What are T Levels?

If you’re asking the question, “What are T Levels,” then you’ve come to the right blog post! T levels are a new sort of course for students in England who have finished their GCSEs. The first T levels started in September 2020 and they’re still being rolled out – there are currently 18 subjects available (as of September 2023) with another 5 being introduced for September 2024.

T Levels or BTECs?

T levels and BTECs are both vocational courses (a vocational course is targeted at the skills needed for a particular trade, compared to academic courses, which are more theoretical).

The government introduced T levels to try to improve vocational courses. For the subjects where T levels are available, they will replace existing BTEC courses. Only 24 T level subjects are currently planned, compared to thousands of available BTECs. This means if a T level is not available for a particular subject, it’s likely a BTEC will be.

There are two main differences between BTECs and T Levels. While both T Levels and level 3 BTECs are 2 year courses, BTECs can also be taken as easier 1 year level 1 (roughly equivalent to foundation GCSE) and level 2 (similar to higher GCSE) courses and can be extended further into advanced level 4 and level 5 courses.

The second difference between T levels and BTECs is the amount of on-the-job training. T levels were developed alongside employers and they have a more extensive work placement – a minimum of 45 days (but often longer). This compares to around 2 weeks of work experience for a BTEC.

Entry Requirements

Entry requirements vary slightly between T levels, but courses usually require at least 5 GCSEs at grades 9-4, with some courses needing maths and English grades of at least 5.

If you don’t have the grades needed, you can take a T level transition course. This is a 1-year course taken between GCSEs and T levels to help you meet the requirements.

What T Levels Are Available?

The list below shows all T level subjects. For each subject, you have to choose a specialism. You should be aware that different colleges describe their available T levels differently – one may offer an Onsite Construction T level with an option to specialise in Bricklaying, where another offers a T level in Bricklaying. These would both have similar content.

18 subjects are currently available divided into 8 topics, with another 5 rolling out in September 2024. As these are new qualifications, they will not all be available at all schools or colleges.

Agriculture, environmental and animal care

SubjectAvailable Specialisations
Agriculture, land management and production– Crop and plant production
– Floristry
– Land-based engineering
– Livestock production
– Ornamental horticulture and landscaping
– Tree and woodland management and maintenance

Business (management and administration)

Management and administration– Business support
– Business improvement
– Team leadership and management


Onsite construction– Carpentry and joinery
– Bricklaying
– Plastering
– Painting and decorating
Design, surveying and planning for construction– Surveying and design for construction and the built environment
– Civil engineering
– Building services design
– Hazardous materials analysis and surveying
Building services engineering for construction– Electrical and electronic equipment engineering
– Electrotechnical engineering
– Gas engineering
– Protection systems engineering
– Plumbing and heating engineering
– Heating engineering and ventilation
– Refrigeration engineering and air conditioning engineering


SubjectAvailable Specialisations
Digital business servicesNo specialisations available. Course covers:
– Sourcing, organising and formatting data
– Blending data from multiple sources
– Analysing data to support business
– Interpreting data and communicating results
Digital production, design and developmentNo specialisations available. Course covers:
– Analysing a problem to define requirements
– Designing, implementing, and testing software
– Changing, maintaining and supporting software
– Creating solutions in a social and collaborative environment
– Discovering, evaluating, and applying reliable sources of knowledge
– Applying ethical principles and managing risks in line with legal and regulatory requirements when developing software
Digital support services– Digital infrastructure
– Network cabling
– Digital support

Engineering and Manufacturing

SubjectAvailable Specialisations
Design and development for engineering and manufacturing– Mechanical engineering
– Electrical and electronic engineering
– Control and instrumentation engineering
– Structural engineering
Maintenance, installation and repair for engineering and manufacturing– Maintenance engineering technologies: mechanical
– Maintenance engineering technologies: mechatronic
– Maintenance engineering technologies: electrical & electronic
– Maintenance engineering technologies: control & instrumentation
– Maintenance, installation, and repair: light and electric vehicles
Engineering, manufacturing, processing and control– Fitting and assembly technologies
– Machining and toolmaking technologies
– Composites manufacturing technologies
– Fabrication and welding technologies

Education and early years

SubjectAvailable Specialisations
Education and early years– Early years educator
– Assisting teaching

Health and science

SubjectAvailable Specialisations
Health– Supporting the adult nursing team
– Supporting the midwifery team
– Supporting the mental health team
– Supporting the care of children and young people
– Supporting the therapy teams
– Dental nursing
Healthcare science– Assisting with healthcare science
– Optical care services
Science– Laboratory sciences
– Food sciences
– Metrology sciences

Legal, finance and accounting

SubjectAvailable Specialisations
Legal services– Legal services assistant: business, finance and employment
– Legal services assistant: crime, criminal justice and social welfare
Accounting– Assistant accountant
Finance– Retail and commercial banking analyst
– Investment banking and asset and wealth management analyst
– Insurance practitioner
– Financial compliance/risk analyst

Available from September 2024

SubjectAvailable Specialisations
Animal Care and Management  – Animal care and management
– Equine care and management
CateringNo specialisations available. Course covers:
– Culinary quality
– Kitchen operations
– Health, safety and security
– Nutritional analysis
– Food safety practices and procedures
– Team working
– Business, including risk assessment, waste management principles and supply chain management
Craft and Design  – Jewellery maker
– Ceramics maker
– Furniture maker
– Textiles and fashion maker
Hairdressing, Barbering and Beauty Therapy– Barbering
– Hairdressing
– Beauty therapy
Media, Broadcast and Production– Creative media technician
– Events and venues technician
– Content creation and production

So, did this post answer all your questions about what T Levels are? If you’re looking for further information, we have a great range of helpful blogs here! You can also subscribe to Beyond for access to thousands of secondary teaching resources. You can sign up for a free account here and take a look around at our free resources before you subscribe too.

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