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Training : NEBOSH Courses : NEBOSH Diploma : FAQ's : Diploma vs Certificate

NEBOSH International Diploma vs NEBOSH International General Certificate

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One of the most common questions our advisors get asked is “which NEBOSH course should I take; the Diploma or Certificate?”

The main difference between the two courses is the level at which they sit. The NEBOSH International Diploma is a level 6 qualification, whereas the NEBOSH International General Certificate is a level 3 qualification.

Some contact us with hopes of taking the NEBOSH International Diploma but don’t have the right experience. Some contact us about the NEBOSH International General Certificate when they have the ability to aim higher.

The answer to which course is best for you largely lies on your current knowledge, experience and ability to learn. To help you decide, we’ve broke down the key difference between the NEBOSH International Diploma and NEBOSH International General Certificate.

Who is the course for?

The NEBOSH International Diploma is aimed at active health and safety professionals. You should already be working in a health and safety role, such as HSE Manager, and be looking to expand your skills and knowledge to a strategic level. It’s best suited for those who are serious about a long-term career within health and safety and are looking to establish themselves within the field. The NEBOSH International Diploma is recognised as the benchmark for competent health and safety professionals who are committed to improving standards and instilling change.

The NEBOSH International General Certificate is aimed at everyone, not just those working within a health and safety role. In fact, 70% of learners who take the NEBSOH International General Certificate don’t even list health and safety as their primary responsibility, such as HR Managers, Operational Managers or Line Managers.

It’s best suited for those who want to gain a broad understanding of health and safety management to improve their workplace. It’s also ideal for those just starting out in their health and safety career, such as HSE advisors, and need to develop their skills. The IGC is largely seen as the first step in a health and safety career.

Course Level

What NEBOSH course is right for you?The NEBOSH International Diploma is a level 6 qualification, comparable to an undergraduate degree. As with any high-level course, it’ll require you to put in a lot of your own research. In fact, the total study time of the NEBOSH International Diploma is 466 hours, which includes 240 hours of private study.

The amount of content covered in the NEBOSH International Diploma is vast, and you’ll need to be able to prove your understanding by completing a large work-based project and three 3-hour written exams.

The NEBOSH International General Certificate is a level 3 qualification, comparable to an A-level. As a foundation level course, it doesn’t require as many learning hours; 133 hours in total. Make no mistake; it’s still a tough course to complete. You’ll be expected to put in 53 hours private study. You’ll also need to complete a risk-assessment project and two 2-hour exams.

Course Content

Both courses teach you how to manage health and safety and control workplace hazards. However there is a big difference in the amount of content covered in each course.

The NEBOSH International Diploma builds on the topics covered in the NEBOSH International General Certificate, but in much more detail. It’s broken down into 4 units:

  • Unit IA: Managing Health and Safety
  • Unit IB: Hazardous Substances/ Agents
  • Unit IC: Workplace and Work Equipment Safety
  • Unit ID: Practical Application of Health and Safety Theory

The NEBOSH International General Certificate broadly covers the key elements of managing health and safety at a foundation level. It’s broken down into 3 units:

  • Unit IGC1: The Management of Health and Safety
  • Unit GC: Managing Common Workplace Hazards
  • Unit GC: Health and Safety Practical Application

Entry Requirements

Although there are no formal requirements for the NEBOSH International Diploma, the course itself expands on the topics covered in the NEBOSH International General Certificate, so it’s always recommended you complete the International General Certificate before embarking on the NEBOSH International Diploma.

If you haven’t completed the NEBOSH International General Certificate, you should have at least 5 years’ experience working within health and safety, or have completed another level-3 qualification to make sure you have an understanding of key health and safety topics.

The NEBOSH International Certificate has no entry requirements and is suitable for anyone, at any point in their career.

Recognition

Both the NEBOSH International Diploma and NEBOSH International General Certificate are recognised by employers, governments and professional memberships around the world.

The NEBOSH International General Certificate is considered an essential qualification for management level, while the NEBOSH International Diploma is listed as a minimum requirement for more senior health and safety roles.

The NEBOSH International Diploma is accepted as a route to entry by professional organisations and certifying bodies such as IOSH, BCRSP, BCRP and SAIOSH, making it a truly global recognised qualification.

Need help choosing a course? Contact our NEBOSH course advisors

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Find out more

NEBOSH International Diploma

The course for aspiring health & safety professionals
Learn how to take your career to a higher level

NEBOSH International Certificate

The most popular health & safety qualification
Learn where this course will take you...

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"was excellent, well organised and you can see the great effort by the Astutis team to sort any issue on spot.”

Ahmed Kamel, Sr. Research associate GTL Catalyst,
Qatar Shell Research and Technology Center, Doha Qatar 
NEBOSH International Diploma