HNC Hairdressing

HNC Hairdressing

Higher National Qualifications provide practical skills and theoretical knowledge that meet the needs of employers. The HNC in Hairdressing (SCQF level 7) provides underpinning knowledge and skills required to work in the hairdressing industry. Learners will become competent in a range of cutting and colouring skills and techniques, and hair and scalp treatments, as well as in the use of social media which will enable them to seek employment in the hairdressing sector.

Alternative assessment guidance 2021-22

For guidance on which approach suits your current circumstances please use the HNVQ assessment decision tree

Why deliver this qualification

Higher National Qualifications have been developed by SQA in partnership with colleges, universities and industry ¿ so employers recognise that they provide sound evidence of ability.

The unit-based structure supports flexibility. A unit is typically 40 hours of timetabled learning.

The mode of delivery for the HNC in Hairdressing can be either full-time or part-time at the discretion of the delivering centre.

Who does this qualification suit

The HNC in Hairdressing is suitable for a wide range of learners, including those with the SVQ at SCQF level 6 Hairdressing or an equivalent qualification. It is suitable for direct entrants with occupationally relevant skills and experience.


As with all SQA qualifications, entry is at the discretion of the centre.

Examples of formal entry qualifications include:

  • SVQ at SCQF level 6 in Hairdressing
  • relevant skills and work experience

Different combinations of relevant National Qualifications, vocational qualifications and equivalent qualifications from other awarding bodies may also be acceptable.

Progression and employment

Learners who successfully complete the qualification may progress to employment within the hairdressing industry or progress to further study.  There are a number of progression routes from this award into qualifications such as the PDA or Professional Development Award in Barbering Practice at SCQF Level 7 or the PDA Hairdressing Practice at SCQF Level 8.


Centres with devolved authority for approval should use their own internal approval process.

Centres without devolved authority are required to come forward for approval and should contact SQA's Business Development Team for guidance.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA's general requirements for technical/occupational competence as outlined in the Systems and Qualification Approval Guide.

The responsibility is with the centre to fully comply with the EU Directive and be aware of the Pre-16 Restrictions set out by the Sector Skills Body, HABIA, (European Directive Pre-16 Restrictions).

How to assess

Each individual unit specification gives detailed information on the evidence requirements and approaches to assessment for each unit.

Assessment support packs and e-assessment are available for this qualification. SOLAR assessment will be available for Outcome 1 - Principles of Colouring and Outcomes 1 and 2 - Hair, Skin and Scalp Conditions and Treatments.

Where can you take this course?

Qualification content and delivery tools


Qualification Structure

HNC Hairdressing

Group Award code: GP7W 15 (96 SCQF credit points)

HNC Hairdressing at SCQF level 7 consists of 6 mandatory units (88 SCQF credit points) and one optional unit (8 SCQF Credit Points)

Group Award Specification

Qualification Verification Summary Reports


Arrangements Documents

This group award has been replaced and has entered into its lapsing period.

HNC Hairdressing G805 15

The finishing date for this qualification is 31 July 2022

Centres should note that when a group award is entered into its lapsing period, the following will apply:

  • The group award will be deleted from the relevant catalogue.
  • The Group award arrangement document will remain until the qualification reaches its finish date at which point it will be removed from SQA website and archived.
  • No new centres may be approved to offer the group award.
  • Centres should only enter candidates whom they expect to complete the group award during the defined lapsing period of 3 years (HNC) and 4 years (HND).

Title: HNC Hairdressing

Code: G805 15

Date: Version 07 (October 2017)

Download: HNC Hairdressing Arrangements Document (329 KB)