About HNC/HND Qualifications

SVQ Homepage - Gas Fitter.

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 HND or HNC 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

Information about what agreements are in place can be found on the relevant qualification pages and in the group award specifications.

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 and Information Technology, Travel and Tourism, Social Sciences and Engineering as well as Agriculture, Computing and creative and cultural subjects.


HNC/HND learners wishing to articulate to university degree programmes should contact college Student Advisors or university External Engagement staff for more information.