As a learner why should I be interested in Higher National qualifications?

Feels like you are in the wrong job?

I’m sure you can list the reasons for yourself. Our job is to help you see whether a Higher National qualification is the right way to make a change.

What are Higher National qualifications

There are two types, Higher National Certificates (HNCs) at SCQF Level 7 and Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) at SCQF Level 8.

They are developed by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) in partnership with Scottish colleges, universities, industry and commerce.

They focus on different occupational areas and prepare people with the knowledge and some experience to work in these areas.

There are 249 HN Courses covering subject areas from the more traditional - accounting, business administration, childcare, computing, engineering, hospitality – to the newer – creative industries, paralegal, sports and leisure. Your local college website lists the subjects they teach.

What do I need to study for an HNC or HND?

Acceptance on a course is down to an individual college. Recommended entry is by formal qualifications or relevant work experience. Look at college websites or contact the college for specific information. Even if you are not quite ready for an HNC there are courses available to get you there.

Where do they lead?

  • Achieving an HNC provides suitable entry to matching HNDs.
  • An HN graduate is fit for first level employment in the relevant specialism/industry.
  • Many HNCs and HNDs provide suitable entry to 2nd or 3rd year matching university courses.

We meet standards and are professionally recognised

The qualifications meet the applicable National Occupational Standards. In many areas, HN graduates can then gain entry to relevant industry bodies.

What’s in them for me?

They are very practical qualifications, so it is not just theory. Assessment is ongoing during the course with no formal exams. Assessment includes questions, essays and projects.

What do I do now?

Have a look at the websites of the colleges nearest to you. They list the range of HNCs & HNDs they teach, together with a flavour of what the course will cover, what you will learn, the cost and funding routes. To take things further contact the college directly.