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How Many A Levels Should I Take?

23rd September 20

Whether you’re a school leaver or mature student, the pathway to your ideal job isn’t always certain. That’s assuming you know what your ideal job is!

If you’ve gone down a career path and decided it’s no longer what you want. Or you’ve never had a plan or much idea of where you want life to take you, it’s never too late to make a change.

So, if you’re assessing your options or have a career in mind, you need to know the route that’ll get you there. And the qualifications employers and educators might expect.

A-levels are a good place to start. As a qualification recognised by educators and employers both here and around the world, you can be confident that any A Level you earn will open up new and exciting opportunities.

learndirect - A Level Study Online is a Great Option for Mature Students

But the first step is knowing what qualifications you need in order to achieve your career goals. It will save you a lot of time, effort and heartache further down the road.

How Many A Levels Do I Need?

This depends on what you’re hoping to achieve. If you are applying for a job, then the specification will most likely state what the minimum requirements are, in terms of skills, experience and qualifications.

If a minimum grade is required, it will usually state this too. For example, grade C (4) in English and Maths A Level.

If you’re planning on going to university the requirements can vary quite a bit. Though many undergraduate courses only require two A Levels, three is often preferred.

Depending on the course – and how competitive it is, the grades you need to achieve can vary. While in some instances, people are offered unconditional places, this is rare.

More commonly, places are conditional. Meaning you need to make sure you can get the best grades possible.

Learndirect - Getting Good Grades in A Levels Studied Online

Which A Levels Do I Need for My Chosen Profession?

Below are some of the most popular jobs our students aspire to and what qualifications you need to follow in their footsteps:

Doctor – To become a Doctor, you need a degree in Medicine. To study Medicine, having A Levels in Chemistry, Biology and either Maths or Physics are essential for most – if not all – medical schools.

Nursing – To become fully qualified as a Nurse you must have an undergraduate degree in Nursing. An A Level in Biology is required along with another supporting subject. Depending on the university this can be Chemistry, Psychology, or Sociology. It’s advisable to check what the requirements are before you commit to any courses.

If you wish to become a Mental Health Nurse, Biology and Psychology are the most commonly stated qualifications.

Primary and Secondary School Teaching – In order to teach in the UK, you must have a degree and a recognised teaching qualification. There are various ways to achieve this, one of these is following an undergraduate Initial Teacher Education or Training (ITET) programme, for example, a Bachelor of Education (BEd) degree. This option is most popular with those wishing to teach primary children.

The most common route – especially for those wishing to teach in secondary schools - is to gain a degree and then undertake a postgraduate teacher training programme, such as a PGCE or PGDE.  

Two to three A Levels are normally required as well as GCSE maths and English at grade C (4) or higher. Having A Levels in your preferred subject for aspiring secondary school teachers is essential if you wish to study at degree level.

Marketing – A career choice that can be accessed in many ways. Apprenticeships and even merit or natural flair can get you into the industry if you work hard and prove yourself. Though, with many skill sets required, it pays to be qualified to demonstrate your ability.

The branch of marketing you wish to go into will determine the kind of qualifications you need/will be of most relevance. If you want to be a content writer, then a degree in English (possibly with creative writing) would be advantageous.

Or you can simply study a Marketing degree to give you a strong understanding of all the key disciplines. In this case A Levels in English language, Business, Psychology and Sociology can all help you get on the course. But again, check with the university you want to apply to.  

Bank Manager – Again there are various ways to enter this job. Working your way up to gain experience or completing an apprenticeship in bank management is acceptable. Alternatively, you could join a graduate scheme. For this, you would need to complete a degree ideally in a relevant subject like Business, Economics, Finance or Management. While no specific A Levels are required, Business, Economics, Statistics and Maths would all be useful.

learndirect - Many Routes to a Career - A Levels are a Great Path to Choose

How Long Does It Take to Complete A Levels?

Those opting to undertake their A Levels in a typical college setting you can expect to complete an A Level programme in two years, assuming you’re studying two or three A Levels. That also means waiting until the September term to start, then following a set timetable of lessons.

Alternatively, studying A-levels online puts you in control of your education. There’s no waiting around since you can start your course the same day you enrol. Plus, with no timetables or set classes to attend, you can complete the modules at your own pace.

So, if you want to qualify quickly, you can. If you’re desperate to get out of a lacklustre job, need to upskill quickly to earn a higher wage, or you’re just keen to progress, you’re in the driver’s seat.

Many of our students complete a full A Level course within nine months, some much sooner. Online learning means you set the pace and choose the time you dedicate to studying around your commitments.

Just bear in mind the date you choose to enrol, as exams are sat in May or June each year. It’s unlikely you would be able to complete your course modules in time if you enrolled too close to these months. Meaning you’d have to wait a year before you can pass your exams.

On the flip side, enrolling well in advance of your exams gives you ample time to revise and get the best grades possible.


How Many A Levels Can I Take at Once?

This is completely your decision, though we would suggest you consider your pre-existing commitments. It’s better to give yourself enough time to do justice to each course than take on too much and not get the results you could otherwise achieve.

Online learning lets you fit your education around a busy lifestyle. Should you find yourself with enough time to take on more courses then you can, but we don’t recommend it.

learndirect - Qualify Quickly with Flexible Online A Levels

Are A Levels My Only Option?

This really depends on what you want to achieve. There is certainly more than one way into many careers and certainly into university. Although some universities impose strict entry requirements, it doesn’t mean your options are completely limited.

In terms of higher education, though A Levels are the most recognised option, they aren’t the only option. Work experience and professional certifications are being considered by a growing number of universities.

Access to Higher Education Diplomas are also a great option as they allow you to get on university courses without A Levels. Simply study your course of choice and many universities (though not all) will allow you to continue your education in a related degree. Talk with the team at your chosen university to see what their rules are.


learndirect is the UK’s leading distance learning provider. If you are interested in studying your A-levels, simply click the link below to find the right course for you and enrol today. To learn more about distance learning check out our blog.

learndirect - Study A Levels Online and be in Control of your Education

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