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What Is NEBOSH General Certificate?

The NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health & Safety, also known as the NGC is the most widely held health and safety qualification in the UK. The NGC will provide you with a foundation of broad knowledge on key health and safety issues for example: HSE legislation; hazards; human factors and risk assessments.

The NEBOSH General Certificate course is split into 3 units, 2 of which are taught units covering a wide range of health and safety issues ranging from workplace hazards and risk control to fire safety.

The third and final unit is a work based practical assignment. Each of these units is assessed individually and all are compulsory.

The third unit (GC3) is a practical application of the things learned in NGC1 and GC2 allowing you demonstrate the understanding gained in the previous two units and requires you to complete two separate activities: a safety inspection of the workplace and a written report detailing your findings.

For more in depth information on the NEBOSH General Certificate please take a look at our What Is The NEBOSH General Certificate blog.

Why Take The NEBOSH General Certificate Course?

The NEBOSH General Certificate is the most widely recognised and requested qualification in health and safety by employers. Not only does it provide a foundation of knowledge on key health and safety topics, it also provides a great base for further health and safety learning to develop your career.

Taking the NGC will provide you with the key knowledge to provide a safe working environment for you and your colleagues which in turn promotes efficiency and productivity within the workplace. This can make you incredibly attractive to employers, particularly as 90% of health and safety roles specify one or more NEBOSH qualifications are required.

Taking the NEBOSH General Certificate will also help improve your skills outside of health and safety. It will help develop skills in leadership, interpersonal skills, and written communication skills to name only a few, all of which can be transferred to other areas of work.

If you would like more information on the benefits of taking the NEBOSH General Certificate, take a look at this blog!

How To Take The NEBOSH General Certificate?

The NGC course can be extremely flexible and there are various ways to take the course which you can choose from depending on your existing commitments, preferred learning method, location and required learning support.

Classroom Learning: This is ideal if you prefer supported learning and would like regular contact with a tutor and other learners. It means you will need to travel to a specific location to learn and will have set learning times- ideal for someone who needs a more structured approach to learning.

Online Learning: If you are in a position where you are not able to take time off work or already have commitments so a 5 or 10 day course to attend would be difficult, you can take the NGC online for a more flexible approach to learning. This allows you to work at your own pace in your own time and is ideal for those who are self-motivated.

If you would like to know more about how to take your NEBOSH qualification, take a look at our post on Ways to Take a NEBOSH Qualification for more information.

How Long Does It Take To Complete The NEBOSH General Certificate?

The length of time it takes to pass the NGC qualification depends on which type of learning method you chose.

Online Couse: This usually takes around 80 – 120 hours to complete but is flexible and can be worked around you and your other commitments.  You will have access to the learning resources and online tutor support for 12 months from the start of the course date.

Classroom Course: This usually consists of 2 split weeks (10 days), one for the NGC1 and one for the GC2 where you will be expected to travel to a single place of study on specific dates.

Remember to register your place for the exams 8 weeks before the exam date to ensure you get a space!

Take a look here for more information on how long it takes to complete the NEBOSH General Certificate course.

NEBOSH General Certificate Pass Rates & Exams

There are standard exams held four times a year for the NGC, usually in March, June, September and December. To pass your NGC you will need to take 3 exams (NGC1, GC2 and GC3). The NGC1 and GC2 are each assessed by a two-hour written exam both of which can be taken on the same day if you wish. Both exams consist of 10 short answer questions and 1 long answer - NGC1 covers the management of safety, and GC2 covers controlling hazards. These exams also need to be booked 8 weeks in advance. The GC3 is assessed by a two-hour practical exam at your place of work which needs to be returned to your course provider within 14 days of the exam date. This will rely on you completing two activities:

  1. A safety inspection of a workplace to identify common hazards and suggest appropriate and cost-effective control measures.
  2. A written report detailing your findings from the inspection, persuasively arguing management to take action on your suggestions.

In order to pass the exam successfully, you must achieve a 45% minimum on the NCG1 and GC2 whereas the GC3 requires a 60% minimum to pass. You will receive your results 10 weeks after the exam date.

Take a look at our NGC Exams & Pass Rates blog to find out more about the NEBOSH Certificate exams.

How Much Does NEBOSH General Certificate Cost?

The cost of your course can depend on a number of things including the type of course you want to take, the learning method you choose and your course provider. Usually, an online NGC in Occupational Health & Safety costs around £450 with classroom learning often being slightly more expensive.

Typically the online course price doesn’t include exam fees which can be around a further £200 for the exams. If you would like to know more about NEBOSH course prices take a look at How Much Does it Cost to Take a NEBOSH General Certificate Course blog.

Studying For The NEBOSH General Certificate

Planning how to study for your NEBOSH Certificate before you start is an important factor and can significantly impact the results you get. At Astutis we recommend starting by creating a revision timetable to ensure you are able to cover each element within the course in a timely and organised way. Think about when your exam is and work backwards to create a timetable to ensure you are able to work your study time around your existing commitments.

Study sessions should be kept to no longer than 20 minutes to 1 hour to ensure your concentration is maintained and using study cards can be a great way of memorising the tricky details in bite sized chunks.

Answering past exam questions is also a great way to familiarise yourself with the types of questions you will be asked and gives you a chance to try answering questions under a time constraint. Remember, in the exams you will have 11 questions to answer in 2 hours so practising your timing is essential to ensure you get all the questions answered.

For tips on how to study for the NEBOSH General Certificate take a look at this helpful article.

NEBOSH General Certificate Commonly Asked Questions

Taking on a new course can be a daunting prospect and one that takes a lot of thinking about. The amount of time and money invested in getting the best result possible is significant so it is crucial you understand what to expect. As a result of this there are a number of commonly asked questions which we have aimed to answer as best as possible on this page and below:

  • Who is the NEBOSH certificate for? The NEBOSH National Certificate  is aimed at people working within the UK who are just starting their role or career in health and safety.
  • Can anyone take the NEBOSH certificate? As the NEBOSH Certificate is a foundation level qualification there is no prior knowledge required in order to take it. So, yes anyone is able to take this course!
  • Does a NEBOSH certificate expire? Once you have completed all three units there is no need to retake any of them again however you will need to complete all 3 units within 5 years to pass successfully.  

If you would like to take a look at more commonly asked questions around the NEBOSH Certificate please take a look here.

NEBOSH General Certificate Taster Pack

The NEBOSH General Certificate is a great place to start if you are looking to become health and safety qualified. The NGC course will give you knowledge on how to effect health and safety topics in the workplace and confidence when controlling and preventing hazards.

Want to know what the course is like? We have put together a handy NEBOSH General Certificate taster pack so you know what to expect.

This free NEBOSH General Certificate Taster Pack includes:

  • A course syllabus so you can see how the course is split into units
  • Snippets from a number of the units covered within the course
  • An activity and practice exam question to give you a taste of what's to come!

Fill out the form to get your free guide now!


A well-paced presentation where the tutor is always energetic and friendly. A very positive experience that will hopefully lead to a career in health and safety.

Health and Safety Assistant Carter Lauren Construction

Absolutely happy with the service and would recommend Astutis, from my initial call to talk through my options, to any queries I had. Brilliant.

Ann Marriot NEBOSH General Certificate Online