BTEC Extended Diploma

The BTEC (Business and Technology Education Council) Level 3 Extended Diploma is a secondary school leaving qualification and vocational qualification taken in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The qualification is organised and awarded by the Edexcel within the BTEC brand and it is equivalent to A-Levels. It is regarded as equivalent in level to the GCE A Levels, more specifically to three A2 awards and the AVCE.

This qualification is taken in order to gain entry to Higher education. Nevertheless, as it is mostly coursework based, universities like Cambridge or Oxford may require it to be combined with more traditional qualifications, such as one A level.


The BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma dates back to the 1930s as a full-time three-year course. After the Haselgrave Report, the Business Education Council (BEC) and Technician Education Council (TEC) took over the accrediting of this qualification (called the "Ordinary National Diploma") and others in the stable, such as the National Certificate, Higher National Certificate and Higher National Diploma. The portfolio of courses was integrated when the BEC and TEC merged to form BTEC.

The Ordinary National Diploma is a vocational qualification at Level 3. It is a course that lasts two years and has 18 units altogether unlike the Advanced VCE that is only worth two (Double Award). This is often a very good alternative way to achieve A Levels in the UK, excluding parts of Scotland.

The course is available from Edexcel and is in many different subjects. This qualification is mainly studied in further education colleges and along with the right passes at GCSE, can qualify you for degree level at university.

As BTEC stands for Business and Technology Education Council, the best known subjects for a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma are business and Information Technology. This qualification has become more popular recently, especially with the demise of the AVCE.

The course is assessed in units, consisting of 18 in total. Students are assessed by coursework only and Possibly 2 Internal Exams.

On graduation, students are permitted to use the postnominals OND or Dip after their name, usually followed by the course name in brackets.


The BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma is particularly suitable for those who have strong inclinations towards a particular vocational career, starting with technical level posts and leading, after experience, to supervisory and enterprise management posts. The BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma is popular amongst school leavers who wish to pursue Nursing, Midwifery or other health professions as the BTEC Health course gives more thorough preparation than A Levels would for the degree course. The work placement element of the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma is particularly valued by universities considering admissions for these subjects.

The usual entry requirement is at least five GCSE subject passes at A*, A, B or C grades, covering English, Maths and Science. In most land-based industries, science (usually double science) will be a preferred subject, together with Maths and English. Equivalent entry qualifications are also accepted, including an appropriate BTEC First Diploma with a merit grade or a relevant NVQ at Level 2 or an Intermediate GNVQ.

Other qualifications and experience may be acceptable for mature students. Mature students are advised, in some cases, to consider a Higher National Diploma (HND) course instead. Career experience frequently leads to an ability to cope with HND level education and the two year commitment can be better spent in acquiring a higher qualification.

It is possible for a student to be accepted onto a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma course without the recommended entry requirements, this is generally the case in students who have left school and acquired a job in the field of the subject that is relevant to the course. If the college is satisfied that the student has the ability to benefit successfully from the course. Students with a good National Certificate or equivalent qualification may be considered for entry to the second year of the National Diploma course in which case "bridging" studies may be necessary.

It is possible for students on the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma to leave the course after 1 and 1/4 years with a BTEC National Certificate should they achieve Pass grades in all of the units from the first year.

It contains two booklets which are about 100 pages long.


Art and Design

The subject alone is available. Other Art & Design BTEC Level 3 Extended Diplomas include 3D Design, Design Crafts, Fashion & Clothing, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Interactive Media, Photography and Textiles.


There are in total 24 Business courses available as a BTEC Extended Diploma. The core subject is available alone, but other Business courses contain other concentrations such as Law and Marketing and Human Resources. Others Business courses include: Administration and eBusiness strategy. eBusiness software concentrations with Business courses are popular.[1]


BTEC Extended Diploma in Construction and The Built Environment Level 3 (that teaches the basics of construction such as civil engineering and architecture), and Business Engineering Services are examples of BTEC Extended Diploma courses available in this subject.


There are multiple disciplines of engineering available, such as: Aeronautical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering.

Health and Care

Health & Social Care, Early Years, Health Studies and Care are the main subjects under the Health and Care courses available. Health Science and Early Years are also available.

IT and Computing

IT and Computing are becoming more popular in community colleges within the UK as the profession is becoming wider and more dominating in all aspects of society and business today.

Land-based subjects

Land-based subjects available include: Countryside management, Land-Based Technology, Agriculture , Animal Management, Horticulture and Blacksmithing with Metalworking. Other land-based courses can be found at the edexcel website.[2]

Media, Music & Performing Arts

There are 16 courses available under these 3 subjects. Some listed are: Media Production with Games development, Interactive Media and Radio. Music Production and Music Technology. Performing Arts with Acting, Dance, Musical Theatre and Design.[3]


All the subjects include one year of general science followed by units in specialist scientific fields such as Applied Science, Forensic Science, Medical Science and Dental Technology.

Public Services

The Level 3 Extended Diploma in Public Services is designed to prepare learners for employment in Uniformed Public Services by providing the knowledge and skills that would benefit them in recruitment process and the service itself. It provides learners with the necessary education to join the Uniformed Public Services in more responsible and challenging roles such as Police Officer or in the Armed Forces. The course covers subjects such as Equality and Diversity, Citizenship, Discipline, Physical Preparation for the Uniformed Public Services, Law and its impact on the Society.

Travel and Tourism

A whole list of other available subjects can be found at the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma Website.


Possible outcomes include:


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