Nick Higginson, Managing Director at Phoenix Health and Safety

Health and safety is a fast-growing, in-demand industry, with most modern businesses understanding the vital importance of it, alongside the role it plays in compliance with industry regulations. 

According to Globe News Wire,  the global workplace safety market is expected to grow by 10% year on year and job demand for the occupational safety and health service industry is expected to grow by 1.8% in the UK by the end of 2021

As an expert in the field, keeping an eye on industry salary levels is a great idea, but knowing when to ask for a pay rise isn’t something easily done.  

Experience is an essential component in career progression, but it isn’t the only thing that employers look for. Relevant qualifications in the field are more important than ever, and it’s important to choose the right one.

Nick Higginson, Managing Director at Phoenix Health and Safety provides guidance on what employers find desirable and advises which course could be right for your career progression:

Why a NEBOSH Diploma can boost your salary by 16%

The NEBOSH (National Educational Board in Occupational Safety and Health) Diploma in Health & Safety is one of the best accredited professional qualifications you can get when working within the industry to showcase your capabilities and expertise. 

Nick Higginson, Managing Director at Phoenix Health and Safety says: “A NEBOSH qualification can be a major boost to your career prospects and salary potential.

“93% of the job advertisements for safety, health and environmental (SHE) roles asked for some form of NEBOSH qualification - this shows the significant impact a qualification can have for people's job prospects.

“The average advertised salary for those required to have a NEBOSH diploma was £50,000 per annum, 16% higher than the amount offered when a NEBOSH diploma wasn’t specified: just £43,000. If you are looking for a way to advance your health and safety career, you need to consider studying for a NEBOSH diploma.”

The NEBOSH diploma is a health and safety industry qualification at bachelor's degree level, that shows employers that you have the relevant skills and capabilities to perform at a senior level in the industry. 

Janine, an Office Manager from Essex who recently completed a NEBOSH qualification with Phoenix Health and Safety said: “I thoroughly enjoyed the Diploma course – it has allowed me to significantly develop in my job role. I now have more in-depth knowledge of control measures for risk and method statements, plus it has provided me with opportunities for career progression within the Health and Safety field.”

How NVQ Level 6 can boost your salary

The NEBOSH diploma isn’t the only way for health and safety professionals to gain the qualifications necessary to progress. NVQs are the UK's premier vocational qualifications, offering a practical, evidence-based approach to learning, which can be undertaken while continuing to work.  

Nick Higginson says: “NVQ Level 6 is appropriate for professionals with three to five years’ experience in management or senior management roles, which include health and safety responsibilities. 

The NVQ Level 6 in Occupational Health and Safety Practice is a bachelor’s degree-level qualification. It is for people whose responsibilities include developing and implementing health and safety procedures within their workplace.  Like the NEBOSH diploma, the NVQ Level 6 qualification is at bachelor’s degree level, which often enables employees to command a higher salary band than those who have not studied any higher education.


Whilst both degree-level qualifications hold weight and desirable salary offerings in the industry, the method of attaining either qualification varies significantly.. 

If you prefer to study for exams

The NEBOSH diploma is ideal for those who are comfortable with an academic style of learning, candidates can either study in the classroom or via distance learning. If they choose the latter, they will receive access to materials, webinars and newsletters alongside group tutorials and forums.  Classroom study takes place full time over a 7 week period while distance learning takes around 500 hours of self-study. 

If you are an experienced Health and Safety practitioner

NVQ Level 6 is most suitable for those who prefer a practical, work-based style of learning. It allows students the opportunity to study from home at their own pace. It can be completed over a 12-18 month period, an excellent option for people who wish to continue learning in a full-time job while studying.


The NEBOSH degree includes mock paper marking and guidance to prepare you for exams alongside access to online support groups where you can share questions and discussions with other students.

NVQ Level 6 is assessed on a project basis, rather than through exams and the study plan is tailored to each individual student through feedback on assessments and portfolios. Invigilators assess a portfolio of evidence submitted by the candidate based on their own experience.

Does the cost outweigh the pros?

To study the NEBOSH Diploma with Phoenix, the fee is £4,995 for a classroom course and £1,195 for distance learning. Studying NVQ Level 6 with Phoenix costs £1,795.

The NEBOSH diploma is transferable across different industries while the NVQ Level 6 is less so, mainly due to the portfolio being based around your current role.

Whilst these qualifications do require some initial outlay, if your salary could be boosted by 16%, you are likely to  see a return on your efforts within the first year. 

What qualifications can they give me?

Both qualifications allow practitioners to apply for GradIOSH and CMIOSH status, provided they can demonstrate the necessary experience. 

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