As I embarked on my professional journey in the field of environmental, health, and safety management, I was unaware of the certifications and credentials available that could further establish my expertise.
Like many, I was drawn to the prestige of professional certifications and the opportunity they presented to showcase my knowledge and experience in a universally recognized format. I sought counsel from a corporate health and safety member, who shed light on the arduous journey ahead.
But, in the end, I chose to pave my own way, taking my sweet time to achieve the ultimate goal of becoming a certified safety professional.
Now, with this blog post, I hope to enlighten you, my readers, on how to become a certified safety professional, drawing from my personal experiences and insights.
How to Become a Certified Safety Professional: The BCSP
If you want to know how to become a certified safety professional, the first step is to identify the right credentialing body. In my search for the best safety credentials, I stumbled upon various organizations.
However, a valuable tip from my mentor led me to the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP). The BCSP stands out among its peers as a leading accrediting body for safety professionals, revered for its stringent standards and globally recognized credentials.
Through this blog post, my discussions will center around the certifications offered by the BCSP, providing you with a focused and detailed guide on your path to becoming a certified safety professional.
The BCSP offers extensive and detailed information on their certification and recertification processes to guide potential applicants. It's crucial to understand the importance of this information—it not only provides clarity on the prerequisites and requirements for each credential but also outlines the path to achieving them.
Whether you're an entry-level safety professional looking to gain your first certification, or an experienced professional seeking recertification or advanced credentials, BCSP's comprehensive guides cater to your needs. These guides help you to identify which credential is best suited to your career goals, and meticulously map out the journey you need to embark on to achieve it.
I strongly urge you to take full advantage of these resources provided by the BCSP, as they can significantly streamline your certification journey and provide a clear path to your professional advancement.
In the early stages of my career, I hadn't given much thought to obtaining the Certified Safety Professional (CSP) credential. It was only when I landed a role that was primarily focused on health, safety, and environment that I truly began to recognize its value.
Becoming a CSP has not only elevated my professional status but also given me profound insights and practical knowledge that I now apply on a daily basis. I want to be clear. I am showing you how to become a certified safety professional. I did it.
However, this is not the only way to do it per se. If you want a more comprehensive list of all the requirements to get to the CSP, check out the BCSP's website on the topic of certification.
My experience began with an in-depth exploration of the BCSP's comprehensive guides, which helped me understand the prerequisites and delineate the steps I needed to follow. I urge you, as I did, to make full use of these resources.
Remember, my path to becoming a CSP may not be your path, though there will undoubtedly be some similarities. The BCSP's website provides numerous avenues towards acquiring the certification that are worth exploring. Each journey is unique, and it's essential to choose a path that aligns with your career goals and aspirations.
Certified Safety Professional Requirements
Higher Education Requirement
To begin your journey toward becoming a Certified Safety Professional, a critical requirement is holding a bachelor's or four-year degree. Unlike the Certified Industrial Hygienist credential, your degree does not necessarily have to be in a Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (STEM) field.
This requirement is a testament to the BCSP's recognition of the diverse backgrounds from which safety professionals originate. Speaking from personal experience, I met this requirement with my Bachelor of Science degrees in both Chemistry and Psychology and a Master of Science in Environmental Policy and Management.
The key is to harness the unique knowledge and skills gained from your specific academic background and utilize them within the realm of health and safety.
I would like to mention that I started my journey here, as I believe it is important to provide context. When I decided to pursue a career in health and safety management, I was already one step ahead in fulfilling the requirements to become a Certified Safety Professional.
Before embarking on this path, I had successfully obtained a bachelor's degree, which laid a solid foundation for my knowledge and understanding in this field. This educational background has not only equipped me with the necessary skills, but it has also instilled in me a deep sense of responsibility toward ensuring the safety and well-being of others.
Gaining the Required Experience
To become a certified safety professional, you must have at least 4 years of professional-level experience. This means spending 4 years in a role where your primary responsibility involves looking after health, safety, or the environment.
It might seem like a daunting task, but let me assure you, it's achievable. When I embarked on this journey, I was a novice, just like you might be now. I started in a full-time capacity where health and safety took up a major part of my role. However, I too lacked the necessary experience in the beginning.
Was I worried? Sure, I was. But did it deter me? Absolutely not. I stayed committed to my path, and today, with over 10 years of work dedicated solely to health and safety, I've been able to fulfill this prerequisite and then some.
So, if you're feeling doubtful or apprehensive about fitting the bill, remember my story. Remember that with persistence and dedication, you too can reach this milestone. As you navigate the world of health and safety, take each day as a learning opportunity. Before you know it, you'll have acquired the necessary experience for certification!
The Stepping Stone: Associate Safety Professional (ASP) Credential
Interestingly, becoming a Certified Safety Professional isn't just a leap; it's a climb that can include gaining the Associate Safety Professional (ASP) credential. Personally, I think of the ASP as a stepping stone on your path to becoming a Certified Safety Professional.
The requirements for this credential are less stringent, making it a feasible starting point. You need a 4-year degree in any field of your choice and a year's worth of professional experience in health and safety.
It is important to note that while it is possible to achieve the Associate Safety Professional (ASP) certification with a 2 year degree, this may not be sufficient for those who aspire to attain the Certified Safety Professional (CSP) certification.
The CSP requires a higher level of education, with it being a bachelor's degree or higher. Therefore, if your ultimate goal is to become a CSP, it is crucial to plan your education accordingly and ensure that you meet the necessary degree requirements.
Now, where were we? Oh that's right. Financial commitments. Yes, the process also involves some financial commitments - an application fee, and an exam fee, but keep in mind, that this is an investment in your professional future.
Once you've fulfilled these prerequisites, you're eligible to sit for the ASP exam. This exam will prove your understanding of the fundamental aspects of health and safety, and passing it is your ticket to gaining the ASP credential.
I remember the sense of achievement I felt when I received my ASP credential. It was a tangible reminder of my commitment and progress. This experience, despite its challenges, was instrumental in paving my path towards becoming a Certified Safety Professional.
So, take heart. Every step you take in this journey, even the smaller ones like gaining the ASP, brings you one step closer to your ultimate goal.
The Financial Requirements: Investing in Your Future
As I've traveled down this path, I've learned that there are indeed financial considerations when you're working towards the ASP and CSP certifications. Let's break it down, shall we?
First off, there's your application for the ASP certification. As of the time when I applied, that set me back around $150. But, remember, this isn't just an expense - it's an investment in your future.
Once your application is accepted, you'll receive the go-ahead to schedule your exam. And this is where you'll encounter your second financial commitment. The exam fee was, for me, around $300.
Keep in mind, that these prices may have changed by the time you're reading this. For the most up-to-date information, I highly recommend checking out the BCSP's website.
I know, it might sound like a lot of money. But think about the countless doors this certification can open for you; the rewarding career opportunities, and the chance to make a real difference. When you look at it that way, isn't it worth every penny?
When it comes to the financial requirements for the CSP, the scenario is quite similar. You have the application fee which, just like the ASP, was around $150 when I applied. After your application has been accepted, you'll be tasked with scheduling your exam.
This comes with its own fee, roughly around $320, similar to the ASP exam. Now, you might be thinking, "Isn't this a bit steep?" I understand. I felt the same when I was in your shoes.
But remember, to qualify for the CSP, you would have already had to gain some form of qualifying credential, which likely had similar costs. In essence, you've already been investing in your future, and this is just another step on that journey.
For the most current costs associated with both the ASP and CSP, I strongly advise visiting the official BCSP website. It's here you'll find the most accurate and updated fees for both the application and examination.
Understanding these costs will help you plan more effectively for your journey toward becoming a certified safety professional. For detailed information about the ASP costs, you can refer to this link. Similarly, for the up-to-date details about the CSP costs, go to this link.
Mastering the CSP Examination
The Certified Safety Professional (CSP) examination is a hurdle you will need to cross on your path toward becoming a fully certified safety professional. From my own experience, I can tell you that this exam will test your mettle. My preparation for the CSP exam was easily twice as intense compared to the time I devoted to the ASP examination.
One of the tools that was instrumental during my study was the pocket prep app, based on the book "The Safety Professional's Handbook Vol. 2" by David Yates. This book served as a cornerstone of my study regimen, and I highly recommend it whether you use pocket prep or the book directly.
You'll be pleased to know there is now a third volume available. Another valuable resource was Span Safety, which I used extensively during my preparation.
I implore you to take the preparation for this exam seriously. I recommend devoting no less than three months to focused study. However, I am aware that everyone's learning style and pace are different. If you are someone who can digest and retain information efficiently, you might find yourself ready sooner than this.
The CSP exam is designed to be completed in around five and a half hours. You can find test times, as well as other information, for various certification exams here. While I didn't require the full time allotment, I was relieved to have it.
The extra time ensured I didn't feel rushed, allowing me to thoroughly think through and solve each problem. Remember, this isn't just about passing an exam, it's about becoming a competent Safety Professional who is capable of making meaningful contributions to the field. So, take a deep breath, buckle down, and prepare for an exhilarating journey towards becoming a Certified Safety Professional.
I'll be frank with you. I procrastinated on my journey to becoming a certified safety professional. You heard me right. I'm not proud of it, but hey, I'm human just like you.
Initially, the whole idea seemed daunting and, honestly, I was scared. But eventually, I realized that I had to buckle down, dig into my studies, and dedicate myself to the preparation required.
Becoming a certified safety professional isn't a walk in the park. There are significant requirements and, within those, even more stipulations to meet. But I am here today, having navigated that winding road and I can tell you, it's worth it. I shared my journey with you, not as a rigid blueprint, but as a guide, as a testament to the fact that this goal is achievable.
If you are closer to the beginning of your career as a safety professional, then pace yourself. It seems like many these days went to a college or university and have achieved the 4 year degree already. If this is you, that's one requirement down!
It makes sense to try to get an entry level job where you will have some professional responsibility for health and safety. They do exist. If you're worried about costs, well, there can be quite some time between getting the ASP and the CSP, so the costs don't have to be back to back.
Remember, everyone's path is different. There are multiple ways to prepare and succeed. You have the freedom to choose what works best for you. I'm beyond grateful to have this credential to my name and if you're interested in this field, there's no better time to start than now. Follow your ambitions and remember, stay safe out there!