To Be Certified, or Not to be Certified - That is the Question

Safety professional attending safety seminar

Some people argue that going through the many arduous hours of studying, sitting through the examination, ensuring you get those continuing education credits, and paying that recertification fee is just not worth it. A safety certification is not required to be a successful Occupational Health and Safety Specialist; however, there are significant benefits to obtaining one.

The Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) and the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) conducted a salary survey in March of 2018. The 33-question survey included nearly 10,000 safety, health, and environmental professionals based in the United States and Canada. The results of this survey showed that individuals that held at least one safety certification typically earned $20,000 more per year than those with none. The Certified Safety Professional (CSP) designation alone added $30,000 to the salary of a safety professional with no other credentials.

Many safety professional job descriptions list the CSP or other BCSP credentials as a desired or required qualification for the job. Companies are looking for individuals with the education and experience, and the BCSP credentials ensure that those individuals meet those qualifications. Many safety professionals have similar education and may have similar backgrounds, so the certification could very well put that individual above the rest.

In order to obtain a safety certification, the individual must have the knowledge and experience that is necessary as a Safety Professional. Passing a comprehensive exam isn’t easy, but does demonstrate a high level of competency. Once certified, keeping up with the latest safety and health trends, standards, and best practices will be required for recertification.

Now that you are convinced that a safety certification can benefit your career, let us discuss what certifications are out there. There is a certification for almost every area or specialty within the health and safety industry. Below are a few commonly sought after.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers many training courses through their OSHA Training Institute (OTI) Education Centers. These courses range from half-day to several days and can lead to completion of various certificate programs. Through OSHA’s Outreach Training Program individuals can obtain their OSHA 10-Hour and 30-Hour cards within the Construction, General Industry, and Maritime industries, as well as Disaster Site Worker.

If you are looking for more advanced certifications, consider those from the Board of Certified Safety Professionals. The individual must meet BCSP requirements to include passing a challenging exam. Those with a college degree can pursue these certifications:

Associate Safety Professional (ASP)

  • Must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in any field or an associate in safety, health, or the environment.
  • Have one year of safety experience where safety is at least 50% of your job tasks/role.
  • Must pass the ASP examination.
  • Retain your certification.
    • Pay annual renewal fee.
    • Meet recertification requirements.

Certified Safety Professional (CSP) is one the highest certifications to strive for. To obtain the CSP you must meet the following requirements:

  • Must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.
  • Must have four years of safety experience where safety is at least 50% of your job tasks/role.
  • Individual holds a BCSP Qualified Credential.
    • ASP, GSP, SMS, CIH…etc. For more information on BSCP Qualified Credentials click here.
  • Pass the CSP examination.
  • Retain your certification.
    • Pay annual renewal fee.
    • Meet recertification requirements.

There are numerous BCSP safety certifications to consider, many of which do not require a college degree.

However, the BCSP is not the only organization that offers safety certifications. The National Association of Safety Professionals (NASP) offers numerous safety classes and certifications including Licensed Safety Professional (LSP) certificate, Certified Safety Manager Construction (CSMC) certificate, and Safety Director Certificate (SDC).  

The NASP offers specialty designations in multiple industries, such as, Construction, General Industry, Petroleum and Environmental. For example, within the Construction Industry designations, they offer a course to obtain a Personal Protective Equipment Specialist Certification. They now include a course to become a COVID-19 Infectious Disease Prevention Specialist (IDS). These are just a few specialist designations that are offered through the NASP.

All NASP designation courses cover the OSHA requirements as well as other regulatory requirements for the applicable industries. Recertification is required for certain accreditations but not for all.

Pursuing a certification is certainly an individual choice. However, there are many benefits to obtaining a certification and can be an important milestone in a safety and health career. To learn more about professional development and the latest trends in safety, check out the MEMIC resources that are available to our policyholders within our Safety Director and on the MEMIC Website.