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NEBOSH General Certificate vs NCRQ Certificate

If you need help on any NEBOSH Certificate topic, just ask in here. There is no such thing as a stupid question in health and safety!

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NEBOSH General Certificate vs NCRQ Certificate

Post by CAD » Tue Jun 18, 2019 8:53 am

Back in September, I asked the question "which offers the best job prospects the NEBOSH General Certificate or the NCRQ Certificate". There wasn’t a great deal of information online and now that I am coming towards the end of my NCRQ Certificate study, I thought I’d share a few thoughts to help anyone struggling with deciding which option to go down.

I have studied both in the last six months and at times there has been some cross over in subjects. It was never my intention to study both, however it does put me in a slightly unique position in relation to the choice between the two.

From the outset, my preferred option was NCRQ given my preferred learning style, however that is a personal preference. I will try my best to be as fair as I can.

I studied the NEBOSH General Certificate via classroom based learning with the two exams at the end of each week whilst the NCRQ was via distance learning.

My first consideration when looking at the options was to industry acceptance. The NEBOSH certificate has been the go to qualification for years. It’s seen as a must have in the Health and Safety world, the minimum standard. I have seen evidence of this myself from my own experience with people describing the NCRQ as a “mickey mouse” course, and that they would not employ someone with NCRQ over NEBOSH. It can also be demonstrated with the many job adverts with the famous phrase “must have NEBOSH”. Fortunately, I have come across people in the industry who hold the opposite opinion and are rather impressed with the quality and the content that NCRQ has to offer. From my experience it does appear to be the “older” type health and safety professionals that have taken a dislike to the NCRQ model.

There is someway to go for NCRQ to catch up with NEBOSH, particularly with recruiters as I have on many occasion found myself having to explain what NCRQ is and how it compares to NEBOSH. Ultimately, a lot of recruiters do not understand the difference between NEBOSH and IOSH, so to throw NCRQ in the mix as well is of course going to confuse matters.

Strictly speaking the NCRQ is a higher graded qualification than the NEBOSH equivalent and that does present itself during the study with the size and expectation of one or two of the written assessments. Whilst NEBOSH does have a final written assessment it is (in my opinion) a lot less in depth than the NCRQ assessments.

Essentially, the NEBOSH is majority exam based whilst the NCRQ option is written assessment. Ultimately, this difference will be the main driver to someone choosing between the two. The NEBOSH route does in theory offer the quicker way to qualify (especially if you go down the classroom study option like I did) although the marking times for NEBOSH extends this time significantly. Whilst it is possible to complete the NCRQ in the same period, it has taken me closer to a year to complete, this however was down to having a break in the middle to study for the NEBOSH exams.

Whilst the NCRQ route is all about the written assessment, do not under estimate the study that is needed before committing to completing an assessment. In fact, it is important that what you study sticks in your head as each assessment builds on the last.

When you are ready for an assessment you click a button and you are given either a two or four-week deadline depending on which assessment you are completing. You are sent a pack of documents which provides details of what is expected along with a scenario and supporting documents.

Unfortunately, one negative to the NCRQ is that they are very protective over their content, so it is very difficult to share examples of the assessments they provide. This is one of the major criticisms of the course as generally a lot of feedback from students is that they do not feel they have enough detail around the assessment criteria to give them the confidence to complete the assessment to a high enough standard. Because of this there appears a very high rate of referrals for the first assessment whilst students get to grips with the marking criteria and understand the level that is required of them.
Similarly, you could argue the NEBOSH language has its own challenges which mirrors some of the same frustrations held by NCRQ students.

Ultimately, the lack of clarification around the required criteria does result in a lot of students going above and beyond the recommended length for assessment in the hope of catching all the criteria. From previous experience studying at university at a similar level, the university will often provide a marking guide which allows students to tailor their assessments based on the requirements of the course. This is not the case with NCRQ. This observation has been fed back to NCRQ however it doesn’t appear that they are in agreement that this issue exists. Ultimately, you only have to read some of the forums to find that this is a general frustration among students.

Despite this criticism however the course content is fantastic. It uses real life incidents and accidents to highlight the key areas of learning and encourages you to research further to develop greater understanding of a subject (essentially what you would do in the real world).

You are given a nominated tutor who is there to answer questions and provide a supportive role. My experience as I have worked further into the course is that they are there to be used, take advantage of them and ask lots of questions particularly as you are coming up to an assessment as once that assessment is requested they are limited in what support they can give.

The NEBOSH route in comparison is very self-learning based. From my own experience (other than the tutor during the classroom hours), there is very little support. One major criticism of the NEBOSH cert (again may just be my experience) is that some subjects within the syllabus were quickly skipped over to allow more time for mock exams and practise questions. It did feel from the outset that we were being taught how to pass an exam rather than given the theory behind it.

One positive with the classroom based learning is that you are there with others in a similar position. You can bounce ideas of each other and get a view point from perspectives that are different to your own.

Cost is a big factor when choosing the right qualification and whilst the distance learning version of NEBOSH certificate and the NCRQ are relatively similar, the classroom based learning of the NEBOSH is quite a significant investment. There is no classroom based version of the NCRQ currently on offer.
Ultimately, both qualifications will provide a route to becoming a health and safety professional, and which option you chose will largely come down to preferred learning style, available time and of course cost.
Last edited by CAD on Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: NEBOSH General Certificate vs NCRQ Certificate

Post by Alexis » Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:33 pm

Many thanks for this CAD. clapclap

Very well fairly argued points for and against both methods. :D
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Re: NEBOSH General Certificate vs NCRQ Certificate

Post by Towsey » Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:43 pm

Hi CAD

Thank you for sharing this.

What a great insight for people who can't choose which route to go down. ./thumbsup..

You have actually been through both so very valuable feedback and without bias either.

Towsey

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Re: NEBOSH General Certificate vs NCRQ Certificate

Post by CAD » Thu Jul 18, 2019 2:57 pm

Just to add to this thread (not sure I've mentioned) but I received confirmation of a Merit award for my NCRQ certificate which I am really pleased with. Just waiting for the certificate to be posted out.

Will be moving onto the diploma however having a few weeks off the study before I register for the next module.

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Re: NEBOSH General Certificate vs NCRQ Certificate

Post by WillPool » Sun Jul 21, 2019 5:59 am

CAD wrote:
Thu Jul 18, 2019 2:57 pm
Just to add to this thread (not sure I've mentioned) but I received confirmation of a Merit award for my NCRQ certificate which I am really pleased with. Just waiting for the certificate to be posted out.

Will be moving onto the diploma however having a few weeks off the study before I register for the next module.
congrats

Will .salut
It is better to be careful 100 times than to get killed once.
Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)


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Re: NEBOSH General Certificate vs NCRQ Certificate

Post by Alexis » Sun Jul 21, 2019 2:39 pm

Whoooooohooooooo and Wow from me too CAD. .cheers .cheers .cheers

congrats
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