Revision Notes

Understanding RHS Qualifications

Students sometimes ask us about the equivalancy of RHS qualifications – with such a wide array of qualifications on offer, how does a level 2 RHS certificate, for example, compare to other level 2 qualifications?

Since 2010 the RHS qualifications have been part of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) which means that they are regulated qualifications and can be considered broadly equivalent to other Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications within the framework, examples include an NVQ Level 2 or 3, or an Edexcel Level 2 or 3 certificate. The advantage of regulated qualifications is that each one is awarded a certain number of credits (for example the RHS Level 2 is worth 28 credits), which can be helpful when, for example, applying for places in higher education. This system also allows students to compare their qualification directly against other regulated qualifications.

By searching for each qualification you are interested in on the Ofqual website, it’s possible to see exactly how many credits each one is worth and compare them directly.

Comparing Against Unregulated Qualifications

Not all courses lead to regulated qualifications and this makes it more difficult to compare qualifications directly. In this case questions to ask include:

  • What is my goal in pursuing this training? (Much of the most specialised training might not be part of the National Qualifications Framework, but it might still be helpful in allowing you to meet your goals.)
  • What do employers think of this qualification? (If relevant to your situation.)

Employers and the General Public

Even before becoming part of the National Qualifications Framework, the RHS certificates were well-known among employers and highly regarded. they are known to prepare students well for a wide range of horticultural career offering a strong, broad-based knowledge of horticulture and plants. The RHS qualifications are also well-known among the general public and can be a good choice if you are planning on launching your own business or wishing to take an existing business to the next level.

Academic Level

Level 2

“Level 2 qualifications recognise the ability to gain a good knowledge and understanding of a subject area of work or study, and to perform varied tasks with some guidance or supervision. Learning at this level involves building knowledge and/or skills in relation to an area of work or a subject area and is appropriate for many job roles.” (Source: wikipedia)Level 2 qualifications are often sought as ‘entry-level qualifications’ for new careers.

GCSE at grades A*–C
Higher Diploma
First Diploma
First Certificate
Level 2 Diploma
Level 2 Certificate
Level 2 Award
Level 2 DiDA
Level 2 CIDA+
Level 2 CiDA
Level 2 AiDA
Level 2 NVQ
City & Guilds, Level 2.

Level 3

“Level 3 qualifications recognise the ability to gain, and where relevant apply a range of knowledge, skills and understanding. Learning at this level involves obtaining detailed knowledge and skills. It is appropriate for people wishing to go to university, people working independently, or in some areas supervising and training others in their field of work.” (Source: wikipedia) Level 3 qualifications are most often pursued by students seeking career development or considering entry into higher education.

A Level
AS Level
Advanced Diploma
National Diploma
National Certificate
National Award
Level 3 Diploma
Level 3 Certificate
Level 3 Award
Level 3 NVQ
City & Guilds, Level 3.
Access to Higher Education Diploma

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