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NEBOSH or IOSH - Which is right for me?

Are you trying to decide between a NEBOSH or IOSH course? Want to find out more about the difference between these qualification providers? Here we will answer some of the most common questions.

NEBOSH and IOSH provide widely recognised qualifications in health and safety. They both offer a selection of courses, tailored to different industries and job roles. Similarly, they are both members of the OSHCR, a public register of UK-based health and safety advice consultants.

There are, however, several differences between the two. The main distinction is that NEBOSH is an awarding body, whereas IOSH is a member organisation, as well as an awarding body.

Let’s look at a few more differences between the two qualification providers.

What is NEBOSH?

NEBOSH stands for National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health.

Since 1979, the awarding body has been offering health and safety qualifications recognised by membership organisations, including IIRSM and IEMA.

The NEBOSH General Certificate is highly recognised throughout the industry and shows that the candidate has a strong understanding of health and safety.

Train Direct and our partners provide the most popular NEBOSH certificates and diplomas, including:

  • NEBOSH National General Certificate

  • NEBOSH National Fire Certificate

  • NEBOSH National Certificate in Construction Health & Safety

  • NEBOSH National Diploma

  • NEBOSH International Diploma

These NEBOSH certificates are internationally recognised and can be studied in-house, in a classroom, or via online learning. These options allow participants to complete the training at their own pace before undertaking the final assessment to gain the relevant certificate or employers.

What is IOSH?

IOSH (Institution of Occupational Safety and Health) is a professional membership organisation for health and safety professionals. The not-for-profit institution is independent and was originally known as the Institution of Industrial Safety Officers when founded in 1953.

Train Direct and our partners offer a selection of IOSH training courses, including Working Safely, Managing Safely and Leading Safely. The higher-level courses are best suited to individuals in supervisory and management roles, whereas entry-level IOSH courses (like Working Safely) are suitable for staff who want to learn the basics of workplace health and safety.

There are no entry requirements and no need to be an IOSH member to complete any IOSH course. Workplace safety is the responsibility of everyone, which is why there are qualifications available for people working in different organisational roles.

You can find out more about our IOSH courses, below:

  • IOSH Working Safely

  • IOSH Managing Safely

  • IOSH Leading Safely

The difference between NEBOSH and IOSH courses

NEBOSH qualifications tend to be more comprehensive in both course length and subject matter, whereas IOSH training comprises modular courses.

The NEBOSH General Certificate training takes 10 days via classroom learning, or 100 hours of online learning. IOSH Managing Safely takes 3 days of classroom learning or 24 hours of online learning. NEBOSH Diplomas require a more intensive study period of 6 weeks.

IOSH is typically built for non-health and safety personnel who are looking to increase their workplace efficiency and manage risk and resources.

NEBOSH is designed for health and safety professionals who already have a career or want to further their career in the industry, and achieve a professional certification at a high level.


  • NEBOSH is designed for professionals who want or already have a career in Health and Safety.

  • It is suitable if you’re looking to further your career within Health and Safety, especially if you want to study towards a comprehensive qualification.

  • NEBOSH training courses take considerably longer than IOSH and, as a result, have a higher-level qualification achieved at the end.

  • NEBOSH Certificates are a Level 3 qualification and provide a good foundation in health and safety principles

  • NEBOSH Diplomas are a Level 6 qualification and degree-level. They are more advanced than IOSH courses and NEBOSH Certificates are requires longer study.


  • IOSH is suitable for non-health and safety personnel who are looking to manage risk and resources.

  • You will study on a modular basis, gaining smaller qualifications more quickly that build towards higher-level knowledge and practical skills.

  • It provides health and safety awareness to individuals who might have an interest in workplace safety or some responsibility for the welfare of others, but who do not normally work specifically in health and safety roles.

  • IOSH courses are suitable for team members or managers looking to get up to speed on health and safety fundamentals. If you're already qualified or working as a health and safety professional and have other accreditations, then a NEBOSH qualification is more suitable.

IOSH membership

By taking IOSH courses, you can pass through five different levels of membership:

  • Affiliate Membership of IOSH is open to everyone who pays the membership fee

  • Associate Membership (AIOSH) is achieved by completing a diploma-level qualification

  • If you then go on to join a CPD (continuous professional development) programme, you can progress to Technical Membership (Tech IOS) - this level is mainly for people who work in a full-time or part-time health and safety role and is dependent on maintaining your CPD programme

  • Graduate membership (Grad IOSH) is open to those who have completed an IOSH-accredited degree-level qualification

  • Chartered membership (CMIOSH) is recognised as the pinnacle of the health and safety profession.

Book a NEBOSH or IOSH course

If you're looking to book a course, then head over to our training pages:

NEBOSH courses

IOSH courses

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