HNC/HND Aircraft Engineering

HNC/HND Aircraft Engineering

Higher National qualifications provide practical skills and theoretical knowledge that meet the needs of employers. The HNC and HND Aircraft Engineering allow learners to develop knowledge, understanding and practical skills to embark on, or further, a career in the modern aircraft engineering business, whether in aircraft design and manufacturing, aircraft operations, or maintenance and repair.

The qualifications build on general aspects of aircraft engineering, providing knowledge, skills and understanding of the main specialist disciplines (engineering mathematics, aircraft structures, materials, aircraft propulsion, aircraft engineering, electrical and avionics, aerodynamics and flight mechanics) as well as their integration into aircraft systems. The HND also covers Human Factors for Aircraft Engineering.

The aircraft engineering qualifications are available through colleges. Typically, an HNC takes one year to complete and an HND takes two years.

Alternative assessment guidance 2021-22

For guidance on which approach suits your current circumstances please use the HNVQ assessment decision tree.

Information on critical competences for holistic assessment: HNC Aircraft Engineering (115 KB)

Information on critical competences for holistic assessment: HND Aircraft Engineering (125 KB)

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.

There is a wide choice of optional Units which will enable centres to offer courses tailored to meet local needs. The qualification structures provide a balanced mix of aircraft engineering design and maintenance-related topics which will best serve learners in the early years (SCQF levels 7 and 8) of their aircraft engineering education. In doing so, these qualifications provide the foundation for progression into different sectors of the industry as well as progression to degree-level studies.

Who does this qualification suit

The HNC and HND in Aircraft Engineering are suitable for a wide range of candidates including:

  • school leavers
  • students progressing from relevant further education qualifications
  • 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. However, learners would benefit from having attained the skills, knowledge and understanding required by one or more of the following or equivalent qualifications and/or experience:

  • National 5 English or equivalent (SCQF level 5)

Plus one of the following:

  • At least one Higher (SCQF level 6) or equivalent in Mathematics, Physics or Engineering Science
  • SQA National Certificate (NC) in an engineering discipline at SCQF level 6
  • SVQ Level 3 in Aeronautical Engineering (SCQF level 6)
  •  EASA Part 66 Category A for aircraft certifying mechanics (SCQF level 6)

Different cobinations 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 Aircraft Engineering can progress to the HND Aircraft Engineering.

The HND Aircraft Engineering can provide progression to degrees in Aircraft and Aeronautical Engineering.


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.

Assessment support packs are available for the mandatory Units within the HNC and HND.

Where can you take this course?

Qualification Structure

HNC Aircraft Engineering

Group Award code: GK7915 (96 SCQF credit points)

HNC Aircraft Engineering at SCQF level 7 consists of 7 mandatory Units (56 SCQF credit points) and 5 optional SQA credits (40 SCQF credit points).

HND Aircraft Engineering

Group Award code: GK7D16 (240 SCQF credit points)

HND Aircraft Engineering at SCQF level 8 consists of 11 mandatory Units (96 SCQF credit points) and a number of optional Units (144 SCQF points).

Group Award Specification