction
  • digital business services
  • digital production, design and development
  • digital support and services
  • education and childcare
  • finance
  • hair, beauty and aesthetics
  • health
  • healthcare science
  • human resources
  • legal
  • maintenance, installation and repair
  • management and administration
  • manufacturing, processing and control
  • media, broadcast and production
  • onsite construction
  • science

What will I get if I pass a T level?

Students who complete their T level receive an overall grade of pass, merit, distinction, or distinction*. They get a nationally recognised certificate which shows their overall grade and a breakdown of what they have achieved.

The T level certificate includes:

  • An overall grade for the T level, shown as pass, merit, distinction or distinction*
  • A separate grade for the core component, graded A*-E
  • A separate grade for each occupational specialism, shown as pass, merit or distinction.

It will also include confirmation that the student has:

  • Met the minimum requirements for maths and English qualifications
  • Completed the industry placement
  • Met any additional mandatory requirements

A student’s overall T level grade will be worked out from the grades they achieved on the core component and the occupational specialism(s).

Students who do not pass all elements of their T level will get a T level statement of achievement which will show the elements they have completed.

What about progression into further study or skilled employment?

T levels have been designed by employers for progression into skilled employment. They provide the foundational knowledge you’ll need, as well as a range of technical skills. When you finish a T level, you’ll have experienced a substantial amount of time in the workplace developing a very employable skillset. This means you’ll be a great candidate for recruitment straight into industry.

If you’re thinking about further study, many T level students will be able to move on from their course to a relevant apprenticeship at level 4 or higher. You can even move on to an apprenticeship at the same or lower level than a qualification you already hold, so long as the apprenticeship allows you to acquire new skills and its content is different to your previous qualifications. T levels also give you UCAS tariff points, allowing you to progress on to higher education if you’d like to.

How many UCAS tariff points do you get for a T level?

T levels receive a tariff allocation roughly equal to 3 A levels. UCAS points are only allocated for the entire T level, not for the separate components.

UCAS tariff points

T level overall grade

Equivalent A level grades

168

Distinction* (A* on the core and distinction in the occupational specialism)

A*A*A

144

Distinction

AAA

120

Merit

BBB

96

Pass (C or above on the core)

CCC

72

Pass (D or E on the core)

DDD

How do I choose between A levels, T levels or an apprenticeship?

Check out this short video from the Department of Education that shows the differences between the three types of qualification: