What are T Levels?

You might have seen a lot of mention recently of T Levels. In fact, one of the questions we hear most is ..’what are they?’. Below, we’ve put together a list of answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about this new qualification. So let’s clear some things up!

What are T Levels?

T Levels or Technical Level Qualifications were first introduced in September 2020 as an alternative to A Levels and other 16-19 qualifications including apprenticeships. Available T Levels are wide ranging but cover industries including Health, Construction, Finance, Design, Marketing (from 2025) and our T Level in Software Development.


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Who are T Levels for?

T Levels are for 16-18 year olds who are continuing education after GCSEs. It’s as simple as choosing a subject that is of interest, finding out what they need and want to know about the course and campus (through open days and other events) and applying. Just like any other college or sixth form course.

It might be a good idea to research the different types of post-school qualifications available to ensure that T Levels are the right choice.



T Levels: Three students working on computing equipment



Are T Levels good?

We’re obviously a little biased here, but there’s a reason we chose to offer a T Level at ACC. We believe in the qualification and what it brings to our students. All education is vital and valuable. BTECs have their place, as do A Levels and apprenticeships, and T Levels are another type of string to the bow that students need to cement their future.

But T Levels offer two unique elements that make them as viable as other qualifications, by offering a different perspective on learning.

Firstly, the course curriculums are built in partnership with industry employers. This means that what students are studying is the latest in industry practices and methods, and teaches them the required skills to hit the ground running in their desired industry.

Secondly, T Levels get students outside the classroom, gaining experience in the real world. A built in component of this unique qualification is an 80/20 split between classroom and industry placement. That means they spend 45 days of the course on work experience with a relevant industry employer. This is a win-win for employers and students. Students get valuable, hand-on experience and a chance to test out their newly learned skills in a professional setting, and employers get an early look at new talent coming into the sector.

As we’ve mentioned above, the key here is research. We’re lucky that we live in an educational landscape where there are so many different options. When making a qualification choice, you need to look at each type available, assess it based on what subjects are offered, how they fit what and how you want to study, what each option will bring to your career and then make an informed decision. It’s a big, often overwhelming thing to make a choice like this, but there’s plenty of help available by registering for one of our open days, or by speaking to our friendly admissions team on 0161 768 9932 (Monday to Friday, 10:00 – 18:00) or by email at [email protected].


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Are T Levels replacing BTECs?

Eventually, T Levels will replace BTECs. The current target time for BTECs to be replaced is 2024, and T Levels will become the key vocational route to higher education or employment.

The UK Government commissioned an independent review of the further education (16-18) system in 2011 and 2016, and found that the qualification options available were confusing for both students and employers, with a lot of overlap between different BTEC courses being offered.

T Levels are intended to simplify the system with clearer course offers that provide students with a defined toolkit to take into industry.

This doesn’t mean that BTECs aren’t worth doing. As we mentioned, BTECs have their place and have been one of the dominant qualifications for a long time. The change is solely to ensure that taking that next step in education is easier and clearer for students, and that employers looking at qualifications of applicants have a simpler breakdown of the knowledge learned.


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Are T Levels harder than A Levels?

First off, let’s dig into how T Levels compare to A Levels. T Levels are the equivalent of three A Levels. The main difference is that with A Levels you would tend to study multiple subjects at once, while T Levels has you focused solely on one. T Levels are also more vocational (practical), whereas A Levels are more theory based. Both take the same level of commitment and focus, and both are at the same level of intensity in terms of learning.

As previously mentioned, T Levels are also designed with employers, meaning the course is more targeted towards one industry, whereas A Levels give you a wider range of routes post-course.

In terms of which is harder, there is no straightforward answer. Each qualification has the same demand of students, and they both require academic ability. Over the two years of the course, both will push students hard to achieve great grades at the end and there’s no real distinction in difficulty between them.

The question to focus on here, rather than which is harder, is which suits you, your style of learning and your future career goals better. If a more focused, hands-on approach with work experience in industry sounds like it will get you into the role of your dreams, then go T Levels. If you’re not sure which industry you want to be in yet, and you’d like to have more options to dig into, then choose A Levels. The choice is totally up to you.



T Levels: A student working at a computer



Will T Levels have UCAS points?

Yes, T Levels have UCAS points. As we’ve said, they are the equivalent of 3 A Levels and that also means UCAS points. The points totals for T Levels are:

Distinction (DDD) * equivalent to A*A*A* at A Level and 168 UCAS points

Distinction (DDD) equivalent to AAA at A Level and 144 UCAS points

Merit (MMM) equivalent to BBB at A Level and 120 UCAS points

Pass (PPP) equivalent to CCC at A Level and 96 UCAS points

Just like BTECs, completing a your course will still give you the chance to go on to university. The most important thing on any course, just like GCSEs, is your final grade. So get your head down, get focused and study hard.


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So there you have it. Hopefully that answers your questions about T Levels. They truly are a qualification built for a modern age, and set to become a huge part of education moving forward. Not only are they a rigorous and serious qualification, but also your introduction to the working world. Just don’t take our word on it though.. Check out our video case study featuring Morrow, an app developer that has taken on one of our Software Development students for work experience below:




As always, if you’d like to know more about our first T Level in Software Development (more will be coming to ACC, but we’ll tell you about that at a later date), there are plenty of opportunities. Have a look at the course page, contact our friendly and knowledgeable admissions team on 0161 768 9932 or by email at [email protected], or get yourself down to an open day and explore your local ACC centre at the same time.

We also have a huge range of BTECs, so if Software Development isn’t your thing, check out what else we can offer you this September over on our course list page.

Last updated on: 26th March 2024