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Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety: FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions for the Cert IV WHS
(UPDATED FOR 2019)
Can I apply for RPL? Should I take the face to face or online course? And how will this help me in my job?
These are only a few examples of the common questions we receive almost every day about the Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety (BSB41415). You may have similar concerns if you’re about to enrol or are already studying this latest occupational health and safety course.
To ease your concerns and help you get on your way to gaining this national qualification, we’ve put together the answers to the 10 most asked questions of our WHS and OHS students. Take a look at the list below and get valuable information on what to expect about the Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety.
1. What are the job prospects for the Cert IV WHS?
Occupational health and safety is a big concern in Australian workplaces. After all, we all want to get home safely in the same or even better shape than when the day started.
Many workplaces from mining and construction sites to corporate offices have safety representatives that handle these health concerns. In fact, the number of dedicated occupational health professionals is expected to grow strongly from 25,000 in 2018 to more than 27,300 in 2023.
The Cert IV WHS is nationally recognised and accredited qualification that may help you open up new opportunities if you are looking to expand your current career or start a new one in safety. Professional positions that you can apply for include:
- • WHS Coordinator
- • OHS Officer
- • Safety Representative
- • Workcover Assessor
- • Human Resources for Safety
Many jobs now include significant safety responsibilities. Even if you are not looking for a full-time safety officer role, you may find work health and safety training helps you fulfil your safety responsibilities as an employee or manager at your organisation.
2. How long does the course take to complete?
The Cert IV WHS has an estimated workload of about 624 hours. Your actual study time depends on the pace you set and the delivery option you choose. You have a choice between a 6 month or 12-month course duration when you enrol and this will be your deadline to complete it. If you feel like you need more time, you can always apply for an extension.
If you are enrolled in the online course, you can study hard and complete the workbooks as fast as you can even before your deadline comes near. This means you can study parts of it each week or leave it all to the last minute. In our experience, making a regular study plan is much more effective than rushing it at the end.
Face to Face and Blended courses are structured classes where you will be guided by an experienced work health and safety trainer. You can finish a big chunk of the projects and assessments during these 1 or 2 weeks of workshop. Students who choose the Face to Face or Blended typically finish the course sooner than online students.
3. What’s the difference between Online, Face to Face and Blended delivery options?
Online delivery means you study during your own free time and set the pace you want. You can complete the course from anywhere because the Learner Guide, assessment workbooks and webinars are all accessible in your student portal. It is up to you to use these resources to complete the course.
Face to Face involves attending 2 5-day workshops with your trainer and fellow students. This is typically the fastest way to gain your qualification because you have the opportunity to complete all major projects and receive extra guidance inside the classroom. You then have up to 6 months to complete any remaining assessments required to gain your qualification.
Blended delivery combines the two previous options. This involves attending 1 5-day workshop where you will complete a number of major assessments. You will then have 6 months to finish the rest of the course requirements.
4. What is RPL and how can I apply for it?
RPL stands for Recognition of Prior Learning. It is a process that assesses your previous knowledge and experience to see if you already have the necessary skills. This means that you can reduce the number of units you actually need to study.
You can apply for RPL if you:
- Hold qualifications with units related to occupational health and safety,
- Have relevant and recent work experience and
- Have evidence that proves your background
To apply for RPL, simply indicate it in your enrollment form. An RPL Assessor will be in touch with you to check if you are eligible for RPL and explain what evidence you need to submit.
Evidence is important even if you have been doing safety-related work for some time. For example, if you are already a safety representative in mining, you can submit copies of your risk assessment reports or any other documents that show your OHS responsibilities.
We must see evidence that adequately demonstrates you already hold the required competencies in order to grant you RPL. If there isn’t enough evidence to grant RPL for a competency, you will need to complete gap training in order to gain your qualification. Assessing evidence for RPL is often much more difficult and time-consuming for your trainer than simply marking answers in our normal course workbooks!
5. Where can I find the answers to the Cert WHS workbook?
Students frequently ask our trainers about workbook answers. Your trainer is there to guide you, but they can’t just tell you exactly what to write or say. Workplace safety is an issue that can lead to harm, injury or even death so it’s extremely important that you develop the required skills and knowledge and know how to apply them.
In most cases, the answers to your workbook can be found by reading your Learner Guide, watching the online webinars or checking safety regulations on government websites. If you need help, just send your trainer a message. They can’t just tell you the answers, but they can clarify assessments and guide you in the right direction to find answers yourself.
6. What safety resources can I use to study?
The main resource you’ll use throughout the course is the Learner Guide. This is the best place to start as a student because it explains all the major topics like legal frameworks, safety management systems and risk assessment. Each cluster has its own Learner Guide so you can easily search for what you need.
Another extremely useful resource is the online webinars conducted by expert trainers. It is highly recommended that you either attend the weekly live sessions because they discuss a lot of the major topics and have a question and answer portion for students. There are recorded webinars in your student portal too so don’t worry if you miss them.
You also have virtual workplaces to help you with your requirements. This is particularly valuable if you don’t have access to an actual workplace, but need to practice your skills in conducting inspections. This means that you can complete the course even if you are in between jobs or would prefer to study completely from home.
7. How do I get started?
You should get an email with a username and password shortly after you enrol. Please let us know if you don’t, sometimes these emails are picked up or blocked by email filters. To get started on your course, use this to access the student portal where you can download the Learner Guides, assessment workbooks and even the recorded webinars.
Our trainers recommend that you start by reading the Learner Guides first before answering workbooks and conducting projects. This gives you a solid foundation to work with and prevents you from feeling overwhelmed by the questions.
8. Can I get a statement of attainment if I don’t complete the course?
You can only get a statement of attainment once you’ve completed all 4 workbooks because the 10 units of the Cert IV WHS are distributed among them. Finishing 1, 2 or 3 of them doesn’t automatically mean that you’ve finished the units as well.
The good news is, this technique called clustering actually makes the course more manageable. Normally there are many assessment tasks that are repeated in each course unit, so you waste a lot of time do exactly the same things over and over again. When we clustered the course, we cut out many of those duplicate assessments so you only need to do them once. As a result, you now only have 4 workbooks to complete but you still fulfil all the requirements for all 10 units in the course.
9. Is there a deadline for finishing the workbooks?
The only firm deadline you have to remember is the 6 or 12-month duration you chose when you enroled. You must meet all of the course requirements before this period is up to gain your qualification.
The individual workbooks, projects and reports have no deadline, but we do give you recommended dates. It is up to you to create your own study schedule and make progress on the course. You do need to manage your time effectively and keep yourself on track for completion.
For Face to Face and Blended courses, you will do a lot of the course work inside the classroom during the 1 or 2 weeks of workshops. You will then have 6 months after the workshops are done to complete any leftover requirements.
10. How will I get feedback from my trainer?
Trainer feedback is an important part of your safety course. It’s hard to get everything right the first time around so getting advice from your trainer is important to know where you can improve.
Each time you submit an assignment online, your trainer may add comments to them. You can view all of their feedback and their replies to your questions or even schedule a call with them by checking the student portal. If you’re not sure where to find trainer feedback in the student portal, please ask your trainer to show you.
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