What is a Higher National Diploma?
A Higher National Diploma – commonly abbreviated to HND – is a higher education vocational qualification that is tailored to provide specialist learning at Level 4 or 5 to develop and further enhance work-related skills and abilities in a particular field.
Top 6 benefits of completing a HND
- Improving career prospects: A Higher National Diploma is a Level-5 qualification that is equivalent to the first 2 years of a three year degree. Employers understand that HNDs are focused on ‘learning by doing’ and that this hands-on approach is an excellent way to develop specific practical/technical skills that are highly-sought after in employees. Unlike many other degree programmes, these courses are vocational and therefore can lead straight to a job without the need to first complete a degree course.
- Stepping stone: It is sometimes the case that an individual may not meet the entry requirements for their chosen degree course and consequently can use the HND as a stepping stone. A-Levels, GNVQs, NVQs, Access Certificate or other level 3 qualifications are all accepted for entry into Higher Diploma. Having completed a Level-5 qualification provides you then with the opportunity to enter into the final year of an undergraduate degree course.
- Safety net: Not all students are willing or able to complete a full-time three or four year’s degree course in a specific field. Failing or skipping a year of a degree course is not an option as no degree certificate can be offered unless the full three years are completed and passed. A Higher National Diploma, on the other hand, is only 2 years in duration and you will be issued with a qualification after this period.
- Flexible: A HND qualification provides you with a lot of flexibility. Once the qualification has been obtained you can then re-evaluate all your options of whether you should continue with your studies, go straight into work or take a gap year.
- Top up: Having successfully completed your Diploma enables and you to proceed to upgrade or “top up” your HND if you wish to do so. You can usually go straight into the final-year of an undergraduate degree course and work towards upgrading your HND qualification into a full BA/BSc degree. The majority of HND diplomates follow this route.
- Fees: The recent astronomical rise in university tuition fees to £9,000 a year has forced many College graduates to simply give up on their dreams of getting a degree. The tuition fee for a HND, on the other hand, is approximately £5,500. This provides a better opportunity for students to work towards their degrees and gain vital skills and abilities in the process.
Doing a Higher National Diploma has many benefits and advantages.
It provides flexibility, improves career prospects and can act as a safety net and stepping stone into higher education. It opens doors to gain hands-on experience in your chosen field without having to commit 3 or 4 years to an undergraduate degree.
HNDs are ideal for students who wish to gain practical skills, knowledge and abilities and then either build upon that in higher education or go straight into employment.