NEBOSH National Diploma vs ProQual NVQ Level 6

There’s been some titanic rivalries over the last century – whether on the pitch, on social media or the hubbub around a UK referendum. For most people their favourite rivalry is likely something akin to Ali vs. Frazier III, Real Madrid vs. FC Barcelona or Nadal vs. Federer, but for us in the health and safety game it comes down to the NEBOSH National Diploma vs. ProQual NVQ Level 6. Two equally worthwhile but very different options – the question is, which one’s right for you?

If you’re currently working in a safety role, and quite possibly already have the NEBOSH Certificate under your belt, then you may well be wondering which safety training course to consider next. Whilst the NEBOSH National Diploma might seem like the obvious choice given its recognition, it might not be quite the ‘slam dunk’ you might expect.

Probably the most important factors to consider when selecting any course are; understanding how the course is delivered, will it conflict with any other commitments you may have and more importantly, will it be appropriate to your particular style of learning.

Whilst there’s considerably more to it when selecting a qualification (price and career progression for instance), these points highlight the fundamental differences between the two courses. To put this into perspective, we’ll delve into a little more detail:

NEBOSH National Diploma


The NEBOSH National Diploma course is the first step to becoming a chartered safety and health practitioner, currently held by over 10,000 OSH professionals. The course can be delivered via the traditional classroom based route, offering face-to-face learning and the opportunity to learn alongside peers. Alternatively, there’s also the option of adopting an in-house (distance learning) approach, adapting the course to meet your individual or business needs.

The course also meets the academic requirements for Graduate Membership of IOSH with Chartered Safety Practitioner (CMIOSH) status being attained following Initial professional Development (IPD).

This option is ideal for candidates who prefer access to a tutor on a one-to-one basis throughout their studying period, helping to make their individual learning experience more relevant to them.


The course has a combined total of 35 days classroom study and approximately 234 hours of private study and background reading, taken at a pace to suit up to a maximum of 5 years.


Each of the first three units are assessed by a three hour written exam, with the final unit submitted as an 8,000 word review.

ProQual NVQ Level 6


The NVQ Level 6 vocational safety qualification is perfect for NEBOSH Certificate holders working in a health and safety management or safety officer role who do not wish to undertake another academic qualification.

The qualification recognises a person’s competence based on job performance, and so the learning process is built around a portfolio of work rather than exams. It’s also equivalent to the NEBOSH National Diploma, so you’re still on course for CMIOSH with successful delegates achieving GradIOSH status.

This option is ideal for learners for whom combining further education with daily tasks can be challenging. Moreover, for candidates who know that they do not perform well under pressure, this the NVQ Level 6 route can be particularly advantageous.


If work or family commitments are a little overbearing, this option would be ideal for students who require a flexible learning option, as the course can be obtained over a period of 24 months, but typically around 6-8, at a time and pace suited to your individual needs.


There’s no assessment to be undertaken for the NVQ Level 6, instead, evidence of work is submitted and assessed against required competencies, all of which must be demonstrated in order to achieve a pass.

So which course should you choose? This may seem like an unsatisfying answer, but it really depends on your personal circumstances. By identifying how aspects from each course and learning style would best suit your personal needs, you won’t go far wrong. For more information visit our website.

If you’re still on the fence, we’ve put together some Training course advise for safety supervisors, officers and managers which includes a comparison table outlining the pros and cons of both options.

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