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What is the difference between the NEBOSH Diploma and NEBOSH Certificate?

This blog will explore the main differences between the NEBOSH Certificate and the NEBOSH Diploma. Both are accredited Health and Safety training courses with the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH), a leading industry qualification body. Astutis has updated this guide in 2022, to reflect the latest course modifications. 

September 2019

This blog has been updated in 2022 to reflect the latest course updates and modifications. 

Summary:

1. The NEBOSH General Certificate is a Level-3 vocational qualification equivalent to a UK A-Level. Meanwhile, the NEBOSH Diploma is a Level-6 vocational qualification in the RQF. We strongly urge all learners to sit the NEBOSH General Certificate before the NEBOSH Diploma. The NEBOSH Certificate is the perfect gateway into the NEBOSH Diploma course.

2. The NEBOSH General Certificate takes approximately 110-125 hours to complete, whilst the NEBOSH Diploma should take learners about 475 hours to finish. The NEBOSH Diploma could take four times the duration required to complete the NEBOSH Certificate.

3. The two NEBOSH courses are assessed differently, with the NEBOSH General Certificate meriting two forms of assessment; meanwhile, the NEBOSH Diploma has three more comprehensive assessments totalling 140 hours to complete. The NEBOSH General Certificate assessments help prepare learners for the challenges of the NEBOSH Diploma.


NEBOSH offer a wide variety of accredited Health, Safety and Environmental training courses, from entry-level to executive-level training. 

What is the meaning of NEBOSH? NEBOSH is the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health, a leading qualification body in the HSE industry. They specialise in helping you and your business achieve your goals; from improving your organisation to developing your personal career growth.

Two of the most widely recognised courses are:

What is the NEBOSH Certificate? The NEBOSH General Certificate is widely regarded as the perfect introduction to occupational Health and Safety. Completing the NEBOSH Certificate allows learners to progress to the NEBOSH Diploma course, which provides individuals with a comprehensive understanding of Health and Safety management.

One of the most notable questions our learners frequently ask us, is: ‘What is the difference between the NEBOSH General Certificate and the NEBOSH Diploma?’. This blog will examine the differences between the NEBOSH Certificate and the NEBOSH Diploma and support you make the right choice based on your and your business’s needs. 

How Do the NEBOSH Diploma and NEBOSH Certificate Course Material and Content Differ?

The NEBOSH General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety is the ideal first step when entering the world of Health and Safety. It invites learners to gain an insightful understanding of the fundamentals of health and safety issues at work.

With the NEBOSH Certificate course, you have the opportunity to gain a foundational analysis of all workplace risks, including common perils like fire and electricity. It is widely regarded as a practical qualification, raising the theoretical arguments and philosophies with a lighter, softer touch. 

On the other hand, the NEBOSH Diploma for Occupational Health and Safety Management Professionals builds upon the foundational learning attained during the NEBOSH General Certificate but with a forensic approach to processing health and safety management complications. 

The NEBOSH Diploma gifts learners with a personal toolkit for proactively identifying and stopping risks before they become too dangerous. You and your business will be equipped with a wealth of practical health and safety theories behind successful management, risk management and implementation of the best health and safety systems under the latest regulations. 

What is the Course Duration Difference Between the NEBOSH Certificate Course Length and the NEBOSH Diploma?

NEBOSH estimates learners will require approximately 110-125 hours to complete the NEBOSH General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety. 

In contrast, NEBOSH suggests learners need about 475 hours to complete the NEBOSH Diploma for Occupational Health and Safety Management Professionals. 

Therefore, the content, workload and general course length of the NEBOSH Diploma are much denser than the course length of the NEBOSH General Certificate. 

Are There any Entry Requirements Differences Between the NEBOSH General Certificate and the NEBOSH Diploma?

For the NEBOSH General Certificate, there are no entry requirements. Learners can apply and study at any point during their careers. The NEBOSH General Certificate is a Level 3 vocational qualification, similar to a UK A-level. It's recognised as a Level 6 with 15 credits in the Scottish Qualification Authority. 

Although there are no formal requirements for the NEBOSH Diploma, the course expands on the topics covered in the NEBOSH General Certificate. It's always recommended that you complete the NEBOSH General Certificate before taking on the NEBOSH Diploma.

Suppose you haven't completed the NEBOSH General Certificate but wish to proceed with the NEBOSH Diploma, it is advised to: 

  • Have at least five years of experience working in Health and Safety.
  • Have completed another Level-3 qualification, to have a basic understanding of essential health and safety topics.

The NEBOSH Diploma is equivalent to an honours degree and is a leading Health, Safety and Environmental training qualification. The NEBOSH Diploma is globally recognised as a Level 6 vocational qualification within the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) and Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF).

Learners not based in the UK are recommended to enrol on the NEBOSH International Diploma course, which is engineered to comply with international law and regulations. Both incarnations share the exact educational levelling. 

How Are the NEBOSH Certificate and the NEBOSH Diploma Courses Assessed?

The assessment structure for the NEBOSH Diploma and NEBOSH General Certificate has several differences. 

Firstly, the NEBOSH General Certificate requires learners to undergo two assessment procedures:

  • An exam and
  • A practical assessment. 

The NEBOSH Certificate course is split into two units (NG1/IG1 and NG2/IG2). For the NG1/IG1 assessment, learners will be required to complete an exam on the following areas:

  • ‘Why should we manage workplace Health and Safety?’
  • ‘How do health and safety management systems work and what do they look like?’
  • ‘Managing Risk: Understanding people and processes.’
  • ‘Health and Safety: Monitoring and measuring.’

For the NG2/IG2 assessment, learners must complete an industry-standard risk assessment that follows the following steps:

  1. A description of an organisation and methodology
  2. Risk assessment
  3. Actions and justifications
  4. Review, communicate and check.

Meanwhile, the NEBOSH Diploma includes three assessments that require a combined 140 hours to complete. For the NG1/IG1 assessment, learners must complete a four-stage process:

  • Section 1: Scenario-Based Questions
  • Section 2: Workplace Activities
  • Section 3: Reflective Tasks
  • Section 4: Short Research Project

The rest of the NEBOSH Diploma course is split into two units, however, both units (ND2/ID2 and ND3/ID3) share the same assessment process. 

To complete the ND2/ID2 and the ND3/ID3 scenario-based case studies, learners must adequately respond to a situational case study that will require problem-solving and theoretical analysis elements. Learners must achieve 50% and above marks to pass each assessment phase. 

Where are the NEBOSH Certificate and NEBOSH Diploma Recognised?

The NEBOSH Diploma and NEBOSH General Certificate are recognised by employers, governments and professional members worldwide. 

The NEBOSH General Certificate is considered an essential qualification to reach managerial level. The NEBOSH Certificate is accepted and recognised by the following professional organisations:

  • Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH)
  • International Institute of Risk and Safety Management (IIRSM)
  • South African Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (SAIOSH)
  • Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board

Discover more about where the NEBOSH General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety is recognised, in our blog here. 

Meanwhile, the NEBOSH Diploma is a minimum requirement for senior health and safety roles. The NEBOSH Diploma is accepted as a route to entry by professional organisations and certifying bodies such as:

  • Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH)
  • Board of Canadian Registered Safety Professionals (BCRSP)
  • South African Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (SAIOSH)
  • International Institute of Risk and Safety Management (IIRSM)
  • Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board
  • The Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP)
  • New Zealand Institute of Safety Management (NZISM)
  • SQA Accreditation

Explore more on where the NEBOSH Diploma for Occupational Health and Safety Management Professionals is recognised here. 

Final Takeaways:

  1. The NEBOSH General Certificate and the NEBOSH Diploma offer a complete training programme covering all aspects of occupational Health and Safety. We always recommend that learners begin their journey with the NEBOSH General Certificate (level 3 qualification) before embarking on the NEBOSH Diploma (level 6 qualification). 
  2. The NEBOSH Diploma (475 hours) can take up to four times the duration to complete compared to the NEBOSH General Certificate (110-125 hours). The step up in difficulty and time required cannot be understated.
  3. The NEBOSH General Certificate is equivalent to a UK A-Level, whilst the NEBOSH Diploma is equal to a UK University Degree. 
  4. Apart from duration and difficulty, the assessments are the other key difference. The NEBOSH General Certificate requires two assessments, including a risk assessment and an exam. Meanwhile, the NEBOSH Diploma holds three assessments which could take approximately 140 hours to complete. These include two scenario-based case studies and a longer-form assignment.

 

 

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