HNC Career Information, Advice and Guidance Practice

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

The HNC in Career Information, Advice and Guidance (CIAG) Practice (SCQF level 7) develops knowledge and skills in areas such as the principles of CIAG, customer engagement, interviewing skills and group work.

This qualification will be available through colleges and training providers. Typically, an HNC takes one year to complete and an HND takes two years.

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.

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).

Who does this qualification suit

The HNC 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


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 together with three Standard Grade/National 4/National 5  passes at 3 or above
  • 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.


Upon completion of the HNC, candidates may wish to progress to qualifications at SCQF level 8 or 9, eg in the broader guidance sector SVQ in Advice and Guidance Level 4 or specialised qualifications — PDA in Inclusiveness: Promoting Equality and Diversity in the Learning Environment.


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.

How to assess

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.

Where can you take this course?

Qualification Structure

HNC in Career Information, Advice and Guidance Practice

Group Award code: GJ4E 15 (96 SCQF credit points)

HNC in Career Information, Advice and Guidance at SCQF level 7 consists of seven mandatory Units (56 SCQF credit points) and five optional Units (40 SCQF credit points).

Group Award Specification

Internal Assessment Reports