What qualifications are there for 16 – 18 year olds?

There are lots of qualifications, which can be categorised into different types. Watch our videos and take our quiz to see which ones may be suitable.
Relevant to
Progression pathways introduction
Watch this short video to get an overview of the types of qualifications you could take.
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Progression pathways – Academic qualifications
Find out more about Academic qualifications by watching this short video.
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Progression pathways – Applied General qualifications
Watch this short video to find out more about Applied General qualifications.
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Progression pathways – Tech level qualifications
Find out more about Tech level qualifications by watching this short video.
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Progression pathways – Occupational qualifications
Watch this short video to find out more about Occupational qualifications.
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Up until now, you have probably mainly taken qualifications chosen for you by your school.

Now you have more choice — you have the opportunity to make choices about your own learning and the qualifications that go with it. This can influence your options for future education or employment.

This can be exciting but also confusing to understand all the different types of qualifications available. Here we will help you understand there are four types of qualifications for 16 — 18 year olds, and what the differences are. Watch our videos and complete our quiz to see which one(s) might be best for you. You can then discuss your ideas with your teacher or careers adviser.


Find out what qualifications could be right for you by taking the quiz below.

What qualifications are right for me?

There are a lot of qualifications, but they fall into four main types:

  • Academic – studied at school/college and can lead to university, an apprenticeship or a job
  • Applied General – studied at college/school and can lead to university, an apprenticeship or a job
  • Tech levels – studied at college or in apprenticeship and can make you job ready or lead to university
  • Occupational – taken in apprenticeships or work and can be described as on the job training

Simply click 'Next' below and answer our four questions. It only takes a few minutes to complete, and will give you a great start in planning your future.

For example, problem solving, thinking creatively or working independently
For example, analysing and reporting on data, writing essays
For example, I like to learn languages, I love learning about science or history
For example, I want to gain skills that will enable me to pursue a career in engineering, health and social care

What have other students done?

To get an idea of what to expect, watch these videos of students talking about their experiences of choosing qualifications.