What is a Higher National Certificate (HNC)?

In General by Think Student EditorLeave a Comment

There are so many different types of qualifications flying around these days! This can be seen as a good thing, as it allows more students to have access to higher education, as they are exposed to different routes. However, all of these different types of qualifications can be quite confusing! Therefore, it can be useful to understand what all of the terms actually mean, such as a HNC, especially due to the fact that they could benefit you directly!

The term ‘HNC’ stands for Higher National Certificate. It is a Level 4 qualification and will take one year to complete full time. It is known as being a very practical based qualification, providing students with the skills they will need in the workplace.

If you want to discover more about what HNCs actually are, what they involve and whether you should complete one, check out the rest of this article!

What is a HNC qualification equivalent to?

A Higher National Certificate is known as a Level 4 qualification. This means that it is equivalent to other Level 4 qualifications, such as a higher apprenticeship. You can discover what the different education levels are and what other qualifications HNCs are equivalent to if you check out this page from the government website.

Therefore, a HNC is a type of higher education. You can discover in more detail what this term means if you check out this article from Think Student.

You could then use this qualification to get into other higher-level qualifications. For example, completing a HNC could be a good route to get into a bachelor’s degree, as a bachelor’s degree is known as a Level 6 qualification.

How long does a HNC qualification take to complete?

If you decide to go into education full time, a HNC qualification will only take one year to complete. This makes sense, as a HNC qualification is equivalent to the first year of a bachelor’s degree, which also takes a year to complete.

However, if you decide to go down the part time route, it can take anywhere between two to four years to complete. You can discover more about the time frames and learn more about HNCs in general if you check out this article from University Compare.

What is involved in a HNC qualification?

A HNC is known as a practical based qualification. This means that it helps to prepare students for the workplace!

Students will gain the skills and knowledge they need to be able to thrive during employment. You will learn the modern techniques and methods used in the different types of industries today, making you highly employable!

Due to this qualification being practical based, it is assessed in a range of different methods. For example, students may have to complete projects.

They will also have assignments to complete and practical tasks to participate in. All of these will be graded as a pass, merit or distinction. You can discover more about HNCs in general and why they are classed as a practical based qualification if you check out this article from the West London Institute of Technology website.

What are the entry requirements for HNC qualifications?

You do need to have some previous qualifications when applying for a HNC course, as it is a type of higher education. However, the entry requirements really aren’t that high!

To get accepted onto a HNC course, you will most likely need at least one A-Level or an equivalent qualification. In Scotland, you would need to have achieved two passes at a higher level to be accepted onto a HNC course.

However, different HNC courses offered by different institutions will require different entry requirements. Therefore, it is up to you to research what qualifications you will actually need. Check out this article from University Compare if you want to find out more.

How much does a HNC qualification cost?

How much a HNC qualification costs depends on the course you do and what institution you complete the HNC at. However, in general, HNCs cost between £4,000 and £10,000!

Therefore, when trying to discover how much your HNC course will cost, it would be useful for you to research your individual choices. You can discover more about the price if you check out this article from Prospects.

Regardless of how much it costs, you will still be eligible to apply for a student loan when completing a HNC! If you want to apply for a student loan from Student Finance England, check out this page from the government website. You can also learn about the student finance deadlines in this Think Student article.

What are the different types of HNC qualifications?

There are so many different types of HNC qualifications you can do, allowing different doors for all sorts of industries to be opened up to you! Some popular HNC courses include accounting, engineering and business management.

However, there are also completely different types of HNC qualifications offered too, such as childcare and counselling. You can find a more comprehensive list of the different types of HNC courses there are and more general information about them if you check out this article from What Uni.

All of these courses are similar in the sense that they are practical based. Therefore, if you complete a HNC, you will most likely be really valued by employers!

What are the next steps after a HNC qualification?

After a HNC qualification, you can go straight into employment if you want to! After all, the practical skills you would have learnt would be highly valued by employers.

Consequently, you will probably be employed quickly when you apply for jobs related to the HNC you completed. However, you could also use your HNC qualification to go into even higher education.

A HNC qualification is equivalent to the first year of a bachelor’s degree at university. Therefore, after you have completed an HNC, you could start university at the second year of a bachelor’s degree.

This is a fantastic alternative route to university if you didn’t do very well in your A-Levels or equivalent qualifications! You can find out more in this article from University Compare.

You could also use your HNC to go on to complete an HND. This is slightly different to a HNC because it takes longer and is one level higher than an HNC. You can learn more about HNDs if you check out this article from Think Student.

What jobs can you get with a HNC qualification?

Due to the range of different HNC courses there are out there, there are a variety of jobs which you could do after you gain a HNC qualification, depending on the course you choose. You could embark in a career anywhere from business management to performing arts and hospitality.

This page from Indeed gives some examples of what jobs you could do with a HNC qualification. This includes becoming a hotel manager or a fashion designer. However, this only touches the surface.

There are so many other different types of jobs you can do with a HNC, depending on which HNC course you complete.

Should you complete a HNC qualification?

Whether you should complete a HNC qualification or not is completely up to you! However, it is true that there are many benefits to completing this qualification.

After all, the practical skills and knowledge you will gain from a HNC will help you stand out to employers. If you want to go into a career which focuses more on practical skills, rather than academic, a HNC may also be the way to go!

For example, if you want to have a career in construction, a HNC will most likely be more valued than other academic qualifications, as you would have learned the hands-on skills needed for the career.

A HNC qualification is a useful route to take if you didn’t end up doing very well in your A-Levels or equivalent qualifications, as the entry requirements are pretty low.

How do you apply for a HNC course?

The application process is pretty easy! All you have to do is contact the institution which you wish to attend. You will then have to complete an application form, filling out personal details and previous qualifications.

You may have to even write a personal statement. Some courses may require you to attend an interview. You can find out more about the application process if you check out this article from Prospects.

Is a HNC different to a Certificate of Higher Education?

A HNC qualification and Certificate of Higher Education definitely sound pretty similar! They also have many similarities, such as both being equivalent to the first year of a bachelor’s degree and both taking a year to complete full time.

However, there are some major key differences between them! For example, a HNC qualification is practical based, whereas a Certificate of Higher Education is much more academic. You can find out more about the differences between a HNC and Certificate of Higher Education if you check out this article from Think Student.

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