What Are Level 4 Qualifications in the UK?

There are different levels of qualifications that you can take up. Most of you are well aware of A-levels that you take during your sixth form and are generally known as level 3 qualifications. Level 4 qualification is the one that you take after it. Here you will learn more about what is the level 4 qualification. 

If you are in a hurry, here are some of the quick takeaways on level 4 qualifications-

  • Level four qualification is the one in which you get a better understanding of the content that you studied in the years 2nd and 3rd. 
  • This degree is generally equal to the first year of a bachelor’s degree and gives you 1200 credit points. 
  • Some of the different types of level 4 qualifications are a Certificate of Higher Education, higher apprenticeship, higher national certificated (HNC), Higher national diploma (HND), and Higher NVQ.

Do read it till the end so that you do not miss any crucial information about level 4 qualification. 

What is a Level 4 qualification?

A level 4 qualification signifies a recipient’s better comprehension and capacity for learning. You must be 18 or older to take it after completing A-Levels. You can take it at colleges that give degrees or at specialized schools that provide occupational training. A total of 120 credits for your university are awarded by the level 4 course. An advanced apprenticeship enables you to learn and train for a highly skilled career and is awarded level 4 qualifications. Let us now learn what are the different types of level 4 qualifications.

Different types of level 4 qualifications

Following are the different types of level 4 qualifications-

1. Certificate of Higher eEducation (CertHE)

This is the qualification that gives you 120 credits which is similar to the first level in Thebachelor’ss degree. Usually, it will take 6 months to complete this program. This is the best choice if you want to get two careers in which higher education may give benefits in the job.

2. Higher Apprenticeship

Apprenticeship is a program in which you get hands-on experience with job training. This is usually taken by the students were sure of what career field they want to get into. To get into a higher apprenticeship at level 4 you must have at least 5 GCSEs with you. In addition, you will also need two A-levels or equal 2 level 3 qualifications. 

3. Higher National Certificates (HNC)

They are the qualifications in which you learn by doing and performing a particular job and gain the required skills. Highly valued by the employees and will help you to get into the job easily. You will need to give one whole year to finish the full-time and 2 years part-time to get HNCs.

4. Higher National Diploma (HND)

Just like HNCs, they are the qualification that gains skills and knowledge papers forming various tasks. Though to complete it you will need to spend two years full-time and more part-time.

5. Higher NVQ

When you are taking up higher NVQ, it means that you have to take on managerial and training responsibilities. You will get this qualification based on the work you are doing and will help you to gain the required skills. This qualification is equal to a higher education certificate.

Is a level 4 qualification equivalent to a degree?

Level 4 qualification is usually equal to the first year of a bachelor’s degree. They are also known as advanced learning. These qualifications are taken after completing A-levels or after completing the 3-level qualification. But the question here is if this qualification is a good choice to take up or not.

Is Level 4 a good qualification?

Level 4 is the qualification that is generally considered a high level of learning. You will get this type of learning when you go through core models in secondary education. According to a study done by the department of education- “learners report a range of benefits from taking [these] qualifications, including increased self-confidence, improved knowledge and a positive impact on work practice.”

This shows that taking up this qualification will not only help you in your professional life but will also have a great impact on your personal life. Though they are one of the best qualifications to take, is also important to find out whether they are tough or not.

Are level 4 qualifications hard?

If you think it would be easy to pass this qualification, then trust me you are wrong. As this qualification is taken after completing 3 levels of qualifications, it is tough to clear this qualification. You will find more content when compared to levels 2 and 3. Thus you must have the knowledge that you have covered during the 2 and 3 levels. However many find it easy to take up this course and others find it difficult to complete the qualification. ‘


Level 4 qualifications are the one which is equal to the first year of the bachelor’s degree and give you 120 credits. These qualifications are generally taken after completing the level three qualifications like A-levels. There are various types of level 4 qualifications like higher diplomas, higher NVQs, etc. This qualification will not only help you in your professional life but will also help you in boosting up your confidence.


How long does it take to complete a level 4 qualification?

This will depend upon the course and the qualification that you need to take. Suppose you are thinking about doing HNC, you will need to give one whole year to finish the full-time and 2 years part-time. Whereas if you are doing HND, then you may spend 2 whole years completing it full-time. 

Is Level 4 equivalent to A-level?

No, level 4 qualifications are generally taken after completing the level three qualifications. As A-levels are the level three qualification, Level 4 is not equivalent to A-level. However, they are equal to the first year of the degree. 

William Christie