NEBOSH General Certificate - What You Need to Know 1

NEBOSH General Certificate – What You Need to Know

Who are NEBOSH?

If you have ever looked at embarking on a health and safety career in any shape of form, you’ve probably heard of NEBOSH i.e. the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health.

The organisation offers globally recognised qualifications covering health and safety and risk management.

For the vast majority of HSE positions, you are required to have a NEBOSH General Certificate or similar qualification.

Many of those in supervisory or management positions choose to complete NEBOSH qualifications to boost their health, safety or environment credentials.

Do employer’s value these qualifications?

Employer’s will sometimes specify that you need to have a certain level of IOSH (Institute of Occupational Safety & Health) membership to boot. It’s said that 90-odd percent of health and safety jobs require NEBOSH or similar qualifications.

Just go to or a similar site to check this out. Type in health and safety and look at the job specification – 9 times out of 10 NEBOSH will be directly specified.

So, there is little debate that they are still the most recognised H&S qualification amongst employers.

Training with NEBOSH – why would you consider it?

As an examination board, NEBOSH provide a syllabus and exams for training providers. Courses are quite varied and can be useful for people across many different industry sectors.

The courses offer globally recognised qualifications. Such as, the NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety or NEBOSH International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety.

These are excellent first steps towards becoming a fully qualified health and safety and/environmental professional. The qualifications are of course recognised by IOSH and IEMA. These are arguably the two most prominent HSE professional membership bodies.

Here’s our podcast on ‘Classroom or Online Learning?’ with course tutor Victoria Hughes from SHEilds

NEBOSH General Certificate - What You Need to Know 2

What courses are available?

Currently, there are three types of NEBOSH qualifications available: Awards, Certificates and Diplomas. Each will allow you to become qualified to different levels.

Awards and Certificates are the best entry level qualifications, whilst the Diplomas are the most advanced options.

  • Awards: This is often an introduction to other, higher levels of qualification. It will help you demonstrate a basic understanding of health and safety knowledge. Equally, it helps improve health and safety culture within the workplace.
  • General Certificate: The NEBOSH General Certificate (National or International) demonstrate a slightly broader health and safety knowledge. The ‘NGC’ is the most widely held health and safety qualification in the UK. Which makes it strongly sought after by employers. The NGC is also ideal for those looking to develop a longer-term career in health and safety.
  • Specialist Certificates: NEBOSH’s industry specific certificates build on the core module from the General Certificate. These are available in specialist areas such as fire, risk management, construction, oil and gas and the environment. They provide a more focused insight into health and safety management within the respective industry.
  • Diplomas: Diploma level qualifications are one of the highest levels of qualifications that can be obtained for practitioners. A Diploma is the benchmark for a fully-fledged health and safety practitioner. Those who pass the NEBOSH Diploma (National or International) can apply for Chartered Membership of the Institution of Occupational Safety & Health (CMIOSH) or similar.

Who might benefit from the qualifications?

NEBOSH and similar qualifications are regarded as essential to those with responsibility for health, safety or environment.

They useful for roles ranging from dedicated Health and Safety Officers to General Management. But also for those who have any health and safety incorporated into their responsibilities.

Typical job roles which require or would benefit from the qualifications are:

  • Health and Safety Officer/Advisor/Manager/Consultant
  • Environmental Officers/Advisor/Manager/Consultant
  • Human Resources Manager
  • General Manager
  • Site Supervisor/Manager
  • Operations Manager
  • Facilities Manager
  • Project Manager
  • Contract Manager

Primarily, the courses are suitable for anyone looking to develop health and safety skills and knowledge. They are also helpful to improve job security and the first step to develop a future career in health and safety.

The type of qualification taken depends on how far you want to take your career.

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 Why take a NEBOSH Qualification?

There is a variety of reasons you may choose to take a NEBOSH qualification.

It really depends on your personal circumstances.

Around 90% of health and safety job advertisements specify one or more of the qualifications. For this reason, they can help you achieve career progression and provide additional job security.

The qualifications are designed to improve knowledge and understanding of key elements of health and safety. Such as hazards, risk assessment and legal compliance.

These will help you to manage risks in all types of workplaces. If you are in a direct health and safety or other management role.

Improved knowledge leads to improved skills and employability

The qualifications will also help you to improve your leadership and interpersonal skills.

These are crucial to anyone within a health and safety role.

The courses now put more focus on your ability to influence and change behaviour through educating your audience.

Similarly, NEBOSH qualifications also look to improve your written communication skills. In doing so, this gives you more confidence to produce reports on workplace health, safety or environment.

Importantly, these transferable skills can be taken forward into future roles.

Which Course should you consider?

NEBOSH Health and Safety Courses

There are a range of courses to choose from. Let’s take a look…..

1. National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety

The National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety is NEBOSH’s most popular health and safety qualification in the UK.

What will the Certificate do for you?

NEBOSH National General Certificate is highly valued by employers. Gaining this qualification will boost your career prospects across a wide range of fields.

Importantly, once you have passed the NGC you can apply for technical membership of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (Tech IOSH).

Many students then progress to the NEBOSH National Diploma (Grad IOSH) and from there to chartered status (CMIOSH).

Please note that a NEBOSH qualification does not automatically equate to an IOSH membership level. For example, you must submit both your NEBOSH certificate and your CV to IOSH. So that they can check that you have the qualifications and experience necessary for TechIOSH. 

2. National Certificate in Construction Health and Safety

Targeted at managers and supervisors, the NEBOSH Construction Certificate focuses on practical health and safety management to ensure that construction work is undertaken safely and with no risk to health.

The National NEBOSH Construction Certificate (NCC) is designed for supervisors and managers within the construction industry.

It is designed to provide a sound breadth of underpinning knowledge that enables them to conduct their duties with respect to health and safety in construction activities.

The course puts emphasis on the specific construction issues that make the industry amongst the most dangerous in which to work.

3. National Certificate in Fire Safety and Risk Management

The National Certificate in Fire Safety and Risk Management course focuses on practical fire safety management for low risk workplaces.

Therefore is the leading fire safety qualification in the UK and will train holders to be able to carry out fire risk assessments.

There are no entry requirements for the National Fire Certificate level qualification. Students can find it helpful to have already achieved certification of the NEBOSH National General Certificate.

The Fire Safety qualification is aimed at those who are required to provide routine, day-to-day advice on fire related issues in the work environment.

4. National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety

Considered the “Gold Standard” of health and safety qualifications, the NEBOSH National Diploma is a requirement in around half of all health and safety job adverts.

Take note. Diploma holders are estimated to earn 16% more than those who do not have the qualification.

The NEBOSH Diploma is the highest-level qualification NEBOSH offers. It is a degree level qualification, meeting the academic requirement for Graduate IOSH membership and is intended for those pursuing a career as professional health and safety advisors.

The National Diploma is aimed at health and safety professionals who want to advance their career or progress to further study as a postgraduate.

It is highly sought-after by employers from a range of industries.


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What will the Diploma do for you?

50% of health and safety job adverts specify a NEBOSH Diploma and, on average, holders of the Diploma earn 16% (£7,600) more than people who do not hold the Diploma.

Holders of the Diploma can apply for graduate membership of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (Grad IOSH).

The National Diploma is valued by employers. Gaining this qualification will most certainly boost your career prospects. Diploma holders can apply for graduate membership of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (Grad IOSH).

Many then progress to become Chartered members of IOSH (CMIOSH) via IOSH’s progression route.

Environmental Courses

Why would you need it?

Many jobs in health and safety now incorporate a significant element of environmental responsibility.

Therefore it’s very important for those in the profession to possess formal training qualifications to support their existing knowledge and experience.

If you don’t have any knowledge or competence in this area, it’s important to up-skill to ensure you are not limiting your career prospects by not addressing this very important area of expertise.

To help address this industry need, NEBOSH have developed some comprehensive environmental courses.

Let’s take a look at what they can offer

1. NEBOSH Environmental Management Certificate

As the NEBOSH National General Certificate qualification has been recognised for many years as an excellent introduction to the fundamentals of  occupational health and safety.

The NEBOSH Certificate in Environmental Management is designed to provide a similarly sound foundation in  environmental management.

What are the benefits of this Environmental Certificate course?

The NEBOSH Certificate in Environmental Management will benefit companies who are seeking to implement effective environmental management systems.

It aims to ensure that line managers have a sound understanding of the principles of managing environmental risk. As a result, the qualification is relevant to all industry sectors.

2. NEBOSH Environmental Diploma

There are no prerequisite entry requirements for the NEBOSH Environmental Diploma level qualification. Again, students will find it helpful to have already achieved certification in either the NEBOSH General Certificate or NEBOSH International General Certificate first as this greatly improves a students’ potential end-result.

Be mindful this is a Degree level qualification and as such the NEBOSH Environmental Diploma is a demanding qualification.

Therefore, you may find it tough to gain a pass mark if you do not already have this crucial background knowledge as a health & safety practitioner and/or the ability and application to study at this level.

On the contrary, you may feel due to your previous experience within an HSE role, that you possess the necessary skills to undertake study for this qualification.

International Courses

1. International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH International General Certificate course focuses on how health and safety management can be applied in the workplace.

The course has a strong pass rate and holders can also apply for technical membership of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) or progress to the International Diploma.

There are no prerequisite entry requirements for this NEBOSH International National General Certificate level qualification.

Although students will find it helpful to have already achieved certification of a NEBOSH International Award level qualification.

This health & safety NEBOSH International General Certificate is suitable for managers and supervisors or other employee representatives.

It covers the primary legal requirements as laid out in International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions. Also, it looks at the recommendations and documented best international practices for managing health and safety in the workplace.

2. International Diploma

The NEBOSH International Diploma in Occupational Safety & Health course has been updated, with more emphasis on best practices for implementing and managing a safety management system.

This qualification is designed for individuals who want to progress their career in health & safety. It will allow them to develop the knowledge and skills in order to become an international health & safety practitioner.

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Can anyone take NEBOSH training?

The NEBOSH National General Certificate is an ideal starting point to begin a career in health and safety management or to formalise previous training. It’s a Level 3 qualification, equivalent to A Level.

Notably, both this and the NEBOSH International General Certificate do not require any previous health and safety knowledge.

So, they are a great start for those looking to progress to a NEBOSH National Diploma. The National Diploma is a Level 6 qualification, equivalent to a full honours degree.

Can I take NEBOSH courses online?

All NEBOSH courses can be completed in a classroom format. However, some providers offer a distance/online learning route including the NEBOSH National Diploma.

Online training allows the course to be completed at a time which suits the student.  As a result, this means that training can be completed without interfering with a busy schedule.

Why choose NEBOSH training?

Achieving the qualification will mean that you hold an internationally recognised health and safety qualification. Also, it will offer you a platform on which to build a successful career in health and safety.
Investing in a NEBOSH qualification shows that you are committed to achieving a positive health and safety culture within an organisation.

Will it help with IOSH Membership  & route to CMIOSH status

Is your ultimate goal is to become a chartered health and safety professional? If the answer is yes, NEBOSH or NCRQ qualifications will definitely help you get there.
One route to CMIOSH status would be to achieve the entry level NEBOSH General Certificate in Occupational Health & Safety.
This can then be followed by the NEBOSH Diploma in in Occupational Health & Safety coupled with your industry experience.

Are there alternatives to the NEBOSH General Certificate?

Would like to take a vocational qualification route i.e. using your current work experience? If so, you may want to consider the NVQ options.

Otherwise, a fantastic alternative to NEBOSH is the NCRQ route. Make sure to have a look at our post on ‘NEBOSH or NCRQ?’ to find out more.

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What are my career prospects?

The Health, Safety & Environment profession has an abundance of opportunity across the globe.

HSE practitioners can earn very attractive salary packages across different industry sectors.

Let’s look at the UK as an example:

Salary ranges for a HSE Manager in UK vary broadly – there is a wide range depending on experience, sector, location etc.

Check out the latest IOSH Salary Survey for more information, but here is a snippet of typical roles & average salaries.

  • Safety and health assistant: £28,000–£41,000
  • Safety and health officer: £31,000–£49,000
  • Safety and health consultant: £30,000–£53,000
  • Safety and health manager: £32,000–£50,000
  • Head of safety and health: £33,000–£55,000
  • Safety and health director: £37,000–£57,000
Not too bad, eh? Earnings may be much higher or indeed lower depending on the specifics of the position, industry and location.

What can I expect from a NEBOSH exam?

NEBOSH exams are perceived to be quite difficult. The key to getting into the zone on answering questions correctly are the examiner’s reports.

Examiners reports on Certificate Level Qualifications are published twice a year by NEBOSH. They offer valuable feedback on the following key areas; examination technique, command words and learning outcomes.

The Examiners Report is intended to give examples of what Examiners were expecting from you.

Importantly, it provides insight into areas of under-performance. So, you can pick these out and target them in your revision.

Here are the latest NEBOSH Examiner’s reports for you to have a look at….

NEBOSH Examiners Reports 2018

[ddownload id=”2810″ text=”NEBOSH National General Certificate March 2018″]

[ddownload id=”2811″ text=”NEBOSH International General OHS Certificate March 2018″]

[ddownload id=”2812″ text=”NEBOSH National Construction Certificate March 2018″]

[ddownload id=”2815″ text=”NEBOSH National Certificate Health and Wellbeing March 2018″]

NEBOSH Examiners Reports 2017

[ddownload id=”876″ text=”International General Certificate March 2017″]

[ddownload id=”869″ text=”National General Certificate March 2017″]

[ddownload id=”880″ text=”National Fire Certificate March 2017″]

[ddownload id=”882″ text=”National Construction Certificate March 2017″]

[ddownload id=”884″ text=”Environmental-Certificate-March-2017″]

If you would like to look further back into the NEBOSH Examiner archives, go over to this page –

NEBOSH Examiners Reports

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NEBOSH General Certificate


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