If you want to havea good career it seems like you must go to university or some other higher education institution.
However, if you are a practical, hands-on type of person, the thought of further study after high school may not be that appealing. Perhaps you can’t see yourself seeing out a further three years of study in a higher academic lecture theatre setting to gain a degree.
Then again, trying to enter the workforce straight from school can be challenging and the scope of available jobs might not have any more appeal than the further study.
Those who identify with the Realistic personality type in the John Holland RIASEC assessment tool often fit into this profile. They don’t excel in the classroom with textbooks, but still need a qualification to get into their preferred job.
Fortunately, there is an alternative that does still require two years of further study, but the focus is on less time in a lecture theatre or classroom, and more time doing the practical, hands-on type of work experience that does appeal.
What is a Higher National Diploma (HND)?
This is a qualification that is best suited to those who prefer to learn by doing rather than learn by reading something in a textbook. It usually requires only two years of full-time study (four years for part-time study) to qualify for your career as opposed to the three to four years required of a university undergraduate degree.
The HND courses are structured around gaining and developing hands-on skills are only available for specific careers.
The qualification is highly valued by employers and can help you get jobs in civil engineering, graphic design, business and finance, and management roles.
What level is an HND?
At Level 5 of the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF), an HND is academically equivalent to completing the first two years of an undergraduate degree.
Assessment is delivered through a series of projects, assignments, and practical tasks during your course.
Choosing an HND course
You can study an HND course with a further education (FE) college or online course provider providing you have completed your A-levels at school or at a sixth form college.
Popular HND subject fields include:
- electronic and electrical engineering
- computer science
- business studies
- animal science
You can check out suitable courses at your local college.
You will need to have passed at least one A-level (or equivalent), or a BTEC (Business and Technology Education Council) diploma may also be enough to meet entry requirements. But check with your chosen course provider for their specific requirements.
Can you still get a Degree with an HND?
Yes. In most cases, after you complete the HND, you can enroll in the final year of the Bachelor’s degree of the same or similar course
With the degree, in most cases you will have a greater range of job opportunities.
If you want a degree in an unrelated subject, you will most likely have to study all three years of the degree.
What about Funding?
HNDs are eligible for funding but it is restricted to your first qualification. Funding would not apply to any further study. You could ask your institution about the possibility of any with additional bursaries, scholarships, and grants.