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Higher Certificate

What is a Higher National Certificate or Diploma?

Higher National Certificates (HNCs) and Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) are work-based qualifications that will give your son or daughter the knowledge, but more importantly the skills they need to do a particular job.

Because of this, employers value them and they count towards membership of professional bodies and other employer organisations.

Both courses are undergraduate qualifications (like a degree) but they take less time to complete.

A full-time HNC takes one year to complete, or two years part-time. Many HNC courses cover the same subjects as a HND, but a HNC is one level below a HND (it’s generally equivalent to the first year at university).

Who can study for one?

To study for a HNC or a HND, your son or daughter are likely to need some previous qualifications. A HND course will normally need one A-level or an equivalent.

Where can you study for one?

HNCs and HNDs can be studies at over 400 universities and colleges across the UK.

Are there any costs?

To study for a HNC or HND, there is a fee. This varies depending on where your son or daughter would like to study, but is likely to be around £6000 per year.

Enrolling on a HND courses means that your son or daughter could apply for financial support from Student Finance England (SFE). Depending on income and eligibility, this could mean that they are entitled to a course fee loan and/or support with the cost of living (maintenance).

If eligible there is no upfront course fees. Your son or daughter would only have to start paying back the loan once they were earning more than £21,000 a year.

How long does it take?

A full-time HND takes two years to complete, or three to four years if your son or daughter chooses to study part-time. Generally an HND is the equivalent to two years at university.

HNCs take one year to complete full time and two years part time.

Distance learning is also an option, although this is likely to take longer.

How do I apply?

To apply for a HNC or a HND your son or daughter will need to get in touch with the college or university that is providing the course.

Where to next?

Because HNCs and HNDs give people skills for a particular field of work, they can lead straight to a career.

HNCs can also lead to the second year of a degree, while HNDs can allow entry into the second or third year.

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