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How to get a CSCS card

While a CSCS card is not mandatory for anyone in construction, it’s certainly useful to have. Vital for working on construction sites, having the right CSCS can open up plenty of new avenues of work. Learn how to apply for a CSCS card by reading on!

Why do builders need a CSCS card

If you’ve been working in construction for any length of time, you’ve probably heard of CSCS cards. Enhancing your employability in the industry, having a CSCS card will enable you to work directly on construction sites.

This makes it important to know how to get a CSCS card.

But if you’ve never heard of CSCS cards, how do you go about getting one? Keep reading to learn how to apply for a CSCS card. Not only that, but we’ll explain the different tiers of cards as well.

What is a CSCS card?

A CSCS card is a card given to construction workers able to prove their competency when working on work sites.

They’re issued by the Construction Skills Certification Scheme, hence the name. And they’re often a contractual requirement for anyone who wants to operate in this environment.

These cards prove that you have the relevant training and experience to do your job on-site safely and effectively. This is to help promote a culture of safety when working. But they also help to make sure your job opportunities aren’t limited.

How to apply for a CSCS card

The requirements for whether or not you qualify for a CSCS card are based on your job qualifications. If your certifications are related to the areas of construction highlighted by the CSCS, then you can apply on their website.

However, you’re also required to have passed an appropriate CITB Health, Safety, and Environment Test within the previous two years.

The aim of this test is to teach you the basics of keeping yourself and others safe on a construction site. It takes 45 minutes to complete and is made up of 50 multiple-choice questions.

Once you’ve completed the necessary CITB training, you can then apply for your card on the CSCS website. To do this, you’ll need:

  • Scanned copies of your valid construction certificates, or proof that you are registered on a relevant construction course
  • Your HS&E test ID number
  • A credit or debit card to pay for the application fee

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How much is a CSCS card?

At the time of writing, all cards were priced at the following:

  • A CSCS card (regardless of type) – £36
  • The CITB HS&E test – £22.50

However, there is a chance that these prices could change at any point, so it is always best to double-check.

How long does a CSCS card last?

Once you’ve passed your tests and paid for your card, it will be valid for up to five years. The only exception to this is a red CSCS card, which can’t be renewed after expiration.

Instead, you’ll need to apply for an appropriate colour card afterwards in line with your new qualifications.

What are the different CSCS card colours?

As we’ve just mentioned, there are several different tiers of cards that you can apply for. These are defined by different colours, which represent a different level of experience, qualifications, and seniority based on the holder.

We’ve highlighted what each card type represents below:

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Red CSCS cards

One of the most common of all CSCS cards, red cards can represent any of the following:

  • An apprentice
  • An experienced Technical, Supervisor, or Manager
  • An experienced Worker (temporary card)
  • A trainee
  • An industry Placement
  • A provisional card (temporary card)

As we’ve already mentioned, red cards cannot be renewed upon expiration. Instead, you’ll need to apply for a different colour.

Green CSCS cards

Green cards are designed for workers entering the industry at an entry-level position. Despite what red cards might suggest, green cards are actually the most common type of CSCS card available.

In order to get a green CSCS card, you need to do the following:

  • Complete the CITB Health and Safety Awareness (HSA) course
  • Pass the CITB Health, Safety, & Environment (HS&E) test within the past two years
  • Apply for the Green CSCS card via the CSCS website

Blue CSCS cards

A step above green cards, a Blue card is for skilled workers with plenty of industry experience. A blue CSCS card can be gained in the same manner as a green CSCS card.

However, if you lack an NVQ qualification, you won’t be able to get a blue CSCS card. Instead, you’ll need to apply for a red card.

Gold CSCS cards

Gold CSCS cards show that you’re highly skilled within your field and hold advanced qualifications. It also acts as a supervisory card which shows you have experience supervising others within construction.

You can apply for a gold CSCS card in the same manner as a green card. There are two types to choose from:

  • An advanced Craft card
  • A Supervisory card

Black CSCS cards

Black cards are the highest type available and are for those holding managerial positions and technical operators. They can apply for this type of card, provided they meet the following criteria:

  • They’ve achieved a relevant Construction Management or Technical related NVQ or SVQ at levels 5, 6, or 7
  • They have an SVQ level 4 in Construction Management or a Technical related qualification
  • They hold a pre-existing NVQ level 4 in construction management

White CSCS cards

White cards are for people who have qualifications other than NVQs but need to work on construction sites. For example, someone in an architectural role who doesn’t need to work on-site day-to-day.

There are two types of white cards you can apply for:

  • An Academically Qualified Person card
  • A Professionally Qualified Person card

How to expand a construction company

Get more from your business with Checkatrade

So, now you know what a CSCS card is and how to get one. Of course, you’ll need more than a card if you want to get the most from your business. And that’s where Checkatrade can help.

Checkatrade members can benefit from discounts and benefits with our partner scheme, as well as free marketing materials. We even provide you with a free space online to advertise your business to new customers.

Get in touch today to find out more and don’t forget to browse our blog for more construction articles. We have pieces on both construction insurance and how to grow your construction business.

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CSCS card FAQs

Can I get a CSCS card with no qualifications?

You can get a Green card with no NVQ qualifications, provided you meet the stated requirements. However, you won’t be able to apply for a blue card at a later date unless you become qualified.

How long does it take to get a CSCS card?

Once your application has been approved, your card will be posted directly to you. This will normally take between 3-5 days to arrive, depending on postage delays and distance.

Can you get a temporary card?

Yes, you can get a temporary card. This is called a ‘Provisional’ card. It’s designed for workers who are on a probationary period with an employer.

Like a green card, for a Provisional card, you must the CITB Test within the last two years.

However, you need to be aware of the following when applying:

  • You cannot have applied for a Provisional card if you’ve previously held a CSCS card
  • A Provisional card can only be applied for once
  • It cannot be renewed
  • It is only valid for six months

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