Occupational Studies Progression Routes

Learners with Occupational Studies qualifications generally use them together with GCSEs and other qualifications for entry into further study, training or employment.

Occupational Studies qualifications are now widely recognised for progression to a variety of routes. However, learners do need to check with the individual colleges and employers that they apply to.

The new grading system that shows equivalency with GCSEs should make it easier for schools, colleges and employers to understand the value of an Occupational Studies qualification.

Below are examples of the main progression routes open to learners holding Occupational Studies qualifications. Hear some views about the opportunities that are open.

Training and Apprenticeships

Learners can use Occupational Studies qualifications for part of the entry requirements if they want to progress to a local training organisation, for example Springvale Learning in Belfast.


Some opportunities exist for direct employment or employment-based apprenticeships directly from school.

Further Education

Colleges offer a wide range of training and qualification-based programmes. Learners can use Occupational Studies along with GCSEs and other qualifications for progression to these programmes.

Special Education

Learners with special educational needs often get the opportunity to complete Occupational Studies at a local college. This can develop their interest in taking a course at the college after their time at school.

Sixth Form at School

Learners can use Occupational Studies along with GCSEs and other qualifications to return to Years 13 and 14 at school. There may be specific entry requirements for individual schools or courses.

Higher Education

Entry to higher education usually depends on grades at Level 3/A Level, but local universities' admissions officers can place value on the Level 2 qualifications that applicants have achieved, including Occupational Studies. This does depend on the course and institution; learners should check the prospectus for each individual course.

Learners' Experiences and their career paths

Learners who have achieved Occupational Studies in the past have used their qualifications and experiences for different career paths.

Find out more.