What Does N4 Mean?

The world of N4 certificates is a big one, and this article covers everything needed to get started on your journey to success with NATED N4 courses.

Every NATED course has 3 levels, with the first level being the N4 qualification. This qualification is equivalent to NQF level 5. This means that you have to pass Matric to study a NATED N4 course. 

These are introductory courses that focus on teaching and preparing students with entry-level knowledge and skills. For example, students who are interested in the Business Management N4 course are taught the basics. This allows them to get familiar with the course such as management and accounting skills. 

We offer these skills because we believe that they are the key for student to start their professional careers with the knowledge. As well as the skills and experience they need to go to the top.

What Are The Different Types Of NATED N4 Courses Available?

NATED courses focus on different industries. These qualifications are at the beginning level so they make sure you understand the basics of whatever you are studying. 

From learning about accounting with Financial Management to mercantile law with Legal Secretary Courses. The N4 qualification is a gateway into the perfect career. Here is our selection of NATED N4 qualifications:

What Are The Most Popular NATED N4 Courses?

All NATED courses are popular, and this includes the N4 qualifications. While each course focuses on a different industry. They are mainly management and administration-focused. So they prepare students with the skills to handle themselves in such positions. Here are some examples of why each course is popular:
NATED N4 Qualification Appeal of the course
N4 Business Management Course
  • Perfect for students who want the knowledge and skills to manage a business
  • Can open the door towards self-employment
N4 Financial Management Course
  • Learn the basics of accounting, and money management
  • This course is perfect for people who want the skills to keep the finances of a business in check and running
N4 Human Resource Management Course Making sure every employee is working efficiently and is treated fairly, handling workplace conflict, and making sure the business is running smoothly.
N4 Legal Secretary Course For those who want to enter the law practice and work behind the scenes with top lawyers to make sure that everything is organised and ready for the next case, this course is for you
N4 Management Assistant Course
  • An introduction to the basics of management
  • Learning the skills to assist your senior manager and understanding the work to prepare yourself for a similar role in the future
  • This course has all the advantages you will need
N4 Marketing Management Course
  • A great way to learn basic marketing principles
  • Learn to interact with different people and understand the many trends happening in the world
  • Marketing is a beneficial skill

Why Are These NATED N4 Courses Popular?

Each course brings something different to the table. The N4 qualification is an introduction to the course and industry it is focused on. This helps students understand every method used to make sure everything in their line of work is in order. 

That kind of knowledge is beneficial in the long run. Especially when students continue with their chosen course because it offers priceless skills and experience.

What Industries Do NATED N4 Courses Cater To?

There are different courses for different industries. Each N4 qualification touches on the fundamental basics and skills of that industry. They explain how those skills will help in the long run, whether for your career prospects or conducting your own business. Here are the industries that each course focuses on:

  • N4 Business Management Course – Business Sector
  • N4 Financial Management Course – Business Accounting
  • N4 Human Resource Management Course – Employee Relations
  • N4 Legal Secretary Course – Administrative Legal Work
  • N4 Management Assistant Course – Office/Workplace Management
  • N4 Marketing Management Course – Marketing (Includes Digital)

What Are The Easiest And Most Difficult NATED N4 Courses?

Everyone is different, and these courses showcase this because each one focuses on a different field of work. The difficulty can depend on a student’s interest in the industry their chosen course focuses on.

For example, most students looking from the outside might think Financial Accounting is the hardest course. They might see accounting as a hard process, however, other students could see it as an opportunity to learn more methods. 

How Are Students Assessed In NATED N4 Courses?

All NATED courses including N4 courses include assessments and exams for each subject. It will include subjects specific to the course, and all the subjects have 2 assessments and 2 exams. Students have to pass these to receive their qualification for the course.

What Are The Benefits Of Studying NATED N4?

N4 courses are the start of your NATED journey. The goal of studying and receiving the qualification has many advantages and benefits for the students going above and beyond for their future careers. Here are some benefits associated with N4 courses:

  • More Job Opportunities
  • Opens Doors To Better Earning Opportunities
  • Development Of Practical Skills
  • Flexible Learning Options
  • Industry And National Recognition

More Job Opportunities

Each NATED level offers doorways towards you reaching your dream career, and the N4 qualification is the first step towards your goal. This certificate gives you the basic skills you will need to thrive in your chosen industry.

Opens Doors To Better Earning Opportunities

NATED courses open doors to higher earning opportunities. This is because of the level of skill you reach with each qualification you gain, and this starts with the N4 course. 

While the knowledge of this qualification is limited as it is the first qualification. The more NATED levels you complete. The higher the earning opportunities become because of the experience you gain as the courses continue.

Development Of Practical Skills

Like most vocational courses, NATED courses help you gain practical experience for your chosen course and career. N4 courses are mostly theoretical, however, the practical aspects are added in so that students can understand how these skills are used daily.

Flexible Learning Options

As a distance learning college, we offer students flexibility in the way they learn. Every student can study the best way they can without having to adjust their schedules too much and be able to take care of their daily responsibilities.

Industry And National Recognition

Students with NATED qualifications are recognised by most business sectors. Mainly because they are accredited qualifications that teach students the relevant skills needed to complete their work effectively. Training and experience are done for students to take on their preferred career roles with less pressure, and starting an N4 course can open this door.

What Skills Are Acquired In NATED N4 Courses?

These courses are designed to be industry-specific so based on your chosen qualification, you gain the skills through the subjects and topics studied to excel in the job field you eventually choose. Here are a few skills and topics that students receive during their course:
NATED N4 Course: Skills Acquired:
N4 Business Management Course
  • Management Communication
  • Introductory Accounting
  • Entrepreneurship and Business Management
  • Computer Practice
N4 Financial Management Course
  • Financial Accounting
  • Computerised Financial Systems
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Management Communication
N4 Human Resource Management Course
  • Entrepreneurship and Business Management
  • Personnel Management
  • Management Communication
  • Computer Practice or Introductory Computer Practice
N4 Legal Secretary Course
  • Office Practice
  • Communication
  • Information Processing
  • Mercantile Law
N4 Management Assistant Course
  • Communication
  • Office Practice
  • Information Processing
  • Computer Practice
N4 Marketing Management Course
  • Entrepreneurship and Business Management
  • Marketing Management
  • Management Communication
  • Computer Practice

How Does NATED N4 Prepare Students For The Industry?

N4 qualifications are structured to introduce students to their chosen field. So each subject touches on a feature of the course and overall career field, making the learning experience a comprehensive one. For example:  

Business Management N4

Each subject in this course is associated with an aspect of the industry it is based on. Business Management aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to handle management roles in a business or office environment. Each subject opens the opportunity to learn more about why each skill is important:

  • Management Communication N4
  • Introductory Accounting N4
  • Entrepreneurship and Business Management N4
  • Computer Practice N4

What Is The National Qualification Framework In Relation To N4?

Since NATED qualifications were created in South Africa. The qualifications received for each NATED course are equivalent to a level associated with the NQF education system our country adheres to.

Here is a table showing the NATED qualifications and their NQF equivalent levels:

NATED LevelsNQF Levels
N4 CertificateNQF Level 5
N5 CertificateNQF Level 5
N6 CertificateNQF Level 5
N6 DiplomaNQF Level 6

How Is The NQF Structured?

The National Quality Framework (NQF) is a South African education system created for quality education. This system is used to associate levels and credits based on the learner’s academic achievements.

This means that students who study in South Africa have an NQF level associated with the grades they are in and the qualifications they receive. Here is a table showing the NQF levels and the qualifications associated with each level:

NQF LevelsQualification
NQF Level 1Grade 9 or GETC: ABET Level 4
NQF Level 2Grade 10 or NCV Level 2
NQF Level 3Grade 11 or NCV Level 3
NQF Level 4Grade 12 or Matric Equivalent Certificates or NCV Level 4
NQF Level 5Higher Certificates
NQF Level 6Diploma or Advanced Certificates
NQF Level 7Advanced Diplomas or Bachelor’s Degrees
NQF Level 8Post Graduate Diplomas or Honours Degrees
NQF Level 9Master’s Degrees
NQF Level 10Doctoral Degrees

Where Does N4 Fit Within The NQF?

Every N4 course is equivalent to NQF level 5, meaning that to study these courses you must have a Matric certificate.  

How Does N4 Compare To Other Levels In The NQF?

N4 is higher than NQF 4, which is equivalent to Matric. Studying an N4 requires a Matric certificate. N4 however is equivalent to NQF 5, which is lower compared to a diploma (NQF6) and bachelor’s degree (NQF 7).

NATED courses allow students to attain a Diploma equivalent qualification through the N6 Diploma course students are required to do after completing all the certificate qualifications (N4 – N6 certificates). 

This NATED diploma can potentially open the door for you to attain a Bachelor’s degree, depending on whether your NATED qualification has a similar course in your chosen tertiary institution.

How Can I Enrol In A NATED N4 Course?

Skills Academy offers NATED courses for any student with a Matric certificate and the desire to find their dream career through these courses. 

We believe in giving South Africans the tools to learn the skills they need to begin their careers on a high note. And we want to support your journey by making sure you meet the needs to be eligible for one of our NATED courses. So making sure that you fit the criteria means you have met the requirements.

What Are The Entry Requirements For NATED N4 Courses?

N4 courses have few requirements, mainly that students must have a Matric certificate, regardless of their Matric pass or a Matric equivalent certificate for students who have NCV qualifications. The minimum age is 16 and over, understand, read and write in English and study through distance learning.

How Do I Apply For A NATED N4 Course?

Since we are a distance learning institution, we offer NATED N4 courses to students all over South Africa. If you meet the entry requirements, you can apply online with us for the course you want to study. One of our course experts will contact you with information for any enquiries you may have on the course you are interested in.

What Documents Are Needed For NATED N4 Application?

NATED courses only require 2 documents for your application:

  • A certified copy of your ID document
  • A certified copy of your Matric certificate (or equivalent qualification)

What Is The Application Timeline For NATED N4 Courses?

We offer flexibility for students who want to study with us, so you can apply to study your desired N4 course at any time of the year. However, there are some factors that you have to consider before deciding on when you want to apply, such as:

  • Are you studying part-time or full-time?
  • When do you want to finish your NATED qualifications?
  • What year do you want to write your exams?

We offer part-time and full-time studies for a good majority of students because most people who pursue our courses have extra responsibilities and these courses have the potential to open better opportunities for them and avoid interrupting your schedule.

We also include an accelerated study option for students who want to study and complete their qualifications in a much shorter time. This allows them to save money and start their dream careers more quickly if their schedules allow them to pursue this mode of study.

Are Exams For NATED N4 Online Courses Conducted Remotely?

No, NATED course exams are usually written in person and are paper-based exams. They are overseen by a professional in a controlled environment to prevent cheating and ensure fairness between all students. 

This is how Skills Academy conducts exams for NATED students, however, other institutions can make an exception based on a few factors that are specific to them.

How Are The Quality And Recognition Of NATED N4 Courses Assured?

The accreditation process allows students from different schools and institutions to study courses and curriculums that were inspected for quality and recognised by the relevant governing bodies, allowing them to be officially available for the public to study.

Is NATED N4 Accredited?

Yes, NATED N4 courses are accredited by the Quality Council For Trades and Occupations (QCTO). The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) developed these courses.

The QCTO focuses on skills and occupational courses, and the institutions that provide them. Because NATED courses fit in both industries, they are eligible to be accredited by them. Whilst being an accrediting body too, the DHET created and currently facilitates the NATED exams and qualifications instead.

Why Is Accreditation Important?

Accreditation is an important process for education providers such as Skills Academy. This allows future employers to recognise the qualifications you have achieved. Accreditation validates the knowledge and experience you received from your studies and training as a NATED student.

How Can I Succeed In My NATED N4 Studies?

The road to achieving your NATED N4 qualification is a fulfilling one. The skills you gain throughout your studies, and finding success in how you tackle your studies, is the main push you will need to achieve your best. Here are some tips on how you can achieve success in your NATED N4 studies:

  • Prepare yourself 
  • Take notes and research 
  • Create a study group
  • Utilise course benefits
  • Use rewards as motivation

Prepare Yourself

Ensuring that you are ready to tackle any challenges needs you to prepare yourself. This means you have to create a study space. Organise your study materials and have a study schedule that works for you as well.

Take Notes And Research

Another important tip is to make study notes and do some research based on your subjects and the topics each one focuses on. This will help you remember things better and have all the information you will need to handle your course.

Create A Study Group

Studying with peers is a great way to open yourself to a different learning style. It also helps you understand topics differently, compared to how you normally would alone. This is also a big benefit for a distance learning student. It allows you to create a space for learning and socialising that is normally available in a traditional classroom.

Utilise Course Benefits

Our students receive benefits that help them in their studies. They will also have an overall understanding of our NATED N4 courses. The courses include study materials for each subject in your chosen course. As well as access to tutors for assistance with your studies, and our study groups with other students enrolled with us. 

Use Rewards As Motivation

Finding the motivation to study is an important method. It can be used to push through the challenging parts and towards your goals. Rewarding yourself for even the smallest achievements is a great motivator. It allows you to look forward to taking time for your studies, and appreciate the effort you are putting in.

What Are Some Challenges That NATED N4 Students Face, And What Are The Solutions To These Challenges?

Most students encounter challenges with their studies. There are some common challenges students face when studying for their NATED N4 qualifications, such as:

  • Adapting to the workload and curriculum
  • Time management
  • Lack of motivation
  • Limited resources
  • Lack of support

While the challenges might alarm some students who want to decide on studying NATED N4 courses. There are many solutions to most of the challenges students may face when it comes to studying NATED courses online. Like with most courses, students with the right guidance and support can overcome these challenges and receive their qualifications.

Adapting To The Workload And Curriculum

Adding studies to your schedule can be a task and a half because of other responsibilities and understanding the curriculum might seem like a lot. 

This is where a study schedule based on your schedule plays a big role. It will help to find times when you will be free. It will help in getting you to prepare to study without affecting your responsibilities.

Time Management

Juggling your studies and duties is possible. However, some students might view that differently and this can impact their progress. Ensure that you handle what is more important. Minimise distractions that take away from your studies, and take some time off too.

Lack Of Motivation

Motivation is needed for distance learning students because most of the time you will be studying alone and that can cause distractions. 

Reminding yourself of your goals, rewarding every accomplishment, taking short breaks in between study sessions, creating and joining study groups and preparing yourself are some of the few ways you can gain motivation and complete your course.

Limited Resources

Limited resources can hinder your progress. Not having all the tools you will need to accomplish your goals is a major challenge. However, recognising the resources you will need for your course is the first step to finding ways to get them. We also include benefits for our students that allow them to study without any hassles.

Lack Of Support

The journey towards your NATED N4 qualification can be a lonely one. Especially if you need assistance with any topics or subjects or the people around you are too busy with other responsibilities. 

To face this challenge, it is best to inform the people around you about the goals you want to achieve with your studies. As well as the times when you will study so that they can understand and help you when they are available or give you the space you will need to focus.

We also have study groups for our students to connect, help and assist where needed. We try to create a sense of community between students, tutors and the institution as a whole.

What Are Some Tips For Managing My Time Effectively As A NATED N4 Student?

Time management is an important skill you need to have, especially if you want to gain the most out of your experience towards gaining your N4 qualification. There are many ways to manage your time to make the most out of your studies and avoid feeling overwhelmed. Here are some tips to manage your time effectively:

  • Create A Study Schedule
  • Prioritise Tasks And Set Deadlines
  • Minimise Distractions
  • Avoid Multitasking
  • Take Breaks
  • Look For Help If You Need It

Create A Study Schedule

It goes without saying how important this tip is because a study schedule lays the groundwork to your eventual success in your studies. Organise your subjects into the ones you want to focus on. Also, find times when you feel most productive, and make time to take a break after a long study session as well.

Prioritise Tasks And Set Deadlines

Ensuring that your studies are taken care of is a significant step. It allows you to focus on the essential parts of what you are trying to accomplish with your NATED studies. 

Minimise Distractions

Distractions are everywhere and can easily block your progress to success. But recognising the things that are standing in the way of your studies is the best way to make sure that you can easily focus on your studies without the feeling of missing something.

Avoid Multitasking

This is a skill everyone has, and it has advantages that can help you get different tasks done in a shorter time. This can become tricky because you can become distracted from other tasks that are essential to your studies. Therefore, identifying the important tasks in your study schedule will help you focus better and do your best work.

Take Breaks

As important as it is to accomplish your tasks and follow your study schedule, it is also important to take a break. Breaks are there to ground you and help you avoid having a much harder time focusing and burnout from avoiding your well-being.

Look For Help If You Need It

Instead of sitting alone and struggling in silence because you might not understand a topic. Look for help because you will gain different solutions that will help you understand the problem better. 

From asking family, and friends or creating study groups with other students. Receiving help will make any problem seem smaller.

How Does NATED N4 Compare To Other NATED Levels?

NATED courses each have levels that are different from each other in terms of the information acquired and qualifications attained. N4 being the lowest level means you are introduced to the base concepts of each course. And from here you work your way up by completing the course.

N5 is the second level of courses, and this expands on the course information you received from your N4 qualification. Whilst introducing new subjects, this is the same for the N6 certificate course. 

A major change happens with N6 Diploma courses. Where students are required to do practical work (internship/learnership) in their industry of choosing based on their course.

What Is The Difference Between NATED N4 And N5?

N4 and N5 courses are similar. But, the main difference is that students in N4 are introduced to new topics that give more information on what they learned before. And introduce 1 or 2 more subjects to add to your course knowledge.

Is There A Progression In Difficulty From N4 To N5?

Yes, however, it depends on the student and how well they understand the work. The N5 certificate works as a continuation of the N4 certificate. The curriculum stays the same, but, the modules and topics are expanded on. This means, students are introduced to newer concepts from their course. For example the following:

Financial Management QualificationCourse Subjects (Modules)What Students Learn
Financial Management: NATED N4 National Certificate
  • Financial Accounting N4
  • Computerised Financial Systems N4
  • Entrepreneurship and Business Management N4
  • Management Communication N4

During this course, students will be introduced to topics such as:  

  • Economics
  • Financial Accounting
  • Entrepreneurship and Business
  • Communication
Financial Management: NATED N5 National Certificate
  • Financial Accounting N5
  • Computerised Financial Systems N5
  • Entrepreneurship and Business Management N5
  • Cost and Management Accounting N5

Students will learn more on:

  • Economics
  • Financial Accounting
  • Entrepreneurship and Business

Learn new subjects such as:

  • Cost and Management

Can Credits From N4 Be Transferred To N5?

Credits are automatically transferred after completing a NATED course. This means if you study and complete a NATED N4 qualification, you will be eligible to study an N5 course. However, this also means that it has to be the same course you were enrolled in. So if you completed the Business Management N4 qualification, you are only allowed to study the Business Management N5 qualification.

What Is The Difference Between NATED N4 And N6?

So, as mentioned before. A NATED N4 qualification is the lowest level of these courses. The information students receive serves as an introduction to the course they are studying. N6 however has 2 qualifications, a certificate and a diploma. 

The N6 courses act as the last theory qualifications. It teaches students the knowledge and skills needed to attain a full diploma qualification for a course. The diploma course is an 18-month practical where a student does an industry-related internship. With this completed, they receive their full NATED qualification.

What Career Opportunities Open Up After Completing N6 Compared To N4?

Each NATED course is different, opening many opportunities with each one. However, the level of qualifications is not the same. The qualification level also limits the opportunities. 

While you can get an entry-level/part-time job with an N4 qualification. It is advised for students to continue their NATED studies with the N5 and N6 qualifications. Most companies require students to have all NATED qualifications, especially N6.

N6 qualifications are practical courses. Students are required to complete 18 months of work experience. This allows students to receive both the qualifications and experience to start working in their desired field. This eventually helps them reach higher positions.

People Also Ask

No. While N4 qualifications have equivalence in the NQF system. You need a Matric certificate to study at a university and meet the requirements for the course you want to study.

NATED N4 qualifications are recognised in job fields that value practical knowledge and skills. While N4 courses are foundation courses introducing students to the qualifications and topics. They exclude real-world experience. However, they have practical sessions for students to understand the skills and procedures to carry out the work

No, N4 is equivalent to NQF level 5, a Higher Certificate qualification, whilst Matric is NQF level 4. One of the main requirements to study an N4 course is a Matric certificate to study the course. So to study one, you have to achieve the other.

Yes, N4 courses have enough practical aspects to help students be eligible. They will understand the work requirements in their preferred industry and gain an entry-level job. However, it is advised that students continue with their NATED studies. And achieve the rest of the course qualifications to receive better career options after getting their N6 Diploma.

Author: Kamogelo Mkonto
Editor: Connor Bergsma
Date Published: February 23, 2024

Last Updated: 4 June 2024

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