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Understanding HNC and HND


You might have heard of Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Higher National Diploma (HND) but might not have fully understood the purpose and use of these qualifications. This blog will aim to thoroughly address the commonly asked questions about HNC and HND qualifications.

Who can offer HNC/HND?

Let’s start off with the creator of these qualifications. Pearson designs all the Higher National qualifications, and accredits centres to offer these qualifications all over the world. These centres could be schools, colleges, universities or even employers that have met the due diligence expectations of Pearson. These centres could be offering the Higher National qualifications through their campuses, online or a mixture of both. One point you might want to take away is that only Pearson approved providers are able to offer Higher National Qualifications. Additionally, other awarding organisations might offer similar qualifications with similar content, but the similar qualifications won’t carry the advantages for which you might have chosen the Higher National course.

Why choose an HNC/HND?

The question then arises why a learner might be interested in Pearson’s HNC and HND qualifications. I will list the reasons below:

1. Pearson HNCs and HNDs are globally recognised qualifications both for academic and career progression.

2. Dozens, if not hundreds, of universities all over the world would accept Pearson HNCs and HNDs for direct entry into the second and third year of undergraduate courses.

3. Learners have a choice of over 40 subjects when choosing the right HNC/HND course. The most famous HNC/HND subject is Business that provides the following pathways:

  • Accounting and Finance
  • Business Management
  • Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Marketing
  • Operations Management
  • Law

4. Pearson HNC/HND are work based qualifications so give the learners a very practical view of how the acquired knowledge could be applied in a practical work environment.

5. HNC/HND provides a very economic route to achieving an Undergraduate Degree, such as a BBA, from a UK university. As opposed to spending at least £9,000 per annum at a UK university, HNC/HND fees start from £3,000 per annum. This ensures a total saving of at least £12,000 for a single undergraduate course.

6. HNC/HND might be the right choice for you if you have missed out on the application for a UK undergraduate course at a University. This could be because you missed the deadline, were short of UCAS points or any other reason. You can start an HNC/HND course at any point of time during the year, as opposed to a strict entry point which is usually September for most UK Universities.

Difference between HNC and HND

Higher National Certificate (HNC) is equivalent to Level 4 according to the UK’s Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF). The easier way to understand this is that HNC is equivalent to the first year of an undergraduate degree.

For example, if you complete HNC in Business, you have acquired the knowledge and skills that a student of a UK university would have who has completed first year of a Bachelors in Business Administration (BBA). This is the reason why so many universities all over the world would allow holders of HNC direct entry into second year of relevant the undergraduate program. This is great time and cost saving for the learner.

Once the learner has completed the HNC, they have the choice to proceed to the second year to gain the HND qualification. Higher National Diploma (HND) is equivalent to Level 5 according to the UK’s Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF). The easier way to understand this is that HND is equivalent to the second year of an undergraduate degree.

Following the example we just discussed, HND holder would get direct entry into the third and final year of the relevant undergraduate degree. This ensures further time and cost saving. Of course, other advantages of holding a practical work-based qualification would also apply.

How are HNC/HND qualifications assessed?

For each unit (might be called module or subject) within your chosen HNC/HND program, there are different learning outcomes. Learning outcomes are the ultimate target that you must achieve as a learner. The approved centres would devise assessment plans to make sure that you have met these learning outcomes.

The responsibility to assess the learner rests with the centres offering these qualifications, in line of-course with Pearson’s guidelines on the same. The assessment is usually done by centres through assignments, projects and presentations. The submitted work is then graded as either a Pass, Merit or Distinction.

One big reason why HNC/HND stand out

Even though it might be clearer by now from reading the above, I thought I should further stress on it. A fresh graduate with an HND in their chosen subject is much more likely to be ready for work in the respective industry as compared to a fresh University graduate. The reason of course is how the HND learners are made to carry out practical research into real organisations and come up with ways to resolve their issues.

This is the reason that a lot of learners start the HNC/HND courses to excel in their career or to eye a promotion at work, without having any intentions to gain a top-up degree on completion of the HNC/HND program. This, considering the lower tuition fee too, is a very big plus and has made Pearson’s higher national qualifications impossible to beat.

Still have a question?

At Britannia School of Leadership and Management, it is our aim and pleasure to make sure that our learners fully understand our offering so that they can make informed decisions. If you still have a question, please do get in touch with a member of our team by submitting this form. Or simply call us on +44 7984 128140.

1 Response
  1. Milton Frank

    Appreciating the time and energy you put into your site and detailed information you offered in this article.

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