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Which health and safety qualification should I get?

Whether you’re just starting out in occupational safety and health (OSH) or looking to change the direction of your career, you’ll likely need a relevant qualification.

Health and safety qualifications iStock

Health and safety qualifications are designed to give you the industry-specific knowledge and skills required to work in the OSH field. There are options at all levels – from introductory courses to university degrees.

Courses versus qualifications

If you’re doing OSH tasks as part of a wider role, an awareness course such as Working Safely will teach you the basics of safety and health.

If you want to become an OSH professional, you should look at either a level 3 qualification or a degree.

Level 3 qualifications are generally suitable for junior posts as well as people moving into or working in a first operational role. Level 6 qualifications, such as a degree, are usually required for more senior roles.

IOSH accredits numerous qualifications/programmes around the world. Check out the accredited qualifications list to find your perfect match – you can filter by country, study type and IOSH membership level.

What does IOSH accreditation mean?

IOSH is the leading global chartered body for people responsible for workplace health and safety. IOSH seeks to continually improve standards of competency in the profession. One of the ways it does this is by accrediting OSH qualifications/programmes that meet the relevant academic grade entry requirements as set out for IOSH membership.

IOSH accredits qualifications/programmes offered by higher education institutions and awarding organisations at levels 3 and up (using the European Qualifications Framework). These are fully mapped to the IOSH competency framework, which covers the technical, core and behavioural skills needed by today’s OSH professional.

Qualifications and IOSH member grades

There’s more to developing yourself than picking the right course. Nothing better demonstrates your desire and commitment to being the best possible OSH professional than joining a professional body.

IOSH encourages its members to progress through the IOSH grades to deepen their knowledge and skills and enhance their employability. The qualifications you need depend on the membership level.

For Student membership, you should be studying an IOSH qualification, IOSH-accredited qualification or be a safety, health and environment (SHE) technician apprenticeship.

Technical Members (TechIOSH) need an accredited level 3 qualification plus one year’s practical experience. For Certified membership (CertIOSH), you need an accredited level 6 qualification plus two years’ practical experience or five to 10 years’ OSH leadership experience.

What level is IOSH’s Managing Safely course?

IOSH Managing Safely® is the market-leading health and safety course for line managers in any sector worldwide. This awareness-level course is an internationally recognised and respected certification that’s designed to help anyone and everyone in a working role who wants to learn the basics of safety and health.

It’s just one of IOSH’s suite of awareness courses across four categories – core skills, management education, executive education and professional development – to help you develop whatever stage you’re at in your career.