Many students in the UK face a dilemma whether they want to pursue an HND or a university degree. While both options might sound virtually the same, much thought should be placed before making a decision. You should understand fully, what you are looking for and whether Higher National Diploma is equivalent to a degree.
What does an HND mean?
HND stands for Higher National Diploma. It is a short term course provided by higher education colleges in the UK. A full time Higher National Diploma might take 2 years to finish but four years if pursued part-time. Pearson’s describes HND as, “A semi vocational / semiprofessional qualification, usually studied full-time, in two to three academic years’ time”
HND or Degree?
HNDs are usually pursued on a short term, part time basis and exist as a highly reputed standalone qualification. They are non-academic in nature and vocationally focused and therefore hold a lot of value as a diploma. They are designed to help students prepare for a specialized career such as Engineering, Graphic Design, and Accounting etc., which is sometimes done through assigning many HND assignments to students.
Degrees on the other hand are long term and offer little practical training. Degree courses are pretty much theoretical in their nature.
What do employers prefer?
Employers love hiring HNDs, not because they trump conventional degrees but since the HNDs are laden with a lot of solid practical training, therefore the Higher National Diploma graduates come with experience.
So what should students do?
The conversion from HND to a degree is a common route for which most students opt for. In a general sense, an Higher National Diploma is equivalent to two years spent at the university. A degree attained this way, is the same if not worth more than any other way.
So, in case you have made up your mind about the career you want to choose but aren’t sure if further studies are for you because you don’t want to take up a long term commitment, or if you don’t meet the entry criteria of a degree rewarding institution, HND is the way to go!