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Chris Pollington CMIOSH

National vs International: Which NEBOSH General Certificate is Right for You?

Did you know there's two versions of the NEBOSH General Certificate? One is for the UK, the other is for the rest of the world. Learn the differences here.

July 2019

But for a world that's so different, we ultimately all have the same goal - to keep our colleagues safe, healthy and happy. 

So how do we do that? 

It's simple really. We teach everyone the importance of health and safety in the workplace and make sure they have the right skills to manage it. We teach them about people and processes. And we show them how to put in place a management system that keeps people safe and companies thriving. 

The NEBOSH National General Certificate and NEBOSH International General Certificate helps us all do just that. But which one is right for you? Let's go through some key factors to help you decide. 

First things first, are they the same qualification?

Yes and no.

Technically, they are two different qualifications. But they’re both versions of the NEBOSH General Certificate, which is a foundation qualification in health and safety.

They’re the same level and hold the same value. They have the same units, elements and learning outcomes. And they both follow the same exam structure and grading system.

The course content isn’t that much different either. They both teach you how to manage health and safety based on the “Plan-Do-Check-Act” management system. But they reference different legislation and regulation in the finer details.

So who are the courses for?

Well, the NEBOSH General Certificate as a whole is suitable for everyone. We’ve had learners from health and safety, HR, general management and even public services take the course. 

But the version that’s best for you (national or international) will depend on where you work and your future plans.

Let me explain...

If you work in the UK

The NEBOSH National General Certificate is specific to the UK, so it'll help make sure you're working to UK standards, laws and regulations. 

You'll learn all about the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 which are the main ones in the UK health and safety industry. And you'll learn about UK enforcement agencies, like the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

If you're based in the UK or have plans to move there in the future, then the national version of the course will give you a very specific understanding of how things operate. So you'll be able to make sure you, your colleagues and your company are complying with the right rules and regulations that apply to them.

If you work outside the UK

The NEBOSH International General Certificate is a bit broader. That's because it focuses on best practice and international guidelines set by regulating organisations.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and International Standards Organisation (ISO) are the two main ones. But it does compare other agencies and cultures when appropriate, too.

If you’re working or living outside of the UK, then the international version will give you more scope. It’s also much more transferable. By that I mean you can apply what you’ve learnt in any country around the world. So if you have plans to travel, move countries, or you work for a multinational organisation, then this version will definitely be much more useful.

Which one is more popular?

Again, that depends on where you’re from. The national version of the course is more popular in the UK. The international version is more popular everywhere else.

Over 120,000 people took the NEBOSH General Certificate in 2017. That makes it one of the most popular health and safety qualifications in the world. So whichever version you choose, you'll be in a good company.
 

Are they both recognised in my country?

Sure, they're recognised everywhere. NEBOSH are very well known in the health and safety industry. In fact over 83% of HSE job advertisements asked for NEBOSH qualification in 2016. 

Are they both available in my country?

Absolutely. There’s no rule saying that you can only take the national version if you’re in the UK, or the international version if you’re not.


Not only that, thanks to the wonder of online learning you don't even have to travel to study. So if you can't find a suitable classroom course for the version you want, you don't have to miss out.

Are they the same price?

Yep! To make things easier, we've done a whole blog post on how much the NEBOSH General Certificate costs here.

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