NPORS vs CPCS: Which Course is Right for Your Construction Career?

Written By Alla Levin
June 09, 2023

Are you interested in a career in the construction industry but unsure which certification to pursue? Look no further! In this blog post, we’ll compare two popular training courses – NPORS and CPCS. Both certificates are widely recognized within the industry and provide valuable skills and knowledge for a successful career. Join us as we explore the benefits of each course and help you decide which is right for your future endeavors.

Before making a decision between NPORS and CPCS for your construction career, it’s essential to also consider the benefits of an MSHA refresher course, as it can be a valuable addition to your skill set in the construction industry.

Let’s get started!

What is CPCS?

CPCS stands for Construction Plant Competence Scheme. It is a card scheme that proves an operator’s competence in construction plants and machinery. The CPCS card is widely recognized across the construction industry as proof of operator competence.

To apply, operators must have completed an approved training course and pass a theory and practical test. Once they have their card, they need to keep it up to date by renewing it every five years and completing any necessary refresher training.

There are many different types of CPCS cards, each specific to a different type of plant or machinery. For example, there is a card for excavators, another for dumpers, and so on. To determine which type of card you need, you must first decide which plant or machinery you want to operate.

Once you decide which CPCS card you need, you can apply for it. The first step is to find an approved training course covering the plant or machinery you want to operate. Once you have completed the course and passed the necessary tests, you will be issued with your card.


National Plant Operators Registration Scheme (NPORS) is a UK-based scheme for registering construction plant operators. The scheme is recognized by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and is open to operators of all types of construction plants, including excavators, forklifts, and cranes.

NPORS offers a range of benefits to both operators and employers, including:

  • A nationally recognized qualification that the CITB recognizes.
  • The opportunity to transfer your NPORS qualification to another similar scheme, such as CPCS.
  • A personalized card that proves your identity and qualifications.
  • Access an online portal to manage your account and update your details.
  • Regular newsletters with news and information about the scheme.

Benefits of Taking an NPORS or CPCS Course

There are many benefits to taking an NPORS or CPCS course. For one, these courses can help you gain the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue a career in construction. Additionally, they can allow you to network with other professionals in the field. They can also help you keep up with industry trends and technologies.

Requirements for Passing

To pass either type of course, you will need to complete several requirements. These include:

  • Completing a health and safety test.
  • Demonstrating your ability to operate the plant or machinery in question.
  • Showing that you are able to maintain and service the equipment.
  • Providing evidence of your previous experience working with this type of machinery (if applicable).

If you can meet all of these requirements, you should be able to pass your chosen course successfully.

Cost Comparison

The cost of NPORS and CPCS courses can vary depending on several factors, including the length of the course, the location, and the provider.

Generally speaking, NPORS courses tend to be cheaper than CPCS courses. This is because NPORS is a less established qualification, so there is less demand for it. CPCS courses, on the other hand, are more expensive because they are more widely recognized and, therefore, in higher demand. Just because a course is more expensive does not mean it is better than a cheaper course.

How to Choose the Right Course for Your Career

If you want to start or further your construction career, you may wonder which certification is proper. Do you go for the NPORS or CPCS? Consider the following to help make your decision.

Firstly, if you’re looking to operate plant machinery, then the CPCS is the obvious choice. If you want to do other construction work, then either certification will be fine.

The second thing to consider is where you want to work. If you’re looking to work in the UK, then the NPORS is the better option as it’s more widely recognized. If you’re looking to work abroad, then the CPCS is more likely to be identified.

Consider how much experience you have. If you’re a complete novice, then it might be worth doing both courses so that you have two certifications to show potential employers. However, if you already have some experience in construction, then one certificate should be enough.


Ultimately, the best course for your construction career depends on your needs and goals. The NPORS and CPCS courses are excellent options, each offering a vast range of benefits to help you progress in your chosen field. Whichever route you choose, we wish you all the best in helping build your future!

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