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Vendor certifications

Vendor certifications

Vendor certifications are offered by major technology vendors or trade associations such as Microsoft, Cisco, VMWare, CompTIA, Oracle and Linux Professional Institute. Employers often regard these as the industry standard, and they are much sought after by learners seeking employment and by professionals already working in the IT and telecoms sector.

Vendor certifications are an important part of the BTEC Level 2 Firsts and Level 3 Nationals in IT, as well as the Higher Nationals in Computing and Systems Development. Certifications are available from the following vendors at the levels indicated: 


Level 2

Level 3

Level 4

Level 5















VM Ware




Why teach vendor certifications?
Vendor certificates are an invaluable addition to the BTEC qualifications, as they help learners progress with their education and provide the right skills for learners to find employment as an IT professional. Funding can be drawn down for the teaching and learning of the BTEC units.

Delivering vendor units
Many of the learning outcomes for these units are covered in the BTEC optional units, allowing you to begin teaching the course before deciding whether students should complete the internal assessment and/or be entered for the vendor certification.

The BTEC vendor units are assessed via the external vendor. They involve external tests and are awarded a pass or fail. Additional assessment criteria can be covered in order for them to achieve a merit or a distinction grade for the equivalent BTEC IT unit. You can find guidance on the learning outcomes for these units under 'Vendor Units' in the documents list on the relevant qualification page (BTEC Level 2 Firsts, BTEC Level 3 Nationals or BTEC Level 4 and 5 Higher Nationals).

Rules of combination
There are restrictions on the maximum number of credits available for vendor certificates. For full details, see the relevant BTEC specification. For instance, the BTEC Level 3 National Subsidiary Diploma (roughly equivalent to an A level) is 60 credits, of which no more than 20 credits can be used on optional vendor credits. The Oracle: Database Design and Programming with SQL unit is 10 credits. 

Assessing vendor units
Please refer to the individual vendors for further details on how their certifications are assessed and the fees involved. Please note that most vendors charge a fee to join their academy programme as well as a test fee, and discounts are often available.

CompTIA authorised academy Find out more about CompTIA vendor certificates


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