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NVQ Level 6 vs NEBOSH Diploma -Which Course Should I Choose?

If you currently work in any kind of health and safety role, you will understand the importance of career progression and professional development. With this in mind, you may be exploring options for your next training course. A degree-level qualification is often required for a senior position, but how do you choose which one to take?

If you have already undertaken the NEBOSH National General Certificate, it may seem logical to take the next step within the NEBOSH framework, which would mean studying for the NEBOSH diploma. But the NVQ Level 6 is an equally respected degree-equivalent qualification.

In this article, we will explore the differences between the two to help you decide which is right for you.


What is the NEBOSH Diploma?

As a health and safety professional, you are probably familiar with the National Examination Board in Occupational Health and Safety (NEBOSH). This globally-respected provider of health-and safety qualifications trains over 50,000 people per year across its range of courses.

The NEBOSH National Diploma is commonly regarded as the first step on a journey to become a health and safety consultant or a chartered health and safety practitioner. At present, over 10,000 professionals hold this qualification.

You can learn more about NEBOSH in our informative article NEBOSH Training and Certificates Explained.


What is the NVQ Level 6 in Occupational Health & Safety?

NVQs are the leading vocational qualifications in the United Kingdom. They are designed with a practical, evidence-based approach to learning, and can usually be studied whilst you continue to work.

The NVQ Level 6 Occupational Health & Safety qualification is optimised for individuals with responsibilities like developing and implementing health and safety procedures in a workplace. If you work full-time in a health and safety role, this could be for you.


NEBOSH Diploma vs NVQ Level 6: What are the Differences?

If you like an academic style of learning, the NEBOSH Diploma may be the better option for you. It is assessed digitally by Open Book Examinations, meaning your exams can be sat from home. The learning options are:

  • Classroom.
  • Virtual classroom.
  • Distance learning.

Candidates are given access to a tutor or a student support team depending on the type of learning they undertake. The individual learning experience is supported this way.

NVQ Level 6 is often a better fit for individuals who prefer a practical education style where you learn on the job. If you wish to continue working full-time whilst you study, this can be the perfect solution. It is assessed on a portfolio basis, rather than through exams, which is a popular option for many.


Who are the NEBOSH Diploma and NVQ Level 6 qualifications for?

If you are interested in taking on the NEBOSH Diploma, we recommend that you meet the following criteria:

  • You are a health and safety professional.
  • You have several years of experience in your role.
  • You have already completed a Level 3 qualification, preferably a NEBOSH Certificate.

If the NVQ Level 6 is your preferences, the criteria for the ideal candidate are as follows:

  • 3-5 years’ experience in management or senior management, including health and safety responsibilities.
  • You have already completed an NVQ Level 5 that you can upgrade to Level 6.

You don’t necessarily have to meet all these criteria perfectly, but they give an idea of who might be a better fit for each type of qualification.


NEBOSH Diploma Course Delivery

The NEBOSH Diploma is made up of 3 units, and they can be taught in a classroom or online. The course duration includes 6 weeks of classroom study or 450-500 hours through distance learning. As you study, you will be given access to a library of online learning resources and activities. Revision supplements and mock exam papers are also included to assist with your preparation.

NVQ Level 6 Occupational Health & Safety Course Delivery

NVQ Level 6, on the other hand, is made up of 10 units. It will take you between 12 and 18 months to complete your training. The NVQ Level 6 Diploma is not taught in the same way that the NEBOSH Diploma is. Instead, you study remotely via distance learning. In order to pass the certification, you must assemble a work-based portfolio and you will be assigned a personal mentor. This person will provide remote support for the duration of the course, including ongoing feedback on the portfolio as it develops.

How is the NEBOSH diploma marked?

To assess the NEBOSH Diploma, there will be a single assignment and two case studies. All of this is done as Open Book Exams, which can be done from home.

How is the NVQ Level 6 Occupational Health & Safety marked?

The NCQ Level 6 is assessed by invigilators who look through the portfolio of evidence you assemble during your studies. This will cover the content of the 11 learning modules, with an additional case study based on the evidence in your portfolio. No formal exams are required.

How much does a NEBOSH diploma cost?

The cost of the NEBOSH Diploma depends on the style of learning and the training provider. When you do it with us, you complete your training remotely with a personalised e-portfolio and the cost is £1,695 plus VAT.

How much does the NVQ Level 6 Occupational Health & Safety cost?

Studying the NVQ Level 6, meanwhile, costs £1,795 plus VAT, so the costs are similar for both. Don’t forget, you could also explore funding options for both courses and it’s always with speaking to your employer who will likely contribute towards the cost and your ongoing development.


Benefits and Considerations - NEBOSH Diploma vs NVQ Level 6

When weighing up whether to opt for the NEBOSH Diploma or NVQ Level 6, you need to explore the advantages and disadvantages for each and make your own assessment. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each to help with your comparison.

NEBOSH Diploma Benefits

Here are the benefits of choosing the NEBOSH Diploma to further your studies:

  • Academic qualification equivalent to a degree, transferable across industries.
  • Flexible study options depending on provider, including classroom, virtual classroom, and distance learning.
  • Builds on the knowledge a candidate may have acquired on previous NEBOSH training courses.
  • You can add DipNEBOSH after your name, with eligibility for CMIOSH and GradIOSH in some circumstances.
  • Many employers prefer the NEBOSH Diploma.

NEBOSH Diploma Considerations

Naturally, there are some considerations to make when choosing this certification:

  • It requires a commitment to a long, intensive period of study.
  • You must complete open book exams, which is not a desirable choice for many.

NVQ Level 6 Benefits

If you were to choose the NVQ Level 6 route, you would enjoy the following benefits:

  • Study is work-based, enabling you to continue with your job uninterrupted.
  • The portfolio-based assessment format emphasises real-life experience gained whilst working.
  • You won’t have to take part in any written exams.
  • You will be eligible for CMIOSH and GradIOSH with the relevant industry experience.

NVQ Level 6 Considerations

Here are the considerations to be mindful of before choosing the NVQ Level 6:

  • The course takes longer to complete than the NEBOSH Diploma
  • Remote studying, with no taught modules, requires discipline and commitment to keep up.

Final Thoughts on NEBOSH Diploma vs NVQ Level 6

Both these qualifications are highly regarded and provide you with the knowledge and skills to progress your career in health and safety. Ultimately, the difference lies in the approaches to learning and assessment. You need to take an honest look at your own career and the type of learner you are.

If you are a health and safety professional who thrives in an academic environment, the NEBOSH Diploma may be the better option for you. However, if you are in management or another high-level position and need to progress your health and safety certification whilst working, the NVQ Level 6 may be a better fit.

If you would like to learn more about either course, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We can answer your questions and offer further guidance that will help you determine the best option for you.


Why choose PIP Services for your NEBOSH or NVQ Level 6 training?

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

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 also offer Health and Safety consultancy for businesses of all sizes. Please get in touch if you would like to book a free health and safety consultation.

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.



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