HNC Complementary Therapies

Higher National qualifications provide practical skills and theoretical knowledge that meet the needs of employers. The HNC in Complementary Therapies (SCQF level 7) develops knowledge and skills in professional issues and practice, clinic practice, and body massage treatments.

This qualification includes: aromatherapy, body massage treatments, traditional head massage, reflexology and perspectives of health. It also covers health and safety legislation for complementary therapies, clinic practice, and professional issues and practice.

This qualification is available through colleges and private /training providers. Typically, an HNC takes one year to complete 

The following optional guidance can be used to support delivery and assessment as an alternative to the approaches outlined in the Group Award / Unit specification.

Optional assessment guidance 2023-24

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.

This HN provides progression routes to further study (see Progression).

The HNC Complementary Therapies is suitable for a wide range of candidates including:

  • school leavers
  • adult returners to education
  • individuals in employment who wish to enhance their career prospects
  • people who wish to start their own business


As with all SQA qualifications, entry is at the discretion of the centre. Examples of formal entry qualifications include:

  • appropriate groupings of National units
  • any two National Qualifications at Higher
  • SVQ 2 or 3 in a relevant area
  • relevant 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 achieve an HNC Complementary Therapies can progress to the HND in Complementary Therapies.

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

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

Centres interested in offering this qualification require 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 specific delivery requirements are set out in the Group Award Specification (Arrangements Document).

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

Ongoing course assessment will apply. Some units by require closed-book assessments, while other units may require research projects to be undertaken.

Assessment/e-assessment support packs are available for some units within this qualification.

HNC Complementary Therapies

Group award code: GL7X 15 (96 SCQF credit points)

HNC Complementary Therapies at SCQF level 7 consists of nine mandatory units (72 SCQF credit points) and three optional units (24 SCQF credit points).

Qualification Verification Summary Reports were formerly known as Internal Assessment Reports.