Free NQF infographic – know your qualification level

Use this NQF Infographic to demonstrate how to move across and up the National Qualifications Framework. We have an NQF video too!

The NQF Infographic helps demonstrate how candidates move across and along the National Qualifications Framework. We have a video too!

Are You on the National Qualifications Framework?

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Use our NQF Infographic to identify your current NQF Level and the next level you wish to reach.

The NQF Infographic: National Qualifications Framework

See the list of different qualification types available in South Africa.

The National Qualifications Framework links all available qualifications and part qualifications.

The NQF Infographic Shows 10 Levels:

nqf infographic
The NQF Infographic

Higher Education Qualifications on the NQF Infographic

Progress to NQF level 10 through traditional study.

Occupational Qualifications on the NQF Infographic

Apprenticeships and learnerships are mostly in the occupational space. Learnerships are now available at NQF level 8.

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Advanced Occupational Certificates on the NQF

It’s not all about climbing to NQF Level 10

Let’s face it, we’re not all academics interested in keeping our noses in the books. You can also do short courses and skills programmes to earn part qualifications.

Move sideways on the NQF. 

For example: if you successfully complete a qualification on NQF L4, you have the option of progressing to the next level of that qualification or to study something else at NQF L4.

If you do this, you won’t have to repeat programme components such as language and maths fundamentals as you would already have been credited for them.

Catch our NQF Video


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The National Qualifications Framework organises how one earns credits and is recognised for skills and competencies.

Frequently Asked Questions about NQF Levels in South Africa

What are NQF Levels?

NQF stands for the National Qualifications Framework, which is a system used in South Africa to organize levels of learning achievement into a single framework.

It categorizes qualifications based on a set of criteria, including complexity, learning outcomes, and skills.

How do NQF Levels work?

NQF Levels range from Level 1 to Level 10.

Level 1 is the most accessible and the least complex while Level 10 is the most advanced.

Each level therefore represents a certain standard of knowledge and skills.

With Level 1 being equivalent to Grade 9 and Level 10 being equivalent to a doctoral degree.

What are the key characteristics of each NQF Level?

Each NQF Level has specific characteristics:

  • Level 1 to 4: These levels typically cover basic skills and knowledge, equivalent to grades 9 to 12 in the South African schooling system.
  • Level 5 to 7: These levels represent further education and training, including diplomas, advanced certificates, and bachelor’s degrees.
  • Level 8 to 10: These levels encompass postgraduate qualifications, such as honors degrees, master’s degrees, and doctoral degrees.
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How do NQF Levels impact education and employment?

NQF Levels provide a standardized way to understand the level of education and skills attained by individuals.

Employers often use NQF Levels to assess qualifications during the hiring process.

Higher NQF Levels generally indicate greater expertise and proficiency in a particular field, which can lead to better job prospects and career advancement opportunities.

How can individuals progress through NQF Levels?

Individuals can progress through NQF Levels by completing recognized qualifications at each level.

This may involve completing further education and training programs, obtaining relevant work experience, or pursuing higher academic degrees.

Recognition of prior learning (RPL) also allows individuals to demonstrate their skills and knowledge gained through informal or non-formal learning experiences to attain higher NQF Levels.

Are NQF Levels internationally recognized?

While the NQF system is specific to South Africa, many countries have similar frameworks for organizing qualifications.

Some international institutions and employers may recognize South African qualifications based on their equivalence to their own education systems or through formal recognition processes.

It’s advisable to research the recognition status of South African qualifications in specific countries or institutions of interest.

How can I verify the NQF Level of a qualification?

The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) is responsible for overseeing the NQF and maintaining a database of accredited qualifications and their corresponding NQF Levels.

Individuals can verify the NQF Level of a qualification by checking SAQA’s website or contacting them directly for assistance.

What resources are available to help understand NQF Levels?

SAQA provides various resources, including guidelines, handbooks, and information sessions, to help individuals and institutions understand the NQF system.

Additionally, educational institutions, career advisors, and professional organizations may offer guidance and support regarding NQF Levels and their implications for education and employment.

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