Higher National qualifications provide practical skills and theoretical knowledge that meet the needs of employers.

The HNC and HND Radio awards have been designed to help learners succeed in the fast-moving world of radio. The HND usually takes two years to complete but learners can finish after one year with an HNC. Both prepare learners for employment or freelance work at an introductory level in various radio occupations or for further study in higher education.

The HNC in Radio (SCQF level 7) develops knowledge and skills in programme production, technical operations, recording and editing, interviewing and presenting.

The HND in Radio (SCQF level 8) builds on these by increasing their depth and introducing new skills. Learners will develop skills in co-ordinating, producing and adapting content for multiplatform distribution.

The qualifications are available through colleges.

This subject will not have alternative assessment guidance for session 2023-24. You should refer to the Group Award/Unit specifications for detailed delivery and assessment information. For general support on delivery and assessment see the HNVQ 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.

There is a wide choice of optional Units which will enable centres to offer courses tailored to meet local needs.

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

The HNC and HND Radio are suitable for a wide range of candidates including:

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


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

  • any relevant Group Award at SCQF level 6 or level 5 where potential and ability are demonstrated through evidence of specialist skills and expertise
  • English and Communication at SCQF level 6 (Higher level), plus one other relevant National Qualification at SCQF level 6 and, in addition, at least three other National 5 qualifications or above, or equivalent
  • an SVQ 2 or 3 in a relevant area

Different combinations of relevant National Qualifications, vocational qualifications and equivalent qualifications from other awarding bodies may also be acceptable, as would suitable vendor qualifications at an appropriate level.

Mature learners with suitable work experience may be accepted for entry provided that the enrolling centre believes that the learner is likely to benefit from undertaking the award.

Progression and employment

The HNC/HND is designed to be of value to learners who hope to progress to employment or further study. Learners who achieve an HNC Radio can progress to the HND in Radio or the first or second year of a relevant University degree, further study or to employment, eg broadcast assistant, trainee presenter.

Learners successfully completing the HND could progress to relevant degree programmes.

Relevant degree programmes include:

  • BA Broadcast Production - University of the West of Scotland
  • BA Media and Communications or BA Multimedia Journalism - Glasgow Caledonia University
  • BA (Hons) Creative Sound Production - Abertay University
  • BA Broadcasting Studies - Falmouth University
  • BA (Hons) Broadcast Media Production - Sunderland University
  • BA (Hons) Radio - Bournemouth University
  • BA Journalism - University of the West of Scotland

Employment opportunities in all sectors of the radio industry include:

  • Community Radio: station manager, presenter, sales and marketing, journalist
  • Commercial Radio: presenter, technical operator, sales, marketing, sponsorship and promotions, commercial traffic, music scheduling, producer, online producer, commercial producer, imager
  • BBC radio: content assistant, content producer, scheduling, studio manager, sports assistant, sound assistant, presenter
  • Independent sector: producer, presenter, manager, compliance, broadcast assistant
  • Freelance: any of the above, podcaster, freelance presenter, voice artist, commercial producer, imager

What you'll learn?


The HNC/HND Radio allows candidates to gain general knowledge of the context, working practices and organisation of the radio industries while also developing specialist technical and production skills relevant to different radio production roles.

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

Centres without devolved authority will have 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 Guide to Approval.

Each individual Unit specification gives detailed information on the Evidence Requirements and approaches to assessment for each Unit.

Assessments are based on real-life radio practice. Learners will be assessed on their programme making, technical and presentation skills as they demonstrate them naturally throughout the qualification. In some Units case studies will be used.

Integrated delivery models

HNC Radio

Group Award code: GK7N 15 (96 SCQF credit points)

HNC Radio at SCQF level 7 consists of five mandatory Units (48 SCQF credit points), one restricted mandatory Unit (8 SCQF credits) and a number of optional Units (40 SCQF credit points) to make up the 96 credit points required for the full award.

HND Radio

Group Award code: GK7P 16 (240 SCQF credit points)

HND Radio at SCQF level 8 consists of 11 mandatory Units (112 SCQF credit points), one restricted mandatory Unit (8 SCQF credits) and a number of optional Units (120 SCQF points) to make up the 240 credit points required for the full award.