Table of Contents

What is the NEBOSH General Certificate?

The NEBOSH General Certificate in Occupational Health & Safety is one of the most widely held health and safety qualification in the world. It will give you the skills and knowledge to create a safe and healthy place for people to work and visit. 

The course is available in two versions - national and international. Both are split into 23 units - NG/IG1 and NG/IG2. 

NG1/IG1 is a taught unit covering a wide range of health and safety issues like regulation, hazards, management systems and risk control. It's assessed by a 2-hour written exam paper which covers elements 1-4. 

NG2/IG2 is a practical unit where you must complete a practical risk assessment. It assesses your application of elements 5-11. 

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 NEBOSH General Certificate 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!

Who is the NEBOSH General Certificate for?

The NEBOSH General Certificate is a great starting point when it comes to health and safety and doesn't necessarily need to be taken by those already in health and safety roles. In fact, 70% of people who take the course are in roles outside of health and safety. Typical job roles can include: 

  • Health and safety advisors/officers
  • General managers/supervisors
  • Public service workers
  • HR personnel
  • Operational managers
  • Security workers
  • Directors/CEO’s

There are two versions of the course - national and international. The national course should be taken by those who are based in the UK as this focuses on UK based legislation. The international version is for anyone working outside of the UK and focuses on international best practice.

You can find more information on who the course is for here. 

Where is the NEBOSH General Certificate recognised?

The National Examination Body in Occupational Safety and Health is a leader in the health and safety industry globally. Working with businesses in over 132 countries, NEBOSH have a number of highly respected and widely recognised courses under their name.

The NEBOSH General Certificate is their most popular level 3 qualification.  Both the national and international version of the qualification are recognised worldwide by employers and professional memberships. See more on this here.

NEBOSH General Certificate course entry requirements

One of the many advantages of the NEBOSH General Certificate is that it’s suitable for everyone. You don’t need any other qualifications and experience to take it. 

That said, you should make sure you’re able to commit to the recommended number of hours of study (113 hours) to be able to successfully pass the course. You’ll need to be able to understand and discuss technical concepts, so you’ll also need to have a good level of reading and writing English skills.

Exams for the NEBOSH General Certificate must be taken in English, but you’ll be able to request additional time and a dictionary if English isn’t your first language.

How hard is the NEBOSH General Certificate?

The NEBOSH General Certificate is a level-3 qualification, equivalent to a UK A-level. Those who pass the course are qualified to manage health and safety and protect people from illness and serious injuries – that’s serious job, they don’t just hand it out to anyone!

That said, over 175,000 people have gained the NEBOSH General Certificate qualification since it was launched. So, providing you put in plenty of study time and prepare well in advance for your exams, there is no reason why you would not be able to pass.

See more about how hard the NEBOSH General Certificate is here.

How to take the NEBOSH General Certificate?

The NEBOSH General Certificate 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 NEBOSH General Certificate 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. It's also great for international learners. 

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.

NEBOSH General Certificate online

As mentioned above, choosing an online course can provide greater flexibility to learning and means the NEBOSH General Certificate can be taken around existing responsibilities. Quite often, online courses are also cheaper than those taken in the classroom!

Choosing an online course does however require more motivation and self initiated learning which for some, can be a challenge. Coming up with a study plan for your time is the best way of managing this and will provide you with the framework you need to ensure you have plenty of time to learn the course material.

Setting goals is also a great way to ensure you are moving at a pace that will allow you to pass the course in time.

Overall, online learning is favoured by many and any good provider will ensure you have a remote tutor to help you along your journey to becoming health and safety qualified.  See here for more information on what to expect from an online NEBOSH course. 

How long does it take to complete the NEBOSH General Certificate?

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

Online Course: 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). You'll 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's two assessments for the NEBOSH General Certificate:

  • A 2-hour written exam to test what you know
  • A 3-hour practical risk assessment to test what you can do

The written exam assesses your understanding of the health and safety management issues covered in elements 1-4. You need to sit this in an exam centre under exam conditions. Exams held four times a year in March, June, September and December, but some providers will run additional dates throughout the year, too. 

The practical risk assessment assesses your ability to control the hazards covered in elements 5-11. You can take this in your own workplace and submit it via email or post. 

You need to pass both assessments to achivee your NEBOSH General Certificate. Take a look at our  Exams & Pass Rates blog to find out more about the NEBOSH Certificate exams.

Does the NEBOSH General Certificate expire?

No, once you have successfully passed both units of the qualification it’s yours forever. However if you’re hoping to progress onto other NEBOSH qualifications, you’ll need to do so within 5 years.

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 NEBOSH General Certificate 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 depending on your location. 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.

Is there funding for the NEBOSH General Certificate?

There are funding options available in the UK for the NEBOSH General Certificate, however access to this funding is dependant on individual circumstances. For example, NEBOSH have teamed up with the Charities Safety Group to help qualify those who work at charities and voluntary sector groups.

If you have served in the armed forces, you can also apply for funding through Ministry of Defence Enhanced Learning Credits. The amount of assistance received will depend on how long you were in the military for, but you can get up to 80% of your course paid for through Ministry of Defence Enhanced Learning Credits. 

Personal loans and CITB funding are also available for those eligible. Find out more about funding for the NEBOSH General Certificate here.

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.

How to choose a NEBOSH General Certificate provider?

Choosing a provider for a course like the NEBOSH General Certificate can be really difficult for 2 reasons.

  1. Because there are so many providers
  2. Because you want to ensure you get the best value for money

There are many ways to help you choose which provider would be best for you. We always recommend looking at online reviews and testimonials to understand things like course quality and level of customer service. However, it is also important to consider things like the types of learning they provide, what course material you will be provided with and how much tutor support you will get.

These things are crucial to understand when choosing a provider to ensure you get the right level of support and are able to choose form online and classroom based learning options.

Finally, pass marks are also an important thing to consider. You need to have confidence that your provider will help you gain that all important pass mark so ensure you check out what their pass rates are and how students are prepared for their exams at the end of the course.

See more on choosing a NEBOSH General Certificate provider here.

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 General Certificate for? The NEBOSH General Certificate is aimed at people who are just starting their role or career in health and safety. There are two versions - national and international. 
  • 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 the 2 units there is no need to retake any of them again. However you will need to complete both 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 National vs International General Certificate

Technically, the NEBOSH National General Certificate and NEBOSH International General Certificate 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, 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. But they reference different legislation and regulation in the finer details. Find out more about the difference in versions here.

Similar courses

There are 3 main players when it comes to foundation level health and safety qualifications and these include the NEBOSH General Certificate, the NVQ Level 3 Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety and the new NCFE IOSH Level 3 Certificate in Safety and Health for Business.

While these courses qualify someone to the same level, they differ greatly when it comes to learning method. This is demonstrated below:

  • NEBOSH General Certificate: As discussed previously on this page,  the NEBOSH General Certificate provides an understanding of HSE regulations, hazards and risk assessments, acting as a foundation for a career in health and safety.
  • NVQ Level 3 Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety:  This qualification is a worked-related competency based qualification and concentrates more on assessing current skills instead of teaching new knowledge. This course is aimed more towards those who are already in a health and safety role.
  • NCFE IOSH Level 3 Certificate in Safety and Health for Business: This course focuses on providing a business and technical focus towards health and safety, allowing for a more strategic approach.  Again, this course is aimed towards those already in a health and safety role and is a portfolio based qualification.

Learn more about these similar courses in this article.

NEBOSH General Certificate Info Pack

The NEBOSH General Certificate is the most widely held and recognised health and safety qualification in the UK and provides a great starting point for a career in health and safety.

Starting a new course can be daunting, especially when you're not sure what to expect. That's why we're offering you this NEBOSH General Certificate Info Pack.

This free NEBOSH Certificate Info Pack includes:

  • everything you need to know about the NEBOSH General Certificate
  • an outline of what you will learn in the NEBOSH General Certificate
  • An understanding on how to take the Certificate course and what learning options are available

    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