NC Hairdressing

This National Certificate (NC) is mainly aimed at candidates who are interested in pursuing a career in the hairdressing and barbering sectors. Set at SCQF levels 5 and 6, the NC is designed to meet industry needs and gives candidates the knowledge, understanding and skills to gain employment at a junior level.

It also opens up the possibility of further study for candidates who may choose to continue studying for Hairdressing and Barbering qualifications. For example, it provides underpinning knowledge and understanding for the competence-based SVQs.

The emphasis is on developing basic skills which will be attractive to future employers both within and outwith the hairdressing industries. Candidates will gain a broad knowledge of the industry and the accepted practices.

This NC should be delivered within the context of hairdressing so that candidates can develop a greater understanding of terminology, safety, working practices, research methods, personal skills, commercial targets and strategic industry objectives.

This product is widely available in colleges.

Why deliver this qualification

The NC in Hairdressing can be delivered on a full-time, part-time, block release, day release or evening class basis. It can be completed in one academic year when delivered on a full-time basis. A combination of delivery methods is also possible. Centres offering a full-time programme might choose to include more optional Units.

The majority of the programme is practical and should therefore be delivered in a realistic hairdressing salon, creating opportunities for centres to work in partnership with hairdressing/barbering salons.

This qualification allows centres flexibility of pathways because of the generic Units in the mandatory section.

Who does this qualification suit

The NC at SCQF level 5 is aimed at school leavers, progression candidates, and adults returning to education. The NC at SCQF level 6 will suit school leavers, adult returners or those already working in the hairdressing industry.

The NC is mapped with the National Occupational Standards (NOS) and is a nationally recognised qualification.

The real or realistic work environment for practical experience means the NC will put the candidate in a good position for a career in hairdressing and related industries.


Access is at the discretion of the centre. Candidates would benefit from previous experience of Hairdressing Units. Relevant work experience would also be acceptable.


Candidates at SCQF level 5 may progress to:

  • SCQF Level 6 Hairdressing NC
  • employment in a junior role in hairdressing or barbering
  • further academic and/or professional qualifications

SCQF level 6 candidates may progress to:

  • HNC Hairdressing
  • HNC Fashion Make-up
  • HND Make-up Artistry
  • SVQ Hairdressing at Level 2 or 3
  • employment as a junior or junior stylist in a hairdressing salon


Centres with devolved authority are eligible to seek approval through their own internal approval process.

Centres without devolved authority will have to come forward for approval and should contact the Business Development Team for guidance in completing the combined CA1/SA1 form.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA’s general requirements for technical/occupational competence.

How to assess

Assessments should be observational where appropriate, based on recorded evidence. The skills developed will have a practical focus which will be carried out in a realistic working environment.

Qualification content and delivery tools

Unit(s) and delivery tools

Group Award code: G95H 45 (72 SCQF credit points)SCQF level: 5
Group Award code: G9K3 46 (72 SCQF credit points) SCQF level: 6


SCQF level 5
Candidates must achieve seven mandatory Units (54 SCQF credit points), and three optional Units (18 SCQF credit points).

Mandatory Units:
Applying Practical Skills (F4BY11)
Selling Skills (D0SF10)
Shampooing, Conditioning and Scalp Massage (F4C9 11)
Blow Drying Techniques (F4BX 11)
Setting and Winding Techniques for Hair (F4C8 11)
Ladies Hairdressing: Basic Cutting Categories (F4C2 11)
Mix, Apply and Remove Hair Colour (F4C4 11)

Optional Units:
Clipper Cutting Techniques: Gents (F50F 11)
Current Techniques in Long Hair: Basic (F4CB 11)
Hair, Beauty and Make up Portfolio Presentation (F4C7 11)
Hair, Beauty and Make-up: Competition Technical Skills (F4BV 11)
Hair, Beauty and Make-up: Personal Care and Appearance (F4C5 11)
Hand Care for Gents (F50G 11)
Postiche Application and Styling: An Introduction (F4C6 11)
Reception Duties and Skills (F4P1 11)
Skills for Customer Care (F38X 11)
Work Experience (D36H 11)
Working with Others (F3GE 11)

SCQF level 6
Candidates must achieve six mandatory Units (48 SCQF credit points), and four optional Units (24 SCQF credit points).

Mandatory Units:
Hair Colouring and Lightening (F78P 12)
Colour Correction (F78R 12)
Combination Cutting (F78S 12)
Style Dress and Finish Hair (F78T 12)
Styling for a Total Look (F78W 12)
Commercial Experience (F78V 12)

Optional Units:
Beauty: Creative Current Make-up Trends (F5B3 12)
Creative Haircutting (F78X 12)
Digital Imaging (D7YF 12)
Hairdressing: Long Hair Design (DN5Y 33)
Photography: Digital Imaging (F8KM 12)
Research Skills (D669 12)
Scalp, Neck and Shoulder Massage (F6XE 12)
Working with Commercial Synthetic Postiche (F78Y 12)

Other information
Assessment Support Packs (ASPs) are available for t mandatory Units in both levels. These are available to download from SQA’s secure website.

Units from the NCs may be delivered as individual Units or clustered for delivery as an evening class programme.

Arrangements Documents

Course Overview and Skills Development Summary

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