Applied Psychology

What are the South African NQF Levels?

Jul 01, 2021 | By Saranne Durham
What are the South African NQF Levels?

The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) recognize 10 National Qualification Framework (NQF) Levels. Each is a registered South African qualification according to the NQF Act of 2008. They are different stages of learning qualifications, which relate to specific skills and knowledge. So, the higher the level of qualification a person holds, the more knowledgeable they are seen to be within an area.

“Understanding NQF Levels allows for life long learning as well as career advancement.”

Why are NQF Levels Important?

NQF levels provide education and skills information to potential employees. They better enable someone to choose the job-applicant that is most suitable and best qualified for a vacant position. Thus, NQF qualifications also guide learners in choosing the correct pathway to be able to work within their chosen career. They relay what skills are required for a job area and how to get these skills.

How do NQF Levels Work?

Each level of NQF allows you to proceed to a higher level. For instance, the basic requirement for consideration to study a Bachelor’s Degree is a NQF 4 qualification (Matric). If you are eligible, then you will also need to obtain specific results in relevant subjects for admission.

Job requirements vary in what level of qualification and skills they expect an applicant to have. Many jobs require a specific certification. However, depending on the position employees may choose to prioritize actual relevant experience over theoretical skills or knowledge.

“NQF Levels assist job applicants and potential employees.”

The 10 NQF Levels

The 10 NQF levels are divided into two parts. Levels 1-4 are linked to basic education. Thereafter, Levels 5-10 are higher learning founded.

A. General and Further Education and Training Qualifications Sub-Frameworks (Levels 1-4)

  1. General Certificate (Grade 9).
  2. Elementary Certificate (Grade 10).
  3. Intermediate Certificate (Grade 11).
  4. National Certificate (Matric).

B. Higher Education Qualifications Sub-Frameworks (Levels 5-10)

  1. Higher Certificate and Advanced National (vocational) Certificate.
  2. National Diplomas and Advanced Certificates.
  3. Bachelor’s Degree and Advanced Diploma, Post Graduate Certificates and B-tech.
  4. Bachelor’s Honours Degree, Postgraduate Diploma and Professional Qualifications.
  5. Master’s Degree.
  6. Doctoral Degree.

Each of the NQF levels requires a specific set of competencies. Essentially, there is a requirement for you to be proficient at specific academic and intellectual, as well as problem solving learning skills, in order for you to complete a level. The higher the level, the more theoretical and academic these skills become.

“NQF Levels contain measurable skills and knowledge milestones.”

There are 10 skill categories that are the focus within these levels. The level of your NQF qualification indicates how skilled you are in each of these areas.

10 NQF Applied Competency Areas

  1. Scope of Knowledge: How much do you understand?
  2. Knowledge Literacy: Can you apply what you understand?
  3. Method and Procedure: Are you able to apply specific techniques, methods and theories from your studies?
  4. Problem Solving: Can you think for yourself and critically assess situations to find solutions?
  5. Ethics and Professional Practice: Are you able to apply and stick to codes of conducts?
  6. Assessing, Processing and Managing Information:  Can you evaluate and understand information that relates to your studies?
  7. Producing and Communication of Information: Are you able to correctly relay what you have learnt when you speak and write about it?
  8. Context and Systems: Do you understand the context, systems and processes within your area of study?
  9. Management of Learning: Can you take responsibility for your own learning and are you able to oversee others learning?
  10. Accountability: Are you able to work efficiently, using resources responsibly as well as in an accountable manner?

How to Choose the NQF Level You Need

The SAQA Registered Qualification site can assist you in determining what you need for the qualification you are considering.

If you don’t have the level of qualification you need to study something right now, it doesn’t mean you need to change your dream. The structure of the NQF system maps out your options and helps you to determine how best to get there. Therefore, it caters for a range of current situations. Thus, if you left school without a matric, want to change the direction of your current career or need to upskill yourself there is a way! There are various colleges with full-time, part-time and distance learning programs which can help you get the NQF qualification you need. Many of which have bursary and scholarship programmes too.

Study at SACAP

SACAP (The South African College of Applied Psychology) is an internationally recognized higher learning facility. Established in 1997, it has campuses in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria. It offers full time, part time as well as online learning options. Courses are designed to provide graduates with theoretical as well as practical skills. This gives graduates a competitive advantage when they first enter the job market. Apply online today, to enjoy a career in Applied Psychology, Management and Leadership, Social Work and Community Development or Coaching.

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