Certified Safety Professional
Many professions recognize the need for certification to identify competency in their respective fields. Just as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in accounting denotes a measurable standard of competency, the CSP is recognized as having met the professional challenge of illustrating competency through education, experience, and examination.
The CSP credential is the mark of the safety professional. Like the Professional Engineer designation for engineers or the Certified Public Accountant designation for accountants, the CSP certification marks individuals who have met educational and experience standards and passed rigorous examinations validated against the practice of hundreds of safety professionals.
- No other safety certification holds the same level of demand by employers and government agencies.
- No other safety credential has the same impact on salary.
In the past twenty years, the responsibilities of safety professionals have expanded. Safety issues have become more complex and today’s safety professionals must be continually better qualified. CSPs are among the most highly trained,educated, and experienced in the safety field. In general, those who hold the CSP credential are more likely to be hired, earn higher salaries, and receive more promotions and leadership assignments than their peers who do not hold the certification.
The CSP is nationally accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) and internationally accredited by the American National Standards Institute under the ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024 standards for personnel certification programs.
Benefits of Certification
Hiring Preferences and Salary Increases. Advertisements for safety professionals published in Professional Safety, the American Society of Safety Engineers' (ASSE) journal, often identify the CSP certification as a desired or required qualification along with education and experience. Over 50% of all safety position ads within the last few years identified the CSP credential. Human resource managers and those hiring people for government positions depend on professional certification to ensure candidates have met minimum qualifications.
A 2003 salary survey conducted by the American Society of Safety Engineers shows the average CSP earns about $17,000 more per year than peers without certification. The average benefit is $300,000 or more over the course of a career in safety. In 2009, BCSP found the average CSP earned $99,447 annually and that the median salary of those holding the CSP was $85,000.
Enhance Your Self-Esteem. The most frequent reported value derived from achieving the CSP credential is increased self-esteem and personal satisfaction. Over two-thirds of new CSPs report that achieving the CSP certification increased their personal worth. A major factor is having met standards established by peers for professional safety practice. It indicates that you have risen above the competition because you have been evaluated by professional peers against those standards.
Share Your Knowledge for Professional Safety Practice. Having achieved the CSP certification shows you have mastered the core knowledge required for professional safety practice. In a recent survey of CSPs, 62% noted the CSP process made them learn the field.The certification did what it is intended to do - ensuring the knowledge necessary for practice.
Gain an Advantage Over Your Peers. Because the CSP credential is high quality, as demonstrated by its compliance with internationally recognized standards for certification of persons, most holding it have created an edge for themselves. As recognition for the CSP credential grows among employers, government agencies, peers and the public, those holding it have a competitive advantage for safety positions and assignments.
Qualifications for the CSP
Current CSP qualifications are based on professional safety practice in the U.S. The general CSP requirements include education, professional safety experience, demonstrating knowledge of professional safety practice, and passing the examination(s). Those holding the CSP certification must also be re-certified every five years.
The current educational requirement, based on the U.S. educational system, is holding a bachelor’s degree (4 years) or higher in any field or an associate degree (2 years) in safety, health or the environment. Applicants with non-U.S. degrees must use BCSP's approved international degree evaluation process to qualify. In the application process, BCSP uses a point system for academic credit that gives maximum credit to safety-related degrees.
Candidates must present a minimum of three years of acceptable professional safety experience. Additional experience may be required, depending on the degree field.
There are two examinations leading to the CSP: Safety Fundamentals and Comprehensive Practice. The former emphasizes recall and recognition of core safety subjects. The latter emphasizes the practice's principles of the safety profession and BCSP waives the Safety Fundamentals examination in certain cases.
Questions on both examinations are written by professional safety practitioners and must meet rigorous psychometric standards. Examinations cover knowledge and skills related to safety, health, and environmental management, engineering, and information management and communications.
The Certification Process
BCSP understands the importance of time. Candidates who are ready to sit for an examination can register at any time and take their examinations on any business day - there is no waiting for a periodic testing day. After registering with BCSP, candidates can make an appointment for an examination at one of the many testing centers located within or outside the U.S.
Complete and submit application materials. BCSP reviews application materials determining eligibility for both the Safety Fundamentals and Comprehensive Practice examinations. If eligible, BCSP informs candidates of the length of the eligibility period and the expiration date. Unless waived, candidates must first pass the Safety Fundamentals examination and meet education/experience standards before becoming eligible for the Comprehensive Practice Exam.
Register to take the examination. Anytime during the eligibility period, candidates may register and pay for their applicable examination (Safety Fundamentals or Comprehensive Practice). BCSP notifies candidates how long they have to schedule and sit for their examination.
Make an appointment to take the examination at a test center and sit for the examination at the scheduled time. BCSP's examination provider has hundreds of test centers located around the world which are open every business day. Examinations are delivered via computer at the test center. As soon as candidates submit their exam, unofficial results are available. BCSP sends official results within three weeks after examination dates. Candidates who fail the exam may purchase a new examination if they remain within their eligibility period.
Pay an annual renewal fee. After completing all of the requirements, BCSP will award candidates who pass the Safety Fundamentals exam the temporary Associate Safety Professional (ASP) designation. Those holding this interim designation must pay an annual renewal fee in order to retain the use. An annual fee also applies to those who pass the Comprehensive Practice exam and earn the CSP credential.
Meet Recertification requirements. CSPs must remain up-to-date with changes in professional safety practice by achieving at least 25 Recertification points every five years.
Review and Study Sources
Because candidates for BCSP examinations often ask where to locate review courses and materials, BCSP maintains a list strictly as a courtesy. For a detailed list, click on the Review and Study Sources page. Additionally, BCSP has created a Library of Safety Practice where anyone can find the most up-to-date source material for every domain on the exams.
Waivers of the Safety Fundamentals Examination
Candidates qualifying for the GSP designation and qualified candidates who have been examined through other acceptable credentialing programs, and currently hold such credentials, may be granted a waiver of the Safety Fundamentals examination.
BCSP currently accepts only the following certifications, licenses or memberships for waiver of this examination:
- Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH)
- Professional Engineer (P.E.) in the U.S. state or territory
- Chartered Engineer (CEng) from the Engineering Council (United Kingdom)
- Certified Health Physicist (CHP)
- Chartered Member of IOSH (CMIOSH)*
- Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP)*
- Chartered Professional Member SIA (CPMSIA), Fellow of SIA (FSIA) or Chartered Fellow of SIA (CFSIA) from the Safety Institute of Australia.
- Certified Occupational Health Nurse (COHN) or Certified Occupational Health Nurse Specialist (COHN-S) with a Safety Management credential from the American Board for Occupational Health Nurses (ABOHN)
- Professional Member of the Singapore Institute of Safety Officers (SISO)
*There is a streamlined application process for the CMIOSH and CRSP. For details, download the CMIOSH and CRSP Application Forms under the Reciprocal Agreement sidebar.