Understanding qualification levels and career paths

Read about different qualification levels and where they could take you.

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 Education

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.

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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.

Qualifications Framework

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