HNC Arboriculture and Urban Forestry

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

This qualification covers areas such as arboricultural practice, amenity tree management, work supervision, selection and management of machinery and forest science.

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

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).

HNC Arboriculture and Urban Forestry 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
  • an SVQ at Level 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 Arboriculture and Urban Forestry can progress to the HND in Arboriculture and Urban Forestry (G93M 16).

HNCs and HNDs can provide progression to degree-level study. For example, the HNC in Arboriculture and Urban Forestry allows direct entry into the second year of most degree programmes, and the HND in Arboriculture and Urban Forestry allows direct entry to most third-year programmes.

Higher National qualifications also provide the knowledge and understanding required for related Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs). For example:

  • SVQ in Arboriculture at SCQF Level 6
  • SVQ in General Woodland and Forestry Treework at SCQF Level 6

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.

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.

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

Ongoing course assessment will apply.

HNC Arboriculture and Urban Forestry

Group Award code: G93L 15 (96 SCQF credit points)

HNC Arboriculture and Urban Forestry at SCQF level 7 consists of 10 mandatory Units (80 SCQF credit points) and 2 optional Units (16 SCQF credit points).