Qualifications are becoming increasingly more important within health and safety as employers demand professional qualifications and status and are willing to offer greater salaries to those who invest in their CPD. However, what is the best route to Graduate membership of IOSH, and how do you find the course most suited to you? With many different qualification bodies varying in price and teaching style, there are many factors to consider. The main players in H&S qualifications are NEBOSH, NVQs, degrees and the newest qualification, the NCRQ. An overview of each is shown below:
- NEBOSH – the most longstanding provider with a strong reputation. Their course trainers and providers are quality assured to maintain a high level of service, and the courses are available via classroom teaching, distance learning or a mixture of both. The NEBOSH Diploma involves the successful completion of 4 modules, 3 of which are taught and examined and the final is a dissertation.
- NVQ – you must be in employment as the teaching focuses on work based learning and assesses your competency to carry out the role. The NVQ is currently being redeveloped to improve its coverage and candidates’ understanding of health and safety.
- Degree - undergraduate and postgraduate degrees are offered by a number of institutions, and prices vary based on where you study. Degrees are offered on a full-time or part-time basis and focus on knowledge, research and critical thinking. If you have an HND, then some universities offer top up courses allowing you to earn a BSc degree.
- NCRQ – this is the newest health and safety qualification and has recently been released to market. It focuses on understanding and applying health and safety concepts in the real world, learning practical measures and teaching soft skills. All study is completed via distance learning. Unlike the other qualifications, each module of NCRQ is a certificate in itself and the completion of all 3 parts results in the full NCRQ qualification and Grad IOSH accreditation.
The programme and method of study is a personal decision, and I advise that you look at the teaching format of each to decide which will work best for you. Continuing professional development is vital to a successful career in health and safety and will provide the best standing from which to progress from advisor to senior manager and beyond.
Shirley Parsons Associates