IOSH membership grades

Enhancing the OSH profession: an update (November 2022)

In May 2022, we confirmed that IOSH had received formal approval from the Privy Council to implement changes to our membership grades. 

The new membership grades are a simplification of the current structure, with more clearly defined entry routes, more transparent progression from one grade to another and an experiential route to membership. 

So, what happens next? 

These new membership grades will be implemented in 2023.

We are communicating with all our members via email to explain how/if their membership grade will change. Please keep an eye on your inboxes. 

Let us support you with your professional journey 

We have launched the new and enhanced Blueprint to support your professional journey. This is now available to all members.

Our updated Blueprint includes: 

  • a self-assessment tool – plot your professional development 
  • continuing professional development (CPD) resources – upskill using our new suite of resources 
  • CPD record – easily record your learning to stay compliant 
  • IOSH Ethical Practice in OSH e-learning and assessment – train in the ethics for our profession. 

All new features in Blueprint link directly to our competency framework. So, you can be sure you’re assessing against – and strengthening your knowledge in – the technical, core and behavioural competencies that all health and safety professionals need. 

Read more about Blueprint 

We will continue to provide updates on further developments and progress. If you have any questions, check out the FAQs below or email the team

IOSH membership grades FAQs

How will the changes affect membership status?

Is this going to affect my progression through the grades? Should I wait to upgrade? 

No. Whatever grade you are at now, please don’t stop what you are doing as all the knowledge and skills you acquire will be relevant. For more information on how to upgrade your membership, please email pds@iosh.com or call us on +44 (0)116 257 3200.

I’m a Chartered Member – might I lose my status? 

Only if you don’t complete your 30 hours of CPD annually, along with the IOSH Ethical Practice in OSH e-learning and Assessment. 

I see that Certified and Chartered Members would need a Level 6 or 7 qualification respectively. Have I understood this correctly?

No. Entry to Certified Membership will be via an appropriate OSH qualification (Level 6 or 7) and relevant experience OR Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) through evidence of relevant knowledge and experience. The process to Chartered Membership builds on the Certified Member’s current knowledge, understanding and experience through a supported professional development assessment process (replacing current IPD). In addition, members with significant current knowledge, understanding and experience can take the proposed experiential route for Certified or Chartered Membership. 

I am currently an Associate Member, but I understand this grade is in line for deletion. Why is this and what are my options?

Associate Members currently represent a very small proportion (just over 1 per cent) of IOSH members, and the grade is not widely recognised or understood. Most Associate Members would be eligible to upgrade to Technical Member or Certified Member, based on qualifications and experience. 

Why are you changing the name for Graduate Member to Certified Member?

We are doing this because widespread feedback from members, employers and recruiters indicated that the name is misleading, suggesting a lower level of OSH professional. In fact, many Graduate Members are highly experienced. We proposed Certified Member as one of several alternatives in our May 2020 survey and most respondents agreed that it was a suitable replacement.  

I’m currently a practising retired member. Do I need to maintain my CPD and the ethics e-learning and assessment?

Yes. If you wish to continue practising, you will need to maintain your CPD and IOSH Ethical Practice in OSH e-learning and assessment. We’ll provide you with a transition plan and support you through this during the 12-month transition period. 

I am a fully retired member of IOSH. Will my membership status be affected by these changes?

No. Retired membership will continue as it stands today, and you will be recognised as a retired member who is no longer active. 

What does transition mean?

Transition is the process of moving from the current to the new membership grades structure. From the date on which the new grades are launched, there will be a 12-month transition period to enable members to progress through their membership professional journey. 

How will I know what I need to do during the 12-month transition period to retain my membership?

When the new membership grades structure is implemented, every member will receive a communication outlining their personal transition plan. This plan will set out their individual requirements for the 12-month transition period.  

Why have you introduced a new membership grade called Companion?

‘Companion of IOSH’ is, in fact, an award, not a grade. In the past there has been confusion between Chartered Fellow and Honorary Fellow. We want to make a clear distinction between the grade – Chartered Fellow – and the honorary position of ‘Companion'. It was not easy to identify an alternative to ‘Honorary Fellow', but our benchmarking found that several professional bodies use ‘Companion’, and we feel it is an effective title. 

I’m an Honorary Fellow. Will I automatically become a Companion of IOSH?

No, Honorary Fellows with retain their current title.


Assessing competency and experience

How will competency be assessed?

Competency will be assessed through our new and enhanced Blueprint, the next generation of our self-assessment tool, which will be mapped to the updated competency framework. When you’ve worked through the self-assessment, you’ll receive a personal development plan (PDP) to help you prioritise your learning. You’ll also be signposted to guides and resources to support your CPD learning and development. Ultimately, our updated Blueprint will be central to a greatly improved professional journey. 

Blueprint is already mapped to the new membership grades, ready for implementation in 2023. You will be assessing against the competencies at each grade. 

How will I know which competencies I need at what level for my grade?

Blueprint is already mapped to the new membership grades so your personal development plan (PDP) will set out the competency requirements that you need at each new membership grade.

Do I need to be able to demonstrate all 69 competencies within the competency framework?

Not necessarily. The answer will depend on the current grade you’re at or targeting. In most instances, the standard will require a combination of ‘essential’ and ‘complementary’ competencies. You’ll need to be able to demonstrate the ‘essential competencies’ on entry to the grade. ‘Complementary competencies’ will be for development, to prepare you for the next grade, if you wish to progress. 

What does ‘competency at RQF level’ mean?

This refers to the Regulated Qualifications Framework that categorises qualifications in England, based on the level of challenge or difficulty. Other countries or regions such as Malaysia, South Africa and the UAE have regulated frameworks and these have comparisons with the English and European qualifications frameworks, so it is easy to see where IOSH fits locally. Links to information about qualification levels in Scotland, Wales and Europe can be found via www.gov.uk. 

How will experience be assessed?

The changes to our membership grades, which will launch in 2023, are all about improving and maintaining standards and enhancing the sector, and we’ve carefully considered the assessment of experience. The approval of a new experiential route to Certified and Chartered Membership is designed to remove a barrier to entryfor OSH professionals who are already operating in a senior strategic role in OSH management and have extensive on-the-job experience but might not have an OSH qualification. The assessment process will combine the new Blueprint self-assessment with CPD and completion of IOSH’s Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) assessment. This rigorous approach will ensure that only candidates with evidence of the appropriate knowledge, competence and experience are approved for entry. 

When will I be able to apply for IOSH’s experiential route?

The experiential route will be launched alongside the new member grades in 2023. 

What is APEL?

The Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) is our approach to assessing experience. It is a process where credit is given for learning that has not been previously assessed and accredited by an academic institution (typically a university) or professional organisation such as IOSH. It is learning acquired from a range of experiences and is often unstructured, personal and unconsciously gained. Skills, knowledge and abilities that come with this type of learning, however, can be equal to those gained by students following traditional courses at formal educational institutions. 

How will IOSH’s APEL be assessed?

We are currently working on this detail. Typically, a candidate’s knowledge is assessed via an exam, work portfolio and professional discussion paper and interview with a subject expert. 


IOSH Ethical Practice in OSH e-learning and assessment

I see you are introducing an IOSH Ethical Practice in OSH e-learning and assessment. What does this involve and why is it only mandatory for Chartered Members and Chartered Fellows?

Ethical practice is extremely important for all OSH professionals in ensuring public trust and upholding the reputation of the profession. We are making this a requirement for our Chartered Members and Chartered Fellows, as we expect them to lead the profession by demonstrating the highest standards of professional conduct at work and in their dealings with the public. But we would encourage all members to take the assessment. 

Why do you feel the need to introduce an IOSH Ethical Practice in OSH e-learning and assessment when ethics are already covered in the Code of Conduct?

The IOSH Code of Conduct commits members to the IOSH vision for a world of work that is safe, healthy and sustainable. It provides an ethical foundation for members working towards this vision. The IOSH Ethical Practice in OSH assessment, which is supported by e-learning, will provide members with up-to-date and relevant content on ethical considerations that affect organisations and the OSH profession in the widest sense. 

Will I have to pay for the IOSH Ethical Practice in OSH e-learning and assessment?

No, the IOSH Ethical Practice in OSH e-learning and assessment will be free of charge as part of our CPD package. 



Will IOSH CPD be affected by the new membership grades?

Only in a positive way. We have launched a new CPD programme, aligned with our competency framework, to all members. This is part of our work to enhance the way we support members’ professional development. CPD must be completed by members whose grades have a mandatory requirement of 30 hours per year. 

What will my new and enhanced CPD Blueprint journey look like?

You will have access to the competency framework, CPD resources, CPD record and the IOSH Ethical practice in OSH e-learning and Assessment. Read more. 

I am on the existing IPD Scheme. How will this differentiate to members on CPD only?

Members registered on the IPD scheme will be required to record and maintain their CPD records on the existing Skilsure platform via MyIOSH. They can continue to do this until will close the Skilsure platform 12 months after we implement the new member grades (launching in 2023).

What will I have to do to maintain my CPD?

The new and enhanced version of Blueprint will help you to focus on your learning, development and progression. You’ll need to complete 30 hours of CPD annually, including reflective statements. If you are a Chartered Member or Chartered Fellow, your CPD will also include passing or maintaining the IOSH Ethical Practice in OSH e-learning and assessment. This will all be held in the new and enhanced Blueprint. 

What will happen if I do not complete the required CPD?

We will support all members through their transition plan to complete the required CPD. However,to maintain standards, there will be sanctions for members who do notmaintaintheir CPDrecord. In the new, approved structure, Technical Members, Certified Members, Chartered Members and Chartered Fellows who do not complete the required CPD will revert to Affiliate Membership unless there are mitigating circumstances. 

Why would such senior grades have to drop back as far as Affiliate if they fail to complete the required CPD? Why can’t they just drop one grade?

CPD is a professional requirement for Technical Members, Certified Members, Chartered Members and Chartered Fellows, as set out in IOSH’s byelaws and regulations. It remains mandatory and, in the new structure, involves 30 hours of development time every year. To maintain the standard, members at these grades who do not comply with CPD requirements will need to revert to a level of membership where it is not a mandatory requirement, hence Affiliate. Of course, if a member is struggling to complete their CPD for personal reasons, we would encourage them to get in touch before it becomes an issue, so we can provide support and discuss the way ahead. 

You state that 30 hours of CPD per year will be required for all post-nominal grades. This seems a lot to ask. How does it compare with other Chartered bodies?

Our benchmarking research indicates that the CPD time commitment for other bodies ranges from 20 to 50 hours a year. Every organisation structures it slightly differently, but we believe 30 hours is a suitable commitment to ensure continuing professional development. 

Does IOSH have specific CPD courses in mind that are required for the various levels of membership?

No. CPD is a lifelong process of improvement through recognising, recording and reflecting on learning experiences. RelevantCPD will be different for each member. Guidanceandsupportwillbeprovidedwith thelaunch of thenew CPD scheme andtherell be a range of free CPD resources to support the new competencies, many of which will be available through the new version of Blueprint. 

Can I still register for IPD and how will my IPD be affected by the proposed changes?

No. IOSH’s IPD scheme is no longer accepting new entrants. This is because of changes we’re making to enhance our members’ professional journeys. We will publish full details of the new route to Chartered membership closer to the launch date in 2023.

For members already on the IPD programme. If you’re unable to complete it by the launch of the second phase of our improvements in 2023, you will need to be assessed against the new standard, using our new and enhanced version of Blueprint. You’ll be contacted closer to the launch with details of your personal transition plan.



I’m part-way through a qualification. Will it still be accepted when the membership grades change?

Yes. So, if you’re studying a course aligned with your level of membership, don’t stop! We are currently reviewing all accredited qualifications, but no member will be penalised. 

Will the new grades recognise international qualifications?

We currently recognise international qualifications as entry points to membership, as our accredited education partners are based all over the world.If there is a call foradditional qualifications to berecognised, this will be lookedat as part of the implementation phase of our new membership grades. 

Why is IOSH introducing a professional register for members? 

Many professional bodies already have professional registers. The IOSH Professional Register will replace IOSH’s current Member Directory and will provide professional recognition on a wider scale for individuals who choose to opt in. It will also assist recruiters and employers when they review a member’s professional status.  

Will the IOSH Professional Register be compulsory? 

No – there will be clear opt in/opt out options for members who do not wish to be included in the register. 

What is the difference between the IOSH Professional Register and the Occupational Safety and Health Consultants Register (OSHCR)? 

The IOSH Professional Register is for all IOSH members and will typically show their name, membership number, location, membership grade, CPD compliance (if relevant to their membership grade) and current IOSH ethics module status (for Chartered Members and Chartered Fellows). 

OSHCR, the Occupational Safety and Health Consultants Register, is a database hosting registered OSH consultants from several professional bodies. The consultants listed are required by their own professional body to maintain ethical and professional standards. This register gives assurance that the consultants listed are certified professionals who hold chartered status (or equivalent) membership within their professional body and are committed to ongoing professional development. 

Consultants who are Chartered Members or Chartered Fellows of IOSH may publish an entry on each register.  

When will the IOSH Professional Register be introduced? 

The IOSH Professional Register is likely to be introduced 12 months after the launch of the new member grades (launching in 2023).  


General questions about membership

Will the cost of membership change?

The Board reviews membership fees annually, so they may be subject to change.  

Check out our current fees, including concessionary membership. 

Will membership of a relevant Chartered institution aligned with OSH deliver any benefit to IOSH members, such as points towards CPD?

Not initially. It is something that we may consider in future, but our priority will be to establish the new membership grade structure and ensure that it is understood by employers, recruiters and other key stakeholders such as accredited partners. 


The review and consultation process

What happens now?

We’ve launched our new and enhanced version of Blueprint – an all-in-one tool to self-assess, learn, and record your continuing professional development (CPD) – to enhance your professional journey. Learn more. 

The new membership grades will launch in 2023. We’ve planned detailed communications for all members to explain how/if their membership grade will change. These communications will start to roll out in shortly, so please check your inboxes.