HNC Soft Tissue Therapy

Higher National qualifications provide practical skills and theoretical knowledge that meet the needs of employers. The HNC in Soft Tissue Therapy (SCQF level 7) develops knowledge and skills in areas such as clinical massage and sports injuries. This qualification is available through colleges.

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 Soft Tissue Therapy 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:

  • Highers: a minimum of two in academic subjects, preferably subject relevance
  • NQ Units/SGAs: at SCQF level 6 in appropriate subject area (eg fitness/health)
  • GCE 'A' Levels in appropriate subjects
  • SVQ/NVQ at Level 3 in appropriate subjects
  • Occupationally relevant skills and 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 Soft Tissue Therapy can progress to the HND in Sports Therapy.

HNCs and HNDs can provide progression to degree-level study. For example, the HNC in Soft Tissue Therapy allows direct entry into the second year of BSc Sport and Exercise Science.

The HNC Soft Tissue Therapy has been endorsed by the Sports Massage Association (SMA): The Association for Soft Tissue Therapists

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.

Ongoing course assessment will apply. Assessment/e-assessment support packs are available for this qualification.

HNC Soft Tissue Therapy at SCQF Level 7

Group Award code: GH18 15 (96 SCQF credit points)

HNC Soft Tissue Therapy at SCQF level 7 consists of 10 mandatory Units (96 SCQF credit points).

For further details of the units and structure of this qualification please see the Group Award Specification (643 KB) document.

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