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

Relevant to every workplace, both the NEBOSH National General Certificate and the NEBOSH International General Certificate are ideal for managers, supervisors and anybody with health and safety management responsibilities. It’s also perfect for those embarking on a health and safety career and gives you a stepping stone to success. Both certificates will give you invaluable knowledge and skills AND a globally respected qualification that supports your current role and your long-term career.

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 (2 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 and teach you how to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment. But they reference different health and safety legislation and regulation.

Who are the courses for?

The NEBOSH General Certificate as a whole is suitable for everyone. We’ve had learners from Health and Safety, Engineering, Facility Management, general management and public services.

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

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 and relevant HSE Guidance and Approved Code of Practices 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).

If you’re based in the UK or have plans to move there in the future, then the NEBOSH National General Certificate 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 UK laws 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, and adopt the UK guidances. For example, Managing for health and safety, HSG65 HSE Books, NEBOSH also listed it as a reference sources for learners.

If you’re working or living outside of the UK, or you’re working or living in the UK, but you have regional health and safety responsibilities, for example, support the health and safety management in the Asia Pacific regions, then the international version will give you more scope. It’s also much more transferable. You can apply what you’ve learnt in any country around the world. So if you have plans to relocate to other 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.

It’s also accepted by global professional membership organisations such as  IOSH, the Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board, and SAIOSH.

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 and the NEBOSH remote online exam, 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.

Get answers to your questions and help with choosing the right course for you & your team.

Horizon Risk Consultancy Ltd
3M Buckley Innovation Centre,
Firth Street, Huddersfield, HD1 3BD
Tel.: 01484 937 128
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