Skip to content

NEED ADVICE? CALL FREE ON 👉 0800 111 6303

Rated Excellent

NEBOSH vs IOSH - Which Course is Right for Me?

Are you trying to decide which is better out of a NEBOSH or IOSH qualification? There are various distinctions and similarities between the two, so we have created this article to answer some of the most common questions when comparing them.

Both NEBOSH and IOSH are widely-recognised qualifications relating to health and safety. There are multiple courses available for each, tailored to certain industries and job roles. Both are members of the OSHCR, which is a public register of the UK’s health and safety advice consultants.

But the biggest distinction between the two is that IOSH is both an awarding body and a member organisation, whilst NEBOSH is only an awarding body. Let’s compare IOSH and NEBOSH in more detail.


NEBOSH and IOSH Compared

Let’s take a look at exactly what each organisation does to help you get an idea of which is better for you.


This is the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health. It has been offering qualifications since 1979, and is recognised by prominent membership organisations like IIRSM and IEMA.

The NEBOSH General Certificate is a highly recognised and respected qualification throughout the health and safety industry. Other popular NEBOSH certifications and diplomas include

NEBOSH certificates are internationally recognised, and you can complete your training in many of them with us.


The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health) is a professional membership organisation for health and safety personnel. It is an independent, not-for-profit institution that was originally founded in 1953 as the Institution of Industrial Safety Officers.

There are various IOSH training courses available, with entry-level courses for people looking to learn the basics as well as higher-level courses for supervisory and management roles. You don’t need to be an IOSH member to complete an IOSH course, and popular options include:

  • IOSH Working Safely.
  • IOSH Managing Safely.
  • IOSH Leading Safely.

NEBOSH vs IOSH: Which is Better?

Both NEBOSH and IOSH are well-known and respected organisations in the health and safety world. While both aim to improve workplace safety, there are some key differences in terms of their focus and approach to training.

Course Length

NEBOSH qualifications are typically more comprehensive in terms of the course length and subject matter. IOSH courses are usually modular in nature. When you undertake an IOSH course, the focus is on providing practical guidance on the management of health and safety in the workplace. NEBOSH, on the other hand, aims to provide more in-depth knowledge of health and safety principles and practices.

For example, the NEBOSH General Certificate takes 9 days to complete in-classroom, or 113 hours as an online learning course. IOSH Managing Safety, meanwhile, takes 3 days of classroom learning or 24 hours learning online. Thus, NEBOSH requires a more extensive study period.

Organisation Types

IOSH is, first and foremost, a membership organisation. Its goal is to promote excellence in occupational safety and health. The training courses it offers are designed to support its members and the wider profession. NEBOSH, meanwhile, focuses entirely on health and safety training, delivering qualifications that are recognised globally.

With IOSH, you have a range of membership levels, including:

  • Affiliate.
  • Associate.
  • Technical.
  • Chartered.

Many of its training courses serve as introductions to things like health and safety management. NEBOSH offers a range of comprehensive qualifications, like the NEBOSH National General Certificate, which are widely recognised as leading qualifications within the health and safety sector.


IOSH qualifications are typically designed for non-health and safety personnel. It allows these individuals to increase their workplace efficiency and manage risk and resources.

NEBOSH courses are tailored more towards health and safety professionals who want to progress in their careers, or those wanting to become a health and safety consultant. The certifications on offer are professional-grade and provide certifications that help people progress to a higher level.


NEBOSH and IOSH: Key Differences

With the previous section in mind, let’s sum up the comparison between NEBOSH and IOSH. Essentially, everyone has a role in ensuring a safe working environment. If you are not a health and safety professional, but want to dip your toe into health and safety, IOSH is for you. NEBOSH is more appropriate if you already work in health and safety and want to progress your career.

Both awarding bodies are well-respected and recognised. Qualifications from both can fortify your CV and will be recognised by employers and peers around the world. It is possible to pick and mix courses to get a more comprehensive record to your name.

Essentially, you don’t have to be a health and safety professional to take an IOSH course. But NEBOSH courses generally demand some skill and experience in the sector, and may offer more value for professionals looking to advance their career.


What is IOSH Membership?

If you take IOSH courses, you can progress through the different levels of membership:

  • Student: This is for anyone studying for a career in occupational health and safety.
  • Affiliate: Open to everyone who pays the membership fee.
  • Associate: Available to anyone who has completed a diploma-level qualification.
  • Technical: This is for people who work in health and safety and are on a CPD programme.
  • Graduate: Open to anyone who has completed an IOSH-accredited degree-level qualification.
  • Chartered: This is recognised as the pinnacle of the health and safety profession.
  • Chartered Fellow: Awarded if you have been a chartered member for 5+ years and demonstrated outstanding commitment to the profession.


Which is a higher qualification: NEBOSH or IOSH?

NEBOSH qualifications take longer to complete and offer a higher level of qualification upon completion. IOSH courses provide a more general awareness of health and safety, while NEBOSH courses deliver a more comprehensive understanding and can be equivalent to degree qualifications.

How long does an IOSH certificate last?

An IOSH certification never actually expires. However, an IOSH certificate holder is required to attend a refresher course every 3 years to ensure their knowledge is up-to-date and the qualification is retained, so you could say that the certificate lasts 3 years.

How long does a NEBOSH course take to complete?

The NEBOSH General Certificate takes 80-120 hours of study to complete. The NEBOSH General Diploma is more comprehensive and takes most people 9-36 months to complete.


Why choose PIP Services for your NEBOSH or IOSH training?

We’re an accredited CITB, NEBOSH, IOSH, IWFM & CITB training centre, as well as a ProQual-approved NVQ centre.

We provided a comprehensive national training solution that specialises in delivering NVQs from Level 1 to Level 7, covering trades such as carpentry right through to Construction Supervision, Construction Management and Health and Safety.

Since launching in 2005, we have rapidly progressed with thousands of clients coming through our training centre in the heart of Dagenham each year, as well as providing online options where available.

We are rated 4.9/5 on Trustpilot, and you can read our reviews here. If you would like to speak to us about your training needs, please get in touch using the button below.



Your cart is currently empty.

Start Shopping

Select options