The NCRQ Diploma vs the NEBOSH Diploma...which is best?

Which is better to progress your career? The NCRQ Diploma OR the NEBOSH Diploma? Here are my personal views on BOTH.

Date Posted: 13th April 2021

I get asked quite a lot whether I would recommend the NCRQ Diploma over the NEBOSH Diploma?

Well the answer is, well as usual, it depends. 

And this debate can get very tribalistic I’ve noticed. Things can get really heated, and understandably, because people who have invested a huge amount of time in either the NCRQ Diploma or NEBOSH Diploma would like to think that they’ve made the right choice rather than the wrong choice, so it’s perfectly understandable. 

And people considering either option are worried about which option is the best in terms of their career. They’re worried that if they take the NCRQ Diploma, that they might not be able to get a job later, and it is entirely possible, because if you’re having an interview with a NEBOSH qualified safety professional, they might be a little bit snobby and look down upon you because you’ve got the NCRQ Diploma…and vice versa.

Now I’m going to try my best not to be tribalistic here, and it might surprise you that I have actually recommended the NCRQ Diploma over and above the NEBOSH Diploma quite a lot in the last couple of years because I get a lot of people asking me about e-Learning. 

Which e-Learning provider should I do the NEBOSH Diploma with? 

And I have to be brutally honest here, I wouldn’t recommend any of the current e-Learning providers for NEBOSH. 

There may be some good NEBOSH Diploma e-Learning providers out there, I haven’t checked them all, so I apologise if there is one that is really, really good, but I know most of the major ones (and I’ve seen their materials), I just wouldn’t recommend any of them. I’d be embarrassed. 

I was on one company’s website this morning, they’re offering a free trial for the IOSH Managing Safely course, and so I thought I’d have a quick look this is a major player in the e-Learning industry, and the course is absolute garbage. 

It’s just an online book with a couple of quizzes. 

No impact. No real understanding. No persuasion. It wasn’t a fun experience. I couldn’t even navigate around the website properly. 

And if you can’t do something as simple as an IOSH Managing Safety course really well, how do you expect to do what is effectively a 1 or 2 year degree level NEBOSH Diploma really well?

So, I don’t recommend any of those e-Learning providers. 

If you are considering an e-Learning option, or a distance learning option, for a level course, I think NCRQ might actually be a really good option, at least a very decent option. 

It is distance learning, you get books, (and the books are well made), full of case studies and anecdotes. There’s also an e-Learning platform, (though not a particularly exciting one), which does have a forum where you can have discussions with your fellow students, and you can also have interactions with your tutor. The tutors are really good and I have heard nothing but good things from students that have done the NCRQ Diploma. 

And it is also recognised, as in, it gives you access to Graduate status at IOSH. 

In the long term, is the NCRQ Diploma going to affect my career?

I don’t think so, no. 

Because once you’re a Graduate Member of IOSH, then you work your way towards being a Chartered Member, and once you are a Chartered Member of IOSH, I don’t think it really matters. This is my personal opinion. 

Once you’re Charted, I don’t think it really matters whether you did the NEBOSH Diploma or the NCRQ Diploma. You’ve been checked by your peers as being qualified, and so hopefully, that should be enough. 

Distance learning versus classroom learning:

Now, if you don’t like distance learning, if you don’t like e-Learning or anything like that, if you crave face-to-face interaction with your fellow students, face-to-face interaction with you tutor, lively debates and so on, then I’m afraid the NCRQ Diploma probably just isn’t for you, even though there is some interaction, it’s not face-to-face. It is distance learning after all and for those people who are based outside of the United Kingdom, I don’t think NCRQ really has the same recognition internationally as NEBOSH. 

So this people are going to have to go find a NEBOSH course provider who does the diploma. And the great benefit here is that instead of just the distance learning option, you’ve now got all kinds of different formats: e-Learning, classroom, part-time, full-time, block week and evening release programs. 

There’s all kinds of different options for you to choose from, but one of the downsides is that there are lots of different course providers, and some are better than others, that’s the brutal reality of it. 

Some course providers have really good materials and some are not quite as good. Some trainers are absolutely fantastic and some are not quite as good. 

But there’s one benefit here with NCRQ, and that is that they are the only provider.

That’s right! Which means everyone gets the same material, and it’s pretty good overall. 

How are the exams assessed?

The NCRQ Diploma is assessed via assignments, kind of like dissertations, so you’re going to have to write reports and demonstrate your understanding. You’re not going to be supervised, you’re not invigilated, you write your dissertations and afterwards you have to have some kind of closing interview to check that your work is your own, and to check that you’ve probably understood and so on. 

Whereas NEBOSH have exams. 

And I guess the big question you have to ask yourself is: Can I face the NEBOSH exams? Can I face the NCRQ assignments? 

Now personally, I like exams. I would always choose an exam over a report any day, probably because I’m a little bit lazy and I will would just never get around to writing the reports. 

I procrastinate a lot, whereas with an exam, I know I can turn just up and sit the thing in 3 hours and then I’m done.

I would prefer to face 9 hours of NEBOSH exams then do all of the NCRQ assignments, personally. 

But I know a lot of people are the opposite. Most people actually hate exams as far as I can tell, and most are pretty nervous about the NEBOSH exams because they are notoriously difficult. 

So if you are absolutely crippled by exam anxiety, then perhaps the NCRQ Diploma is a better option for you. 

So there we have it, NCRQ Diploma versus NEBOSH Diploma. 

I no longer deliver the NEBOSH Diploma, but if anyone is interested in sitting a NEBOSH General Certificate with me, then click here.

And if you’ve got any views on NCRQ versus NEBOSH, anything I haven’t thought of, please let me know because I’m still learning. 

Enjoy your day!