Understanding

qualification

levels

When you browse our courses you’ll see that many have a qualification in the course title, eg Higher National Certificate (HNC), followed by a level from the The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF), eg Level 4.

The SCQF framework helps make the relationships between qualifications and the level reached clearer for employers, universities and colleges.

  • National Certificate

    A National Certificate (NC) is sometimes suitable for students with no formal qualifications. They offer practical help in developing skills for work and can, in some instances, provide access to higher level programmes such as an HNC or HND.

    NC, NA or NQ programmes are a combination of academic theory and practical work based skills.

  • Higher National Certificate

    A Higher National Certificate (HNC) takes one year to complete. Successful completion of an HNC allow applicants to apply to a HND programme (in the same subject). It may also be possible to progress to Year 1 or Year 2 of a university degree programme with suitable grades from an HNC.

  • Higher National Diploma

    A Higher National Diploma (HND) takes one year to complete and is only undertaken after successful completion of the relevant HNC. It is a valuable higher level qualification which can lead to employment. Alternatively graduates on some courses can transfer to the second or third year of a university degree course.

  • Degree

    A degree is an academic award given upon completion of a course of study lasting three or more years. A Bachelor’s Degree often takes four years, but candidates completing an HND can offer be transferred onto second or third year of a degree course. Earning a degree can open up more potential doors to a student than a certificate or diploma alone as many employers require an applicant to have earned at least a bachelor’s degree, with several requiring higher than this.

Scottish Qualifications Framework

The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) has been designed to enable learners, employers, parents and those involved in providing education to understand how Scottish qualifications relate to each other.

When you browse our courses you’ll see that many have a qualification in the course title, eg Higher National Certificate (HNC), followed by a level from the The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF).

Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework table