HND Complementary Therapies

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

The HND in Complementary Therapies (SCQF level 8) develops knowledge and skills in professional issues together with massage, aromatherapy and reflexology. It provides the underpinning knowledge and skills to work as a complementary therapist in the public, private and charitable sectors.

This qualification is available through colleges, training providers and some universities. Typically, an HND takes two years 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 HND in Complementary Therapies (SCQF level 8) builds on the knowledge and skills of the HNC.

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 HND Complementary Therapies is suitable for a wide range of learners 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
  • any two relevant National Courses at SCQF level 6 (Higher) together with three relevant subjects at National 5.
  • an SVQ at SCQF levels 5 ¿ 7 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 HND Complementary Therapies could progress to a BSc(Hons) Integrative Health Care.

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 unit specification gives detailed information on the evidence requirements and approaches to assessment for the unit.

Assessment support packs are available for this qualification.

HND Complementary Therapies

Group award code: GM9E 16 (240 SCQF credit points)

HND Complementary Therapies at SCQF level 8 consists of 13 mandatory units (144 SCQF credit points) and a number of optional units (96 SCQF points).

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