About HN Qualifications
Offered by colleges, some universities and many other training centres, HNCs and HNDs are specially designed to meet the needs of employers both locally and internationally.
So if you are serious about getting a job and want a career with prospects, then getting a Higher National Certificate (HNC) or a Higher National Diploma (HND) is one of the best ways to achieve your ambition.
There are HNC and HND courses in a huge range of subjects from Accounting to Video Production so whatever career you want to follow, there is sure to be a Higher National course for you.
And because employers recognise Higher National Qualifications as good evidence of your ability having an HNC or HND will help you get a job.
What is a Higher National Qualification?
Higher National courses provide both the practical skills you need to do a job and the theoretical knowledge your employer will expect you to have.
All the courses are made up of Higher National Units.
- HNCs are made up of 96 SCQF credit points and usually take one year to complete
- HNDs are made up of 240 SCQF credit points and usually take two years to complete
Higher National qualifications have been developed by the Scottish Qualifications Authority in partnership with colleges, universities and industry.
What else is good about HNCs and HNDs?
Higher National qualifications don't just qualify you for work. Some HNCs allow direct entry into the second year of a degree programme, and some HNDs allow direct entry to third year. Higher National qualifications can also give you the knowledge and understanding required for Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs).
How the SQA HND links to Professional Bodies
Many Professional Bodies in the UK recognise the quality and value of an SQA HND qualification.
This has led a high number of bodies to enter into agreements with SQA which recognises this value by way of articulation and professional recognition:
- Exemptions (partial and full) to professional body exams
- Accepted as a membership entry requirement
More than a third of SQAs HND portfolio has formal links with one or more professional bodies.
This table sets out current arrangements in place.
*although regularly reviewed it is always worth checking that any arrangement is current
** the arrangement documents for each HND contain the detail of individual agreements
How do you get started?
The recommended qualification for entry to an HNC or HND course is one of the following:
- a programme of national Units appropriate to the course you want to study
- two passes at Higher or above
- an equivalent qualification
Numerous courses are on offer in popular areas like Business Administration, Information and Office Management, Travel and Tourism, and Engineering as well as in Broadcasting, Agriculture, Computing and Craft subjects.
The Scottish Funding Council fund the six regional and one national articulation hubs listed below. The hubs are each centred on a lead university and work with a range of stakeholders, including SQA, towards increasing the opportunities for students to articulate from a Higher National Certificate or Diploma to university. They also aim to increase the retention of students once they make the transition from college to university.
An example of SQA’s involvement in the above is our Scottish Funding Council funded Piloting ‘Enhancements’ to Higher National Qualifications to Achieve Articulation project. This is will pilot four categories of ‘enhancement’ – assessment, content, guidance and structure – in Higher National Certificates and Diplomas in Business, Computing, Electrical Engineering and Social Sciences.
- Greater Glasgow Articulation Partnership (GGAP)
- Edinburgh, Lothians, Fife and Borders Articulation Hub (ELRAH)
- South West Articulation Hub (SWAH)
- North-East Scotland Articulation Hub
- Tayside and Fife Articulation Hub
- The Open University in Scotland
For more information, contact your local articulation hub.