VTCT Tech levels (interim-reformed)

Qualification codes
500/8737/X (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in African-Caribbean Hairdressing)
600/8708/0 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Hairdressing Studies)
600/1482/9 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Women's Hairdressing)
500/7389/8 (VTCT Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Hairdressing)
600/8709/2 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Barbering Studies)
600/1484/2 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Barbering)
500/7386/2 (VTCT Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Barbering)
600/8761/4 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Fashion, Theatre and Media Hair and Make-up studies)
501/0896/7 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Theatrical, Special Effects and Hair and Media Make-Up)
600/4803/7 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Advanced Professional Cookery)
600/4804/9 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Advanced Professional Cookery (Kitchen and Larder))
600/9005/4 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Professional Cookery Studies)
600/4805/0 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Professional Patisserie and Confectionery)
600/4806/2 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Food and Beverage Service Supervision)
600/8665/8 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Beauty Therapy Studies)
600/8662/2 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Beauty Therapy Studies (Make-up))
600/8664/6 (VTCT Level 3 Certificate in Beauty Therapy Studies (Massage))
600/4846/3 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Complementary Therapies)
600/8663/4 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Spa Therapy Studies)
600/8908/8 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Nail Technology Studies)
601/4323/X (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training (Gym Based Exercise))
601/4324/1 (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training (Specific Populations))
600/8635/X (VTCT Level 3 Diploma in Preventing Injuries in Sport and Leisure Services)

The Department for Education (DfE) describe Tech level qualifications as follows:

Tech levels are rigorous advanced (Level 3) technical qualifications on a par with A Levels and recognised by employers. They are for students aged 16 plus who want to specialise in a specific industry or prepare for a particular job. They cover jobs and careers where employers recruit people at this level or where a level 3 qualification is needed before students can progress to a related higher education course. Tech levels give students an opportunity to develop specialist knowledge and skills to help them get an apprenticeship or job, for example in engineering, IT, accounting or professional cookery, or progress to a higher level qualification. In some cases, a tech level qualification is a ‘licence to practise’ or can exempt someone holding the qualification from a professional exam. Tech levels are recognised by trade or professional bodies or at least five employers. Alternatively, the qualification may be accepted by a national licensed professional registration scheme.

VTCT focuses on qualifications in the hair and beauty, and hospitality and catering sectors.


All units and qualifications are graded Pass/Fail.


Assessment arrangements differ between subjects.

Much of the assessment is internal; some qualifications require no external assessment.

Internal assessment generally comprises a combination of multiple choice questions, oral questioning and practical observation.

Some qualifications require a compulsory external examination; the subjects with an externally assessed examination component are:

  • Fashion, Theatre and Media, Hair and Make-Up Studies
  • Complementary Therapies
  • Beauty Therapy Studies
  • Beauty Therapy Studies (make-up)
  • Hairdressing Studies
  • Nail Technology Studies
  • Preventing Injuries in Sport and Active Leisure
  • Spa Therapy Studies

Some units are assessed by portfolio of evidence, some by external examination. Specific details are available by searching the qualification in the VTCT website at: www.vtct.org.uk/find-a-centre.

Further information

Tech level qualifications are advanced (Level 3) qualifications, mainly taken by 16-19 year old students who want to specialise in a specific industry, occupation, or occupational group. They equip students with specialist knowledge and skills.

There are a number of key considerations for HEPs when reviewing Tech level qualifications that do not meet the full DfE criteria from 2018:

  • Applicants holding interim-reformed Tech level qualifications may not have had experience of external or synoptic assessment.
  • The reformed and interim-reformed qualifications will be delivered by schools and colleges at the same time (see ‘Education context’). Therefore, HEPs may wish to consider their approach to setting and listing entry requirements for the specific qualifications.
  • The dual running of the qualification may result in applicants declaring the incorrect version within their application. UCAS will be working to support applicants and advisers in this area.
  • These qualifications are fundamentally different to the reformed versions and likely to result in students developing different skills and aptitudes. HEPs should review their understanding of these qualifications to ensure it remains up to date. HEPs may also wish to consider their approach to setting and listing entry requirements for the specific qualifications, and any differences should be clearly articulated.

Tech levels are designed to support progression to employment, an apprenticeship, or to higher education.

Progression to higher education is generally within the vocational area of the Tech level, and may be to a foundation degree.

The exact curriculum studied may depend on the choice of optional units taken.

View DfE’s technical guidance

Full specifications can be found by searching individual qualification details on the VTCT website at: www.vtct.org.uk/find-a-centre/ and https://www.vtct.org.uk/find-a-qualification/