Qualifications that use the Qualification & Credit Framework (QCF) rules are made up of units.


This provides flexible ways to get a qualification. Each unit has a credit value which tells you how many credits are awarded when a unit is completed. The credit value also gives an indication of how long it will normally take you to prepare for a unit or qualification. One credit will usually take you 10 hours of learning.

Units build up to qualifications. There are three different types of qualification in the QCF:

Award, Certificate and Diploma.

  • You can achieve an Award with 1 to 12 credits.
  • For a Certificate you will need 13 – 36 credits.
  • For a Diploma you will need at least 37 credits.

Units and qualifications are each given a level according to their difficulty, from entry level to level 8. The title of a qualification will tell you its size and level.

If a qualification includes a unit that you have already been awarded, you can use the unit you have already taken towards that qualification. Units awarded by different awarding organisations can be combined to build up qualifications.