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Diplomas take the form of HNCs, HNDs and BTECs. All can play an important part in improving your employability and driving your career prospects forward.

Higher National Certificates and Higher National Diplomas (HNCs and HNDs) are work-related qualifications. Study is usually full or part-time over one or two years. An HNC is equivalent to the first year of a degree, an HND to the second year of a degree. On completion of an HND you could top up to an Honours Degree at university.

BTEC Level 1 courses are usually taken as a Diploma and provide you with a foundation in your chosen vocational subject. BTEC Level 2 courses can be taken as an extended Certificate (equivalent to two GCSEs) or more usually as a Diploma (equivalent to four GCSEs) Level 3 BTECs take between one and two years to complete. The Level 3 BTEC is available as a Subsidiary Diploma (equivalent to one A Level), Diploma (two A Levels) and an Extended Diploma (three A Levels). A new 90-credit Diploma is equivalent to one-and-a-half A Levels.


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