Back to Basics is a weekly feature that highlights important but possibly overlooked information that any EHS professional should know. This week, we examine the different safety certifications and the requirements for becoming a Certified Safety Professional (CSP).
As with any other industry, environmental, health, and safety (EHS) is a field that requires knowledge about a variety of specialized topics and certain skillsets that can help EHS professionals lead their teams and workplaces. One of the many ways to kickstart a career in EHS is to earn a safety certification, which can show companies that a candidate has the capability of effectively implementing a safety program in the workplace.
Types of certifications
There are many different kinds of safety certifications that a safety professional can work towards receiving, and each of them are beneficial for different kinds of work. According to Safesite, there are two categories of safety certifications: degree-based safety certifications and non-degree safety certifications.
Degree-based certifications include the Associate Safety Professional (ASP), the Graduate Safety practitioner (GSP), and the Certified Safety Professional (CSP) designations, says Safesite. To receive the ASP certification, one must have an associate or bachelor’s degree and one year of experience. Becoming a CSP is the next step, and it requires a bachelor’s degree and four years of safety experience. The GSP certification requires completing the CSP requirements and achieving the CSP level within six years. All of these programs and certifications are available through the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP).
The non-degree safety certifications are valuable in a number of industries and are available through specialty training and courses, according to Safesite. The non-degree safety certifications include:
- Safety Management Specialist (SMS)
- Occupational Hygiene and Safety Technician (OHST)
- Safety Trained Supervisor (STS)
- Certified Safety Manager (CSM)
- Certified Safety Manager Construction (CSMC)
- Safety Director Certificate (SDC)
- Licensed Safety Professional (LSP)
The SMS, OHST, and STS certifications are available through the BCSP, while the CSM, CSMC, SDC, and LSP certifications are available through the National Association of Safety Professionals (NASP), says Safesite.
There are also specialized safety certifications that one could acquire if their industry requires them for certain positions. These include:
- Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM)
- Certified Safety and Health Manager (CSHM)
- Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH)
- Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST)
- Safety Trained Supervisor Construction (STSC)
- Certified Instructional Trainer (CIT)
- Certified Healthcare Safety Professional (CHSP)
The CHMM and CSHM certifications are available through the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management (IHMM), the CIH designation through the American Board of Industrial Hygiene, the CHSP through the International Board of Certification of Safety Managers, and the rest through the BCSP, says Safesite. On its website, Safesite provides a flowchart that can be helpful in determining what safety certification is best for a certain career path, and it can be found here.
Certified Safety Professional certification
The Certified Safety Professional (CSP) certification yields, on average, a salary increase of $30,000 or more for the certified professional, according to the BCSP. The requirements needed to apply for the CSP certification are:
- A minimum of a bachelor’s degree
- Four years of safety experience
- A BCSP Qualified Credential
- Passing the CSP examination
BCSP Qualified Credentials include the ASP, the GSP, and CIH, and a few other safety certifications which the BCSP lists out fully on its website. Safety professionals are also required to maintain their certification, which involves an annual renewal fee and recertification requirements. The BCSP notes that when applying for the CSP, all education requirements must be met, and if the degree is from a college located outside the United States, it will be reviewed for U.S. equivalency.
When going through the BCSP for the CSP or any other certification through the BCSP, there are seven steps to the process. The first is to pick the certification, then make sure the education and work experience requirements are met. Apply online for the certification using the BCSP’s website. Purchase the exam, and schedule and complete it within a year of purchasing it. After passing the exam, the BCSP will award the certification, which must be maintained with the annual fee and recertification points every five years.
For a quick look at the BCSP requirements and fees of each certification, click here.