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NEBOSH: Certificate or Diploma?

NEBOSH Certificate or DiplomaAccording to the British Safety Council, NEBOSH qualifications are mentioned in 90% of health and safety job adverts. 

What is NEBOSH?

The National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health is a UK-based independent health and safety examination board. Their qualifications are currently available in 33 countries from 600 providers, serving more than 50,000 clients annually. 

Although NEBOSH offer internationally recognised qualifications, they are not a direct training provider. Rather, they supply syllabuses and methods of assessment for NEBOSH Accredited Course Providers. NEBOSH certified qualifications are suited to a variety of competence levels and are designed to meet the health, safety and environmental requirements of all workplaces. 

The NEBOSH Diploma and Certificate are two of the most popular and well regarded health and safety qualifications available. But what distinguishes them from each other? We have outlined some key features and differences to help you decide which one suits you best.

The NEBOSH Certificate

The NEBOSH Certificate is the most prevalent health and safety qualification in the UK. The certificate has no formal entry requirements and can be attained by managers, supervisors and operational staff alike. The certificate can aid the career progression of health and safety personnel, as well as those requiring an intermediate awareness of health and safety practices to supplement their career role. 

NEBOSH offer up to nine specialised certificates for both international and national participants, covering a diverse range of industries including construction, fire safety, oil and gas operationsenvironmental management and well-being in the workplace.

The NEBOSH Diploma

The NEBOSH Diploma is one of the most prestigious and comprehensive health and safety qualifications available. The diploma builds upon the skills gained from the NEBOSH certificate, and despite having no formal entry requirements, participants without previous health and safety qualifications or experience will find it difficult to pass. Those taking the diploma are likely to be pursuing a long term career as a health and safety practitioner, or seeking a senior health and safety role within an organisation.

According to the British Safety Council, 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.

Methods of Learning and Assessment  

NEBOSH Certificate NEBOSH Diploma
  • 3 units, consisting of 2 x 2 hour examinations and a practical assessment.

  • Attainable through online, distance or classroom-based learning. 

  • 4 units, consisting of 3 x 3 hour examinations and 8,000 word assignment. 

  • Attainable through online, distance or classroom-based learning. 

How long do they take?

The time each course takes to complete is dependent on your desired learning method and the pace you wish to study at. NEBOSH certificates require a minimum of 70 taught hours and approximately 55 hours of private study. The diploma is much more rigorous and demands up to 500 hours of study from participants.

Both qualifications can be completed at the workplace, remotely, or at an accredited provider's training centre. Completion can also be spread out across a number of weeks or months, depending on the timeframes offered by your NEBOSH Accredited Course Provider. 

How much do they cost?

Course fees for both the diploma and certificate are determined by the individual NEBOSH Accredited Course Provider and can vary depending on the format of the course. The fee for a certificate usually begins at £400, with diplomas often priced at a minimum fee of £1200. Once acquired, neither qualification expires and NEBOSH does not require qualifications to be periodically re-taken.

Institute Membership 

Both qualifications offer successful participants the opportunity to become members of some of the world's largest health and safety institutes, including IOSH (Institution of Occupational Safety and Health) and IIRSM (Institution of Occupational Safety and Health).

NEBOSH Certificate       NEBOSH Diploma    
  • Technical Membership of IOSH (Tech IOSH)
  • Associate membership of the IIRSM.
  • Graduate membership of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (Grad IOSH)
  • Option to progress to chartered                membership (CMIOSH).
  • Membership of the IIRSM (MIIRSM)

IOSH and IIRSM membership offers a wide range of benefits to NEBOSH qualification holders. This includes access to research, learning materials and networking opportunities. The higher the level of membership, the more these benefits are enhanced, as well as the ability to steer your health and safety career towards greater prospects. Membership holders also have the opportunity to use the relevant acronym before their name.

Is a NEBOSH Certificate or Diploma right for you?

Compare accredited courses and elevate your career.

NEBOSH Certificates                      NEBOSH Diplomas

About the Author

Oli is a writer passionate about storytelling and the transformative power of learning. At, he is responsible for creating useful articles that guide training buyers towards the correct L&D solutions for their needs.


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Last updated: 15 Jul 2019

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