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HNDs and HNCs explained

Wondering how studying a HND or HNC course can get you the qualifications you need for your career? Read on to find out more.

Who are they for?

The Higher National Diploma (HND) and Higher National Certificate (HNC) courses are vocational studies designed to teach practical skills for specific areas of work. They are normally taken after A-levels.

Where are they taught?

Many colleges and further education institutions nationwide offer HND and HNC courses. Most of the teaching is done in the classroom, but more emphasis is placed on practical skills and group tasks than essay writing and exams. They are also assessed slightly differently; marked as ‘Pass’, ‘Merit’ or ‘Distinction’ rather than graded A-E. You will also undertake work placements in your area of study, so you’ll gain valuable experience ‘on the job’.

What can I study?

The exact programme will differ depending on where you choose to study, but some of the subject areas available include:

  • Agriculture
  • Business and management
  • Construction and engineering
  • Health and social care
  • Hospitality
  • Performing arts
  • Retail
  • Sport

How long does it take to study a HND or HNC?

A HND is studied over two years full-time or three years part-time.
A HNC is studied over one year full-time or two years part-time. You can often study a HND in one year if you have completed a relevant HNC course first.

Where can they lead?

A HND is considered the equivalent of two years of degree study, which means you can often enter on the final year of a related degree after completing a HND. Or you might want to put the specific skills and training you’ve received on your HND course into practice and get a job. Prospective employers will know that people with a HND qualification will have specific interests and abilities in the industry they’ve studied.

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