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Comparing Qualifications across countries

This table provides information that allows you to look at the ways qualifications are organised in Ireland and the UK. On one side of the table you will find the main stages of education or employment - you can find where you are in these stages. The columns show the different national qualifications frameworks. You can look at a level and/or qualification in one country and then see the nearest levels and similar kinds of qualifications that are used in the other countries. This makes it possible to draw broad comparisons between qualifications and their levels, rather than direct equivalences, for each country. However, please note data in this table was last updated in mid 2009, following agreement of the five qualification authorities in March 2009. Subqequently a new printable version of the leaflet 'comparing qualifications' in 2011. Printable version of the leaflet is available from this link. However, no further resource is available to maintain an interactive version of the leaflet which allows you to compare individual qualifications through finding out more information from a single source as you can from this site.

Click here for more information on comparing qualifications between countries

You can also click on any level or qualification to find out more information, or click on the names of levels and frameworks to view more information about them.

Click here to show less information on comparing qualifications between countries

Qualifications can cross boundaries - a rough guide to comparing qualifications in the UK and Ireland

crossing boundaries logo

Thinking of working or studying in Ireland or the UK? You may be interested in the answer to one or more of these questions.

  • What do they call the qualification which matches mine most closely?

  • Will my qualification get me into college or a job?

  • Will I get some recognition for the qualifications I have?

  • What kind of job or course can I apply for with my current qualification?

Recruiting people with Irish qualifications in the UK or people with UK qualifications in Ireland? You may be interested in the answer to these questions.

  • How do I know what a qualification from another country means in terms of level?

  • Which national qualification should I compare this qualification to?

  • Where can I find more detailed information about the content and level of qualifications?

This table helps you explore these questions.

Click on any of the qualifications in the table below to view more information about it. (Click again to hide the information box, or click the close icon in the info-box toolbar). You can also click on the names of levels and frameworks to view more information about them.

Click the 'Hide' buttons to put away columns you re not interested in ( a new link will appear near the top of the page for showing that column again).

How to use this table:

This table provides information that allows you to look at the ways qualifications are organised in Ireland and the UK. On one side of the table you will find the main stages of education or employment - you can find where you are in these stages. The next column shows the qualifications framework for your country. To the right of this you can see the nearest levels and similar kinds of qualifications that are used in the other countries. This makes it possible to draw broad comparisons between qualifications and their levels, rather than direct equivalences, for each country.

Qualifications are different in different countries. However, they are remarkably similar in what they tell someone about the person who has achieved them, for example that he or she is ready for a college/higher education course, or for a first skilled job. There are some clear stages people move through in education, training and work that are common to most countries. Primary education is followed by secondary education and initial entry into employment and/or further and higher education or training. Some people move on to more skilled employment. Some choose to go into higher education and many take part in specialist training in their work place. People graduating from a higher education institution may enter employment and those who complete professional or postgraduate education may also enter employment.

The table gives an indication of how you can compare qualifications across national boundaries. Examples of major qualifications at each level are provided. For more detail of the qualifications in another country, you will need to consult the website given at the head of each column. All these frameworks of qualifications change from time to time and you need to check these websites for the latest versions. Entry requirements for jobs and courses often vary within a country. This means you will need to check specific requirements with the employer or institution for the job or course that you are interested in.

This table is designed to give some information to help you begin this process, for example, by telling you what your qualification or qualifications you are interested in studying, are broadly comparable to in other countries.

You can also click on any level or qualification to find out more information.

Main stages of education / employment

Qualifications and Credit Framework / National Qualifications Framework for England, Wales and Northern Ireland www.ofqual.gov.uk

Credit and Qualification Framework for Wales www.cqfw.net

National Framework of Qualifications for Ireland www.nfq.ie

The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework www.scqf.org.uk

Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland: FHEQ www.qaa.ac.uk

Professional or postgraduate education or employment

Level 8

Vocational Qualifications Level 8

Level 8

Doctoral degrees

Level 10

Doctoral Degree, Higher Doctorate

Level 12

Professional Development Awards, Doctoral Degrees

Level 8

Doctoral degrees

Level 7

Fellowships,
NVQ Level 5,
Vocational Qualifications Level 7

 

Level 7

Master's Degrees, Integrated Master's Degrees, Postgraduate Diplomas, Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), Postgraduate Certificates

Level 9

Master's Degree, Post-graduate Diploma

Level 11

SVQ Level 5, Professional Development Awards, Postgraduate Diplomas, Masters' Degrees, Integrated Master's Degrees, Postgraduate Certificates

Level 7

Master's Degree, Integrated Master's Degrees, Postgraduate Diplomas, Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), Postgraduate Certificates

Higher education

Advanced skills training

Level 6

Vocational Qualifications Level 6

Level 6

Bachelor's Degrees with Honours, Bachelor's Degrees, Professional Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), Graduate Diplomas, Graduate Certificates

Level 8

Honours Bachelor Degree, Higher Diploma

Level 10

Bachelor's Degrees with Honours, Professional Development Awards, Graduate Diplomas, Graduate Certificates

Level 6

Bachelor's Degrees with Honours, Bachelor's Degrees, Professional Gradute Certificate In Education (PGCE), Graduate Certificates, Graduate Diplomas

Entry to professional graduate employment





Level 5

NVQ Level 4,
Higher National Diplomas (HND), Higher National Certificates (HNC),
Vocational Qualifications Level 5





Level 5

Foundation Degrees, Diplomas of Higher Education (DipHE), Higher National Diplomas (HND)

 



Level 7

Ordinary Bachelor Degree

Level 9

Bachelor's Ordinary Degrees, Professional Development Awards, SVQ Level 4, Graduate Diplomas, Graduate Certificates

Level 8

Higher National Diplomas, SVQ Level 4, Professional Development Awards,
Diplomas of Higher Education (DipHE)





Level 5

 

Foundation Degrees,Diplomas of Higher Education (DipHE), Higher National Diplomas (HND)

Specialised education and training

Level 4

Vocational Qualifications Level 4,

 

Level 4

Certificates of Higher Education, Higher National Certificates (HNC),NVQ level 4, Essential Skills
Wales (ESW), Wider Key Skills (WKS),
Higher Apprenticeship Framework

Level 6

Advanced Certificate, Higher Certificate



Level 7

Scottish Bacclaureate, Advanced Highers, Professional Development Awards, SVQ Level 3, Higher National Certificates (HNC),
Certificates of Higher Education (CertHE)

Level 4

Certificates of Higher Education (CertHE) ,

Higher National Certificates (HNC)

Qualified/Skilled worker

Entry to higher education

Completion of secondary education

Level 3

NVQ level 3, Vocational Qualifications Level 3, GCE AS and A Level, Advanced Diplomas

Level 3

NVQ level 3, Vocational Qualification level 3, AS and A Level, Welsh Bacclaureate Qualification Advanced, ESW, WKS, Apprenticeship Framework

Level 5

Level 5 Certificate, Leaving Certificate

Level 6

Highers, SVQ Level 3, Professional Development Awards, National Progression Awards, National Certificates

Progression to skilled employment. Continuation of secondary education



Level 2

NVQ level 2, Vocational Qualifcations Level 2, GCSEs at grade A*- C, ESOL skills for life, Higher Diplomas, functional skills Level 2 (English, maths & ICT)



Level 2

NVQ level 2, Vocational Qualification level 2, Welsh Bacclaureate Qualification Intermediate, GCSEs grade A*- C,

ESW, WKS, Foundation Apprenticeship Framework

Level 4

Level 4 Certificate, Leaving Certificate



Level 5

Intermediate 2,
Credit Standard Grade, SVQ 2, National Progression Awards, National Certificates

Secondary education Initial entry into employment or further education

Level 1

NVQ level 1, Vocational Qualification level 1, GCSEs at grade D-G, ESOL skills for life, Foundation Diplomas, functional skills Level 1 (English, maths & ICT)

Level 1

NVQ level 1, Vocational Qualification level 1, GCSEs at grade D-G, Welsh Bacclaureate Qualification Foundation

Level 3

Level 3 Certificate, Junior Certificate

Level 4

Intermediate 1, General Standard Grade, Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQ) 1, National Progression Awards, National Certificates

Qualifications can be taken at any age in order to continue or return to education or training



















Level 2

Level 2 Certificate




Level 3

Access 3, Foundation Standard Grade, National Progression Award, National Certificate

Level 2

Access 2, National Progression Awards, National Certificates

Entry level

Entry Level Certificate (sub-levels 1-3), ESOL skills for life, functional skills Entry Level (English, maths & ICT)

Entry level

Entry Level Certificate (sub-levels 1-3), ESW

Level 1

Level 1 Certificate

Level 1

Access 1

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