Health & Safety Career Advice

How to achieve IOSH membership and why it is so valuable

10th March 2021

If you work in a health and safety role or wish to pursue a career in the Health and Safety industry, an IOSH membership, recognised worldwide, can provide major benefits.

It provides post-nominal letters after your name, connects you with the worldwide community of Occupational Health and Safety professionals, and provides an array of tools and resources that will prove invaluable. Many employers insist on membership when applying for more senior positions, and all will see it as a big plus on your CV.

In this article, we explain the process of becoming an IOSH member, what the different levels of membership mean and what the benefits are in detail.

Changes to IOSH Membership

In late 2023 IOSH's membership went through a structural shakeup, which changed the titles of some memberships, as well as how you progress between some membership levels. This blog has been updated with all the changes so you know how to start off your IOSH journey strong and progress up the ranks.

What is IOSH?

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) is the world's largest Chartered body for health and safety professionals. Based in the UK, IOSH is a non-profit organisation and recognised worldwide, being responsible for the safety industry's code of conduct.

Every year around 180,000 people from a range of different industries attend IOSH training courses, which are designed for candidates at every professional level across all industries.

There are entry-level IOSH courses, conveying the basics of workplace health and safety for all employees, as well as strategic courses specifically for directors and senior managers.

However, it is important to note two things:

  • Passing an IOSH course does not lead to automatic membership, you need to apply.

  • Membership is not limited to people who have passed IOSH courses. For example, passing a relevant NEBOSH or NVQ qualification can also make you eligible.

Student Membership

Student Membership is for individuals studying an IOSH approved qualification, such as IOSH Managing Safely or the NEBOSH General Certificate.

Student members gain access to a bursary for courses (dependent on eligibility) as well as an IOSH mentor who’ll be there to provide career advice and safety guidance.

Affiliate Membership

This level is a starting point for IOSH members, just like Student Membership. Affiliate members have access to the standard range of member benefits such as networking opportunities and industry updates, and you do not need to be studying a health and safety qualification to achieve it. All you need is an active interest in the occupational health and safety sector, and many who join at this level are considering a career in the safety industry.

Technical Membership (TechIOSH)

Members can progress to Technical Membership if they possess an eligible level 3 qualification, which is equivalent to a GCSE, such as the NEBOSH General Certificate, as well as one year’s experience in the industry. Technical members are required to take part in the CPD (Continued Professional Development) scheme in order to further their careers and personal development.

Certified Membership (CertIOSH)

To achieve Certified Membership, a recognised level 6 qualification is needed, such as the NEBOSH Diploma, as well as 2 years of industry experience. Members at this level gain access to the standard suite of benefits and also get to use the post nominal letters 'CertIOSH' after their name, as a sign of their expertise.

Chartered Membership (CMIOSH)

Members can progress to Chartered status following completion of the IPD (Initial Professional Development) Scheme. Chartered members and Fellowship members are also required to complete the OSH Ethical Practice E-learning and Assessment programme.

Chartered Fellowship Membership (CFIOSH)

Only awarded to members who have been chartered for 5 years or more following an application process, Chartered Fellowship is the highest membership level attainable at IOSH. Achieving this level demonstrates not only your expertise and knowledge, but also your influence and position as a role model to other professionals.

The new Experiential Route

Through the Experiential Route, individuals can progress to Certified or Chartered Membership based on industry experience in a safety leadership role. Most individuals will possess 5 to 10 years’ experience when applying, and applications will be reviewed, with interviews included in the process for those applying for Chartered membership. The cost to join through the experiential route is £1080.

Qualifications for IOSH Membership

Achieving IOSH membership usually requires some combination of eligible qualification and industry experience. While the new Experiential Route will allow progression based on solely experience, it will only be available to those who are already in, or have previously held, health and safety leadership roles. Many in this position will also possess accredited health and safety qualifications however, which they needed to acquire these previous roles.

Acquiring a recognised qualification is therefore one of the most effective ways to begin or progress your IOSH Membership, as well as further your career.

Courses for Technical Membership

To achieve Technical Membership with IOSH, you need to possess an eligible level 3, or GCSE equivalent, qualification, such as:

NEBOSH General Certificate

As the industry standard for foundational health and safety courses, the GCSE equivalent, level 3 NEBOSH General Certificate is the first-choice qualification for many when embarking on their safety journey. Across its 9-day duration it covers the fundamentals of occupational safety and health, preparing you for a career in the industry. It can be studied both as a National and International qualification.

NEBOSH Construction Certificate

A GCSE equivalent qualification like the General Certificate, the NEBOSH Construction Certificate provides a similar foundational knowledge of occupational safety and health across 9 days. However, where it differs is in covering safety content relevant to the construction industry, such as excavation and demolition safety. If you’re considering a career in construction safety specifically, this course will be more beneficial than the General Certificate. The Construction Certificate can be studied both as a National and International qualification.

Courses for Certified Membership

To achieve Certified Membership, a level 6 or degree equivalent eligible qualification is required. These include:

NEBOSH Diploma

As the gold standard for health and safety qualifications, the NEBOSH Diploma is the go-to degree level qualification for those pursuing careers in health and safety. It provides a comprehensive understanding of occupational health and safety over six weeks, effectively preparing students for a career in the safety industry.

NVQ Level 6

Suitable for individuals already in health and safety positions looking to acquire a degree level qualification, the NVQ Level 6 is a vocational qualification completed in your workplace. The course provides opportunity for individuals to evidence their health and safety expertise, demonstrating their knowledge and skillset in a range of areas. The qualification can lead to promotions and salary increases, as it demonstrates your competence and safety expertise.

The benefits of IOSH membership

Recognition - IOSH membership is recognised worldwide as the benchmark for professional safety and health excellence. Having the proud post-nominal letters after your name showcases your expertise in and commitment to occupational health and safety.

Career prospects - The level of membership achieved shows the level of accreditation and competence a health and safety professional has reached. Each time you achieve a higher level, you can apply for more senior positions and take on more responsible roles.

Plan for your future - Part of the support provided to members is helping them to make the most of the new career opportunities that open up at each new level, and to plan their professional future, choosing the courses and qualifications that will bring the greatest benefit to themselves and their employers.

Network - As a member, you can network with 48,000 fellow health and safety professionals from across the globe, keeping updated with best practice, changing policies, new regulations, and industry developments. Plus, gain discounted access to over 300 IOSH events that take place each year.

Become a trainer - IOSH membership can also open the way to becoming a health and safety trainer or consultant with a leading provider such as Phoenix.

For advice on how to pursue IOSH membership most effectively, contact the Phoenix team at any time on 0345 500 8811.

Taking the First Step

Phoenix offers a range of IOSH accredited courses that can assist you in acquiring IOSH membership and developing your qualifications for a career in the Health and Safety industry.

  • IOSH Working Safely- Provides the necessary health & Safety training for workers at all levels, across all industries.

  • IOSH Managing Safely- Suitable for managers and supervisors, this course provides the skills to ensure the Health & Safety of employees in the workplace.

  • IOSH Leading Safely- Equips business leaders with the tools to keep their employees and business safe and in line with UK legislation.

For advice on how to pursue IOSH membership effectively and information on IOSH accredited courses, contact the Phoenix team.