You can gain a qualification in college before you find your first job in social services or while you work. There are full time, part time and distance learning options. There are also professional development qualifications for those in work.

The key qualifications are listed below. If you don’t meet the entry requirements for courses which start at SCQF level 6 you should speak to the college so they can help you start your learning at the right level. There are courses at SCQF levels 4, 5 and 6 which can provide a pathway to the qualifications listed.

  • NC Early Education and Childcare at SCQF level 6.
  • HNC Childhood Practice at SCQF level 7.
  • HNC Social Services at SCQF level 7.
  • For PDA Childhood Practice at SCQF level 9 see Studying for a childhood practice award.

Here is a list of colleges offering social service qualifications. If you want to use your qualification for registration make sure it’s one we accept by checking our qualifications search.

The SQA Care website also provides a useful overview of social service qualifications.

Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire

North East Scotland College


Ayrshire College


Borders College

Forth Valley

Forth Valley College

Dumfries and Galloway

Dumfries & Galloway College

Edinburgh and Lothians

Edinburgh College


Fife College


Glasgow Kelvin College

Glasgow Clyde College

City of Glasgow College

Highlands and Islands

Argyll College UHI

Inverness College UHI

Lews Castle College UHI

Moray College UHI

North Highland College UHI

Orkney College UHI

Perth College UHI

West Highland College UHI

Shetland College UHI


South Lanarkshire College

New College Lanarkshire


Dundee and Angus College


West College Scotland

West Lothian

West Lothian College