What is the meaning of HND and is it suitable for me?
Given the number of qualifications available, you may be wondering what the meaning of HND is and if it is the right course for you. HND, meaning Higher National Diploma is a type of higher education, created in the UK in 1920. In order to get a HND (otherwise known as a BTEC) you need to study with an awarding body that have an approved license from Pearson.
The HND sits beside the HNC, also known as the Higher National Certificate. This article is going to discuss exactly what a HND is, how it is delivered, and if it is the right course for you to take.
What’s the meaning of HNC and HND?
Firstly, it is important to note that the HNC and the HND differ in regard to the level awarded to each qualification. A HNC is awarded as a level 4 qualification. Alternatively, a HND is a level 5, meaning it is a little more complex. With this in mind, studying for a HND can take up to two years to complete with full-time study. Upon completion, you have a qualification equivalent to the first 2 years of a university degree.
If you are thinking of studying HNC and then a HND, we suggest going for straight for the HND. You don’t need to have completed a HNC prior to enrolling on to a HND. Additionally, you will cover the content of a Higher National Certificate in the first year of your Higher National Diploma. However, if you are unsure, studying your HNC can give you a great beginners insight into the subject you can easily build upon further down the line.
These higher national BTECs are not only recognised in the UK. Although that is where they were first created, there are students all over the world who accomplish these qualifications. Access to these qualifications is also made easier when they are available as online courses.
These qualifications have multiple similarities to foundation degrees which are combined academic and vocational qualifications. Firstly, they are studied over a similar time period. Next, you have the option to top up to full degree level should you wish. Finally, a HND qualification is level 5 ref, meaning they are an established and respected qualification of higher education. Making it easy to understand why HND’s have become so popular.
What Can You Do With an HND?
There are a number of different options you can choose to do after an HND.
On its own, an HND can help you progress into a professional career straight away. This is because they are usually delivered in specialised areas. Moreover, they provide you with the essential skills needed for a particular career route. They are recognised as a high standard diploma which prepares students for a fast progression into the industry with less training than some other academic qualifications.
On the other hand, some individuals continue their study into an additional vocational course. There are so many options that you could take, you may decide to take a course which is a higher level diploma.
In addition, you could decide to top your HND up to a degree, meaning that you could complete the course and find a place in a university for your final year. This is a very popular choice. 95% of universities will take on those with HNDs so it is important to research which one would be best for you and has a degree programme in the subject area. The Pearson website has an feature called the ‘degree finder‘, this can show you which universities will take on HND holders in particular subjects. It also shows the entry requirements for many universities, most of which are at least merit awards.
Alternatively, HNDs can be taken by those who are already professionals. They may be working in a field which they could decide to specialise in, or they may want to make a career change. Either way, these diplomas are often sought by mature students.
Benefits of an HND
HNDs have many benefits. Here are just a few.
Students have expressed how HNDs have not only increased their knowledge in particular areas, but also how they have gained enthusiasm, meaning that they are looking forward to professional working roles. As the nature of the courses is very hands on and practical they are able to have a realistic idea of what working in those industries would be like. Students are excited to begin working in the area they have studied hard for and have had a wealth of preparation. This makes for productive workers.
They Are in Line with Industry Standards
HNDs are developed to align with the standards expected for those working in the different industries.
The course contents is frequently updated to reflect increasing standards and the development of employees in business. This means that HNDs are desirable to many employers.
Employers do not want to employ those who took a qualification so long ago that their standards are outdated. There may be new techniques to do things and more operations. The development of the industries means that we have to keep up with changes.
You Do Not Have to Pay High University Fees
As HNDs are the equivalent of the first 2 years of university, you are getting a much cheaper deal. University fees are (as of 2020) around £9,250 per year. This is a huge amount of money and you could be saving by completing the HND before you progress into the final year.
Of course, HNDs do not need to be topped up at university and they are highly attractive to employers on their own. You would not necessarily have to pay anything more.
Studying a HND Means There Is No Rush
When you receive the diploma, if you wish to achieve a full degree by completing the final year of university, you do not have to do this straight afterwards. You could have a break and think about what you would like to do. Universities and online universities will usually be happy to accept those who completed their HNDs many years previously.
Without the added pressure you are able to see what career path suits you best before jumping head first into a year of high expenses.
Wider Entry Requirements
Another benefit of these courses is that you are able to take them without having the levels of education you need to start a university degree. Centres are usually flexible with the people they will select to start the HND course. Furthermore, this allows you to access the degree if you decide to top it up.
If you failed to get the grades you needed for entry into your chosen university, you could take a higher national and then apply to do your final year at that university if they accept top ups.
HNDs are cheaper, more flexible and shorter than degrees. When you commit to a HND you do not have to commit fully to pursuing your career in that area. With an HNC you would have even less pressure. A HNC could be useful for those who are unsure about whether they would want to work in a particular industry full time. They could simply spark your interest.
With degree courses at university you are dedicated to completing three years of intensive learning. They are highly expensive and once you have started it is hard to change your mind. Of course, if you do not like the degree subject you chose, there is often options to switch courses. However, you may have moved away from your family home and started renting a student apartment. This can cause problems if you decide you do not want to continue with it for 3 years.
A national higher on the other hand, will allow you to take your time and explore your options.
How Are HNDs Delivered and Assessed?
HNDs focus on practical learning. Essentially, learning by doing. You may have projects, practical exercises and academic learning.
They are assessed by observation, assignments and projects. They are usually less exam intensive than degrees at university with many having none at all. This means that for those who dislike exam assessments and prefer coursework or being assessed via physical work and assignments, HNDs would be highly suitable.
In order to achieve the certificate you must get 120 credits and to achieve the diploma you must get 240 credits. With each unit taken, you will receive a pass, merit or distinction.
These standards have to be met my all institutions which are licensed by Pearson. Therefore you can be reassured that wherever you take the course, it has set standards in place.
What Are the Entry Requirements for an HND?
To study an HND, Pearson restricts learner entry to learners aged 18 or over. Their recruitment policy sets out that HNDs and HNCs must be available for ‘everyone who is capable of reaching the required standards’. Learning centres will have to review the learners experience and qualifications. This should happen during consideration of whether they should be able to complete the diploma.
Pearson set out that entry into a course would likely include one of the following:
- A Level 3 qualification, which is the level below the HNC and HND.
- A GCE Advanced level.
- Access to Higher Education Certificate.
- Work experience.
The aim of the diploma is not to be strict when choosing applicants. As long as they appear to be able to be competent enough to complete the qualification, they should be considered. Those with relevant experience and qualifications will be easily chosen to start learning the course.
Now you know the meaning of HND, where can you study one?
Many colleges provide HND courses and some online colleges also offer them. However, only those who have a license from Pearson can do so. Pearson recognises that students learn in different ways, therefore they allow their courses to be taught via face to face classroom teaching, online or distance learning. However, if the courses are delivered in alternative ways to traditional classrooms, the centres must ensure that they allow students the appropriate access to all materials in order to meet the requirements for the course. This includes appropriate professionals to conduct the teaching.
Online learning is fantastic for those who want to be able to develop their skills and competencies without having to give up their life to full time learning. The HND courses that The College of Contract Management offer are part-time and delivered on weekends and evenings so that you can work full time and also take the course. This would be especially useful for those who are already professionals but would like to add to their knowledge and abilities.
The College of Contract Management offers HND online courses in the following subjects:
- Business Management and Operations
- Accounting and Finance
- Business Law
- Human Resource Management
The meaning of a HND
This article has discussed the meaning of an HND and how they can progress your career in different ways, either by topping them up to degrees or entering the workforce immediately. Furthermore, it has discussed the benefits of the qualification. The amount of benefits from taking this qualification makes it a popular choice for many. Next, it discussed how they are delivered and assessed and the amount of credits you need to obtain. Finally, it addressed the entry requirements and the sorts of centres you could study them at.
In short, they are great qualifications to obtain once you become 18 years of age and finish school, or you wish to add to your experiences and qualifications later on in life. Continual learning throughout adulthood is hugely beneficial and can help you make a career change.
Here at The College of Contract Management we are committed to helping you learn new skills and make great career choices. That is why we offer many online courses in construction, business and IT. We also provide HNDs because we recognise the numerous benefits they can have on many students lives.
If you want to know more about what we offer, do not hesitate to get in contract.