Is Training For Credit Bearing Better Than Not-for-Credit?

The Differences Between Training for Credit Bearing and Non-credit Bearing. Which training is trustworthy or market-related? Is non-credit bearing worth it?

The Differences Between Training for Credit Bearing and Non-credit Bearing Programmes in South Africa.

For Credit and Credibility: The “For Credit Bearing” Meaning

Does training for credit (Accredited) bearing courses and Non-Credit Programmes have the same market value?

This article lists the factors determining trustworthiness and market relevance from training provider and learner perspectives.

It also offers insights on the impacts and worth of non-credit-bearing programs.

for credit bearing courses

Is Offering For Credit Bearing Training Worthwhile?

Many potential skills development providers want to know if becoming accredited to offer credit-bearing training is worth the effort.

When learning programmes are for credits, they are generally considered more trustworthy.

Therefore your potential market reach should increase.

That’s because the market trusts that the organisation and its’ programmes have passed recognised regulatory checks.

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Bogus Colleges Award Bogus Credits

However, bogus operators threaten the safety of our education and training market when they claim to be accredited but are not.

For example, the Christian education and training sector is loaded with bogus operators.

If you complete a programme that is not registered on the South African National Qualifications Framework (SANQ) then you don’t have any credits.

This means no other institution will recognise the certificates you believe you earned.

Which programmes are the Best? For Credit or Not for Credit?

Both credit-bearing and not-for-credit programmes can be market-related.

But the market wants to know if qualifications are relevant and trustworthy.

We typically do this by distinguishing between accredited and non-credit learning.

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Is Credit Bearing Training Best?

Credit-bearing training provides recognition of learning achievements. This improves resumes and career prospects.

All qualifications and short courses registered on the National Qualifications Framework are associated with credits.

Credit-bearing training implies that structured learning and institutional accountability systems are in place.

Credits Can Be Transferred: The Articulation Policy

When training is credit-bearing, credits can be transferred to other courses and institutions.

Our government has improved how learners can be credited and apply for credit transfers between institutions.

The Articulation Policy makes it compulsory for education and training providers to develop processes that allow learners to transfer between them.

This facilitates further education because it creates a continuous pathway for lifelong learning and skill development.

The Meaning of Training for Credit Bearing: NQF Aligned Qualifications

When a training program is credit-bearing, it means learners earn credits registered on the National Qualifications Framework.

Credits help define the time and volume of work a learner should complete.

Training for Credit-Bearing Courses and Notional Time

Credits and notional time are connected in our educational system.

Credits help to quantify the amount of work a student has completed or is expected to complete to earn a qualification.

Notional time refers to the estimated amount of time a typical student needs to spend engaging with a course to meet its learning outcomes fully.

This includes attending lectures, participating in discussions, completing assignments, studying, and preparing for assessment.

Let’s say you’re enrolled in a course worth 3 credits.

In South Africa, 1 credit represents 10 notional hours.

Meaning you’re expected to dedicate approximately 30 hours to attending classes, studying, completing assignments, and preparing for assessment over the duration of the course.

Notional time helps planning and scheduling by providing an estimate of the workload associated with each course.

It also assists educators in designing courses that align with expected learning outcomes and ensuring that students have sufficient time to master the material.

Learning For Credits: Credit-Bearing Advantages


Credits represent the value assigned to a particular course or module based on the workload, including lectures, seminars, labs, work-integrated learning, assignments, and exams.

So credits measure the amount of time and effort required to complete a course satisfactorily.

Credit-Bearing Practical Usage:

For example, an introductory course might be worth 3 credits, while more intensive courses could be worth 4 or 5 credits.

These credits serve as a unit of measurement for tracking progress.

Credit-Bearing Significance:

Credits determine the number of courses a student must successfully complete to qualify.

Additionally, credits facilitate the transfer of courses between institutions, allowing students to continue their education elsewhere without starting from scratch.

Skills Programmes and Short Courses for Credit

New Credit-Bearing NQF Qualifications and Skills Programmes

We have compiled amazing lists of new occupational qualifications from the QCTO.

We love them because learners can obtain an occupational certificate for 30 credit or 120 credit courses.

We believe that in this new QCTO architecture, short courses have more status.

Check out these examples for credit-bearing courses and qualifications:

Lists of Providers that offer Credit-Bearing Skills Programmes

Training providers are required to register with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Training providers must also be accredited to offer registered qualifications and skills programmes by the relevant Quality Councils (QCs).

The three QCs are the:

  • Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training (Umalusi) for general and further education and training qualifications
  • Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) for work-based qualifications
  • Council on Higher Education (CHE) for higher education qualifications

For a list of providers accredited to offer qualifications and skills programmes, check on the relevant QC website:

Credibility Through Alignment to Standards:

  1. Pitching to the Market:
    • when programs are aligned with credit-bearing quality standards they enjoy easier market acceptance. Especially in sectors where innovation and rapid training updates are common, such as the IT sector.
  2. Unique Models and Accreditation:
    • Even in areas like change management, uniqueness doesn’t require compromise. Also, accreditation doesn’t mean diluting content; instead, it ensures alignment with National Qualifications Framework (NQF) standards while retaining uniqueness.
  3. Adaptability and Market Relevance:
    • Many qualifications become outdated within three years. Therefore continual evolution is key to maintaining market relevance in scarce and critical sectors.
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The Characteristics of Non-Credit Training:

  • There is an emphasis on learning needs and problem-solving
  • Formative assessment tools but no summative process unless forms of certification are available in the private sector
  • They are often endorsed by international/industry-based organizing bodies (who also provide third-party certification processes)
  • Often the training targets scarce or critical skills
  • Not-for-credit training is often a quick response to critical market needs.

Credit Bearing Secures Market Trust

Building Market Trust: Leverage Credit-Bearing Programs

Understanding how to secure market trust through credit-bearing programs is essential:

The Value of Training Credibility

  1. Credit-bearing Implies Industry-Relevant and Recognised Qualifications:
    • Credit-bearing programs are endorsed by Quality Councils, and therefore resonate with the official qualifications framework. It is also easier for the general public to associate credit-bearing training with market value.
  2. Acknowledging Non-Credit Bearing Credibility:
    • Acknowledging that non-credit-bearing programs, although not credit-based, often align with reputable industry standards, ensuring credibility and trustworthiness.

Accredited and Non-Credit Bearing Learning Programs

Not for credit training is sometimes required in fields where innovation is rapid and there isn’t time for education and training to get ahead of the curve.

Instead, credit-bearing training typically occurs after sufficient skills development providers are under pressure from the industry to respond to the need.

Credit Bearing Training vs Not-for-Credit

Both accredited and non-credit-bearing learning paths have their advantages.

However, recognizing the unique features and contexts in which each excels is essential.

This then helps you make informed decisions that align with personal or organizational educational goals.

How can I verify the number of credits I have?

Credits obtained for qualifications or part-qualifications are confirmed on the transcript issued by accredited institutions or training providers.

You can request this information from the training provider or institution.

Understanding Credit vs. Non-Credit Training

  1. What is Credit-Bearing Training?
    • Credit-bearing training earns academic credits towards a qualification.
  2. How does Non-Credit Training differ?
    • Non-credit training doesn’t contribute to academic credit but focuses on skill-building.
  3. Are Credit-Bearing Courses more valuable?
    • Not necessarily. It depends on your goals; academic institutions still favour credit-bearing courses.
  4. Can Non-Credit Training enhance my skills?
    • Yes because non-credit training is designed for practical skill development.
  5. Do employers value Credit or Non-Credit Training more?
    • Both can be valuable but employers often prioritize relevant skills over academic credits.
  6. Which is more flexible, Credit, or Non-Credit Training?
    • Non-credit training tends to offer more flexibility as it’s often shorter, also more focused.

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