Career tools

Higher National Certificates and Diplomas

What is it?

Higher National Certificates (HNCs) and Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) are work-related qualifications which are available in a wide range of subjects. While degrees tend to focus on gaining knowledge, HNCs and HNDs are designed to give you the skills to put that knowledge to effective use in a particular job. They are highly valued by employers and can also count towards membership of professional bodies and other employer organisations.

HNCs are at level 4 and provide a solid route directly into a HNDs at level 5.

Where could I study?

HNCs and HNDs are provided by over 400 universities and further education colleges. HNCs are at level 4 and HNDs are at level 5.

How long will it take me?

HNCs can take one year to complete full time and two years part time. They can also be studied through distance learning - which may take longer. HNDs require two years full time study. They can also be taken part time - which will take longer.

Options after the course?

Because HNCs and HNDs are designed to give you the skills for a particular field of work, they can lead straight to a career. You can use the qualifications to progress within your current career, for example as a stepping stone to gaining professional status. You might chose to start a HNC and then build on this by undertaking a HND. You can also use your HND to gain entry onto the third or second year of a related degree course.