NEBOSH Certificate - Most Commonly Asked Questions

9 minute read | 04 September 2019 09:49:00 BST

Read the most commonly asked questions on the NEBOSH General Certificate

Are you considering a well-thought-of course and qualification in health and safety management such as the NEBOSH Certificate? This widely recognised and increasingly demanded qualification by employers will enable you to develop new opportunities for your career as a manager, and in health and safety.

Take a look at popular questions asked by people thinking about doing a health and safety management qualification such as the NEBOSH Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety. Our Introduction To The NEBOSH General Certificate is also a great place to look!

1. What does the NEBOSH General Certificate look like?

NEBOSH qualifications are recognized as the mark of a health and safety practitioner the world over.The NEBOSH General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety is the most popular health and safety qualification in the UK. And it's growing in popularity around the world, too. 

There are two versions of the course. The NEBOSH National General Certificate covers the key legal requirements for health and safety in the UK and the identification and control of workplace hazards.

The NEBOSH International General Certificate also covers the principles of health and safety, identification and control of workplace hazards, but is based on best practice and international standards, like the International Labour Organisation (ILO) codes of practice.

Both version of the course has 2 units:

  • NG1/IG1: a taught unit to help develop your knowledge. It's assessed with a 2-hour written exam. 
  • NG2/IG2: a marked practical risk assessment to develop your skills.  

2. Why take the NEBOSH General Certificate?

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The NEBOSH General Certificate offers you a widely recognised qualification to build a solid career in health and safety. Because it's suitable for all types of organisations around the world, it can open lots of doors when looking for a job.

In fact, research carried out in 2017 showed that:

"90% of the job advertisements for safety, health and environmental (SHE) roles reviewed, specified one or more NEBOSH qualifications; up from 83% last year (2016).” 

Year on year, employers are increasing their demand for new recruits to have a NEBOSH General Certificate.

"[In 2017] More than half (51%) of vacancies called for a range of NEBOSH Certificate-level qualifications, up from 45% last year and 38% in 2015.”

The NEBOSH General Certificate also provides an excellent foundation for you to develop more specialist skills. You can take the NEBOSH Fire Certificate, NEBOSH Construction Certificate, or move to a higher level with the NEBOSH Diploma.

3. Who is the NEBOSH General Certificate for?

Who is the NEBOSH Certificate for?The NEBOSH National Certificate (NGC) is targeted at people working in the UK.

The NEBOSH International Certificate is for people working outside the UK or for a multinational organisation and want a more portable health and safety management qualification. It's an internationally recognised qualification.

The qualification offers an excellent understanding of foundation health and safety concepts, so it's ideal for people with responsibilities in health and safety. However, 70% of people taking the NEBOSH Certificate are working in a broad range of job roles where health and safety is not their main responsibility.

4. Can anyone take the NEBOSH General Certificate?

Yes! You don't need any prior knowledge to complete the NEBOSH General Certificate. It provides a basis for health and safety and is an ideal starting point to build on in your career.

If English isn't your first language, you must be able to understand and express concepts covered in clear English. NEBOSH recommends learners have a minimum score of 6.0 or higher in IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or the equivalent.

5. How hard is a NEBOSH General Certificate?

The qualification does demand a commitment to study time to make sure you understand the concepts and can apply them in a workplace scenario. And, of course, to  make sure you can complete the written exam and risk assessment. 

If you have an experienced and reputable learning provider providing effective learning resources, ongoing tutor support and exam question practice with constructive feedback that you take advantage of, you will be well placed to pass your NEBOSH General Certificate.

6. How much does a NEBOSH General Certificate cost?

The price that course providers charge for the NEBOSH Certificate can vary considerably. Certain factors will influence the price, so it's important to consider what you need in order to learn successfully and pass the 2 assessments. These are just a few important factors to ask course providers to understand the real value:

  • Do some online researchLearning method - online so you can access the course on a computer or tablet vs a classroom-based and structured course led by a tutor(s).
  • Exam question practice with feedback.
  • Pass rates.
  • Materials and resources do they offer.
  • Tutors’ qualifications and NEBOSH training experience.
  • Exam fees.

For online courses:

  • The degree of interactivity studying the NEBOSH General Certificate online.
  • The level and type of tutor support i.e. phone, email, webinars etc.

For classroom-based courses:

  • Structure and format of the course.
  • Tutor(s) experience and qualifications.
  • Venue location, food and refreshments, parking.

7. Does a NEBOSH General Certificate expire

No! Once you've achieved your qualification it's yours to keep. However, to achieve the full qualification, you must pass both assessments within 5 years. 

The NEBOSH Certificate syllabus is regularly reviewed and revised when new legislation, best practice and standards are implemented, so it's important to keep yourself up-to-date on changes in health and safety.

N.B. If you are studying the NEBOSH General Certificate 2014 spec. (not the new 2018 spec.) there is a deadline on registering for at least one of the exams or assessment by 31 October 2020. You must complete all the exams by 31 March 2022. After this date the 2014 NEBOSH General Certificate spec will no longer be examined and is replaced by the 2018 spec..

8. What is the NEBOSH General Certificate equivalent to and where is it recognised?

In the UK, the NEBOSH General Certificate is equivalent to an SCQF Level 6 qualification. This is comparable to NQF/QCF Level 3 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, or A-level standard.

The NEBOSH General Certificate meets the academic requirements for Technical Membership (TechIOSH) of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and Associate Membership (AIIRSM) of the International Institute of Risk and Safety Management (IIRSM).

9. How long will it take to do a NEBOSH Certificate?

It will depend on the method of learning you choose to study and the course provider. If you study in a classroom, it usually takes around 10 full days. 

Online courses are a lot more flexible, but you need to be motivated to study regularly. It varies from person to person how long it can take to complete an online course, but a rough guide is around 80-120 hours.

Don’t forget, you'll also need to take the 2 assessments. The written exam needs to be taken in an exam centres. Standard exams are held 4 times a year in March, June, September and December. The practical risk assessment can be submitted at any time. 

Hopefully, you have a clearer understanding of what is involved in the NEBOSH Certificate and where it can take you in your career. If you need more information then take a look at our NEBOSH General Certificate Taster pack:

Want to know more? Get Your Free NEBOSH Certificate Info Pack

This blog post was updated in September 2019 to reflect the changes in the NEBOSH General Certificate syllabus. 

Tags: NEBOSH General Certificate, Advice for learners

Dafydd Jenkins MSc, BSc (Hons), FdSc, GradIOSH, SIIRSM

Dafydd is a Health and Safety consultant with significant expertise in environmental and occupational hygiene. He has completed over 10 years of duty with the Royal Air Force where he reported on environmental, health and safety, occupational hygiene and public health matters affecting the Air Station. He trains on IOSH and NEBOSH courses; he has a background in occupational hygiene, and food hygiene and has worked in diverse sectors including engineering, retail and leisure.