BTEC Specialist Qualification

The BTEC Specialist qualifications are job–related qualifications offered by Pearson from Entry to Level 3 in a wide range of sectors. These Specialist qualifications provide learners the knowledge, understanding, and skills they need to prepare for employment in a specific occupational area. They also give the learner career development opportunities for those already working.

The Specialist qualification may be offered as either full-time or part-time courses in schools, colleges. Besides, training centers, as well as employers, may also offer these qualifications.

Sizes of Specialist Qualifications

Regulated qualifications like the Specialist has a specified total number of hours that learners are expected to undertake to complete and show attainment for the qualification. This is referred to as Total Qualification Time (TQT). It is the TQT value that indicates the size of the qualification.

However, within the TQT, Guided Learning Hours (GLH) can be identified. GLH is the number of hours a center delivering the qualification requires to provide. Guided learning refers to activities that directly or immediately involve the tutor and assessors in teaching, invigilating and supervising learners. Such activities may include lectures, online instruction, tutorials, and supervised study.

Apart from guided learning, there may be other learning needed and is directed by instructors or assessors. This learning may include private studies, preparation for assessments, and undertaking assessment under no supervision like revision, preparatory reading, and independent research.

In addition to TQT and GLH, Specialist qualification may also have a credit value equivalent to one-tenth of TQT but rounded to the nearest whole number. The credit values are assigned once consultation with the users of the qualification is done. BTEC Specialist qualifications are offered in the following sizes:

  • Award – A qualification with a TQT value of 120 or less (Equal to a range of 1 – 12 credits)
  • Certificate – A qualification with a TQT value in the range of 121 – 139 (Equal to a range of 13 – 36 credits)
  • Diploma – A qualification with a TQT value of 370 or more (Equal to 37 credits and more)

Specialist Qualification Objective

The BTEC Specialist Entry Level Award is designed to introduce the learners to basic knowledge and attitudes to enhance their employability for administrative job roles across vocational sectors. The Specialist qualification is designed for learners who are far away from the job market and thus need support to develop their ability and confidence to take on further training and learning in preparation for employment.

Moreover, learners will get the opportunity to explore the basic concepts that reinforce their specialization in any context with emphasis on communication skills, vital personal qualities and behaviors, standards of presentation, typical roles, and employment rights and responsibilities.

The BTEC Specialist Entry Level Certificate aims to extend the work-related focus through a range of optional units to help learners with essential employability skills and further occupational knowledge to support advancement in employment or further training and learning in their specialization. This comprises the skills in using email and producing a CV, and knowledge related to using office equipment, handling mail, and personal development.

Progression Opportunities through Pearson Qualification

Learners pursuing the Specialist qualifications are likely to enhance their confidence and motivation to learn. Additionally, they increase their engagement with and interest in the administrative service sector and other administrative-related roles.

The Specialist qualifications support progression to further learning like developing additional employability skills, Vocational Studies, a Traineeship programme, or advancement through a Level 1 qualification in a sector-specific area. These qualifications include:

  • Pearson BTEC Level 1 Award in Principles of Business Administration
  • Pearson BTEC Level 1 Certificate in Principle of Business Administration

However, for some learners, the Entry Level Certificate in Principles of Business Administration qualification will be enough to provide them with the skills and knowledge needed to obtain a job directly after completion.


  • Center – devised Assessment (Internal Assessment)

Each unit has specified learning outcomes and assessment criteria. So, to pass an internally assessed unit, a learner is required to meet all the unit’s learning outcomes. Centers may find it helpful if the learner indexes and references his evidence to the relevant learning outcomes and assessment criteria.

Centers need to write assessment briefs for learners to demonstrate what evidence is needed. As such, assessment briefs should indicate precisely, which assessment criteria are being targeted?  Unless indicated in the Information for tutors, the center can determine the form of assessment evidence as long as the methods decided upon allow learners to produce valid, sufficient, and reliable evidence of meeting the assessment criteria.

However, centers are encouraged to offer learners realistic scenarios and optimize the use of practical activities in delivery and assessment. But to avoid over-assessment, centers are encouraged to link delivery and assessments across units.

  • Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

This is a method of assessment that considers if a learner can demonstrate that they can meet the assessment requirements for the unit through knowledge, understanding, or skills they already have. As such, they don’t require developing through the course of learning.

Pearson encourages centers offering this qualification to recognize learners’ previous achievements and experiences in and outside workplaces and in the classroom. This way, the RPL provides a route for the recognition of the achievements resulting from continuous learning. Besides, it enables the recognition of achievement from various activities using a valid assessment methodology. So, when assessment requirements of a particular unit or qualification have been met, the use of RPL is acceptable for accrediting a unit, units, or entire qualification. However, the evidence of learning must be sufficient, reliable, and valid.

Progamme Delivery

Centers offering Specialist qualifications are free to deliver these qualifications using any mode of delivery. It can be either full-time, part-time, evening only, or distance learning, whichever meets the learners’ needs.

Regardless of the mode of delivery used, the centers must ensure learners have access to resources indicated in the specification and the subject specialist delivering the units. As such, those planning for the Specialist qualification programme should aim to improve the vocational nature of the qualification doing the following:

  • Liaise with the employers to ensure the course is relevant to the learners’ specific needs
  • Access and use non-confidential data and documents from learners’ workplaces
  • Develop current and relevant teaching materials that make use of scenarios that are relevant to the sector
  • Offer learners the opportunity to apply their learning in practical activities.
  • Include sponsoring employers in the delivery of the programme where appropriate and assessment
  • Make full use of the variety of experience of work and life that learners bring to the programme.

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