Higher Technical Qualifications

Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs) are quality-assured Level 4 and 5 qualifications that are available for several associate roles.

20 February 2024

What are Higher Technical Qualifications?

  • A HTQ is a quality-mark, indicating the qualification has been reviewed by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE).
  • Qualifications include foundation degrees, higher national certificates and higher national diplomas.
  • The above can still be studied without being an HTQ, but a HTQ has been checked for suitability by employers.
  • Most HTQs require one to two years of study, as either a full-time or part-time course, with most tuition costs of between £7000 and £9250 annually.  
  • For courses longer than a year students can cover payment through student loans. For courses of less than a year, an advanced learner loan can be secured by the student, more information on the Gov.UK website

How do HTQs benefit employers?

A HTQ offers a high-quality alternative to apprenticeships and degrees. Further benefits include:

  • HTQs are quality-checked and developed in collaboration with employers, so students develop suitable skills and knowledge for the workplace
  • providing an introduction to higher education. They could serve as a springboard to a level 6 qualification (undergraduate degree)
  • HTQs can be funded via student finance which reduces the potential costs to employers.

Are HTQs suitable for health and care?

HTQs are currently available for several different associate roles. Students can study a HTQ Level 5 foundation degree in health and social care (also known as nursing associate or nursing associate practice) for the next generation of nursing associates. A similar option exists for a HTQ Level 4 healthcare science associate, for those interested in starting a career in healthcare science

The HTQs on offer support a wide variety of different career pathways including a Level 4 mammography associate, as well as a Level 5 rehabilitation worker supporting those with visual impairments and a Level 5 health play specialist

Non-clinical learners may also benefit from a HTQ, with options such as foundation degrees in business and management or a HTQ certificate in engineering. 

Available HTQs will continue to grow with health and wellbeing leader, clinical data manager and health informatician all currently in development. IfATE have a regularly updated list of approved HTQs for employers to review. 

Frequently asked questions

  • Student finance is available to learners wishing to top up their HTQ at Level 4 or 5 to a full undergraduate degree. This means students do not need to make an upfront payment and the qualifications do not have a cost to employers. An employer can also choose to pay for the HTQ directly. 

  • Depending on the provider, some HTQs can be done through distance learning, and may include a placement element. Employers may receive requests for placements for students studying relevant courses, these can vary in length as there is no set minimum requirement for placement hours. 

  • Entry requirements vary, however at minimum the learner should have a Level 2 Qualification in Maths and English and a Level 3 qualification such as A-Levels, T Levels or an apprenticeship. 

  • No, education providers can choose to continue to offer qualifications that do not have the HTQ mark. However, this means it was not have been quality-checked by IfATE and may not meet relevant occupational standards. 

Further information 

Learners are able to use the UCAS search function access a list of HTQs, as they would for undergraduate degrees. 

The Gov.Uk website also provides further information on HTQs.