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To become a Certified Safety Professional, or CSP, you must understand safety science and know how to manage hazards and risk. The Board of Certified Safety Professionals administers the CSP and manages the two exams in the certification process. Unless you're eligible for a waiver, you must pass the associate safety professional exam, or ASP, before you can apply for the CSP exam.
You need a bachelor's in any discipline or an associate degree to meet the BCSP's academic criteria. An associate degree must be focused on safety, health, environment or related subject. The BCSP also requires that your college or university is accredited by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. The institution must have held accreditation when you earned your degree.
Candidates for certification typically need three years' experience working in a relevant field, such as safety, health, ergonomics, industrial hygiene, or environmental, fire or radiation protection. Your main job function must be professional safety with a focus on prevention, rather than managing problems after they happen. You may need more experience if your degree was in an unrelated field. In some cases, advanced degrees or certification as an occupational health and safety technologist or construction health and safety technician may count toward your professional experience.
Start the CSP Application Process
To apply for certification, submit an application, official transcripts, professional experience forms and your fee to the BCSP. As of 2014, the application fee is $160. During the review process, the BCSP awards points for education, professional experience and other certifications. You need 48 points to qualify for the ASP exam and 96 for the CSP. If you're a BCSP graduate safety practitioner or a certified industrial hygienist, you can waive the ASP exam and go directly to the CSP. If the BCSP approves your application and you have enough points, it will tell you how long you have to arrange and take the exam.
Take the ASP or CSP Exams
To register and pay for an exam, call the BSCP's certification center on 217-359-9263. As of 2014, both exams cost $350. The BSCP gives you an authorization letter and tells its test administrator, Pearson VUE, that you're eligible to take the exam. Schedule a test time at a Pearson VUE center. You can find exam preparation advice in the BSCP's exam guides. The ASP exam covers your knowledge of hazards, safety training and management, and business practices. The CSP tests knowledge of collecting safety information, risk assessment and risk management. Both exams are computerized and feature 200 multiple-choice questions. You have five hours to take the ASP test and 5½ hours for the CSP.
You receive unofficial results as soon as you finish the exam and official results within three weeks. CSP certification lasts for five years, during which time you must collect 25 recertification points if you plan to recertify. You must also pay an annual renewal fee to the BCSP. As of 2014, this is $150. If you're on the ASP track, you must pay an annual renewal fee of $140 to keep your application current until you have enough points to take the CSP exam. According to the BCSP, employers often prefer new hires to be certified, and CSPs earn an average of $30,000 a year more than people without certification.
Carol Finch has been writing technology, careers, business and finance articles since 2000, tapping into her experience in sales, marketing and technology consulting. She has a bachelor's degree in Modern Languages, a Chartered Institute of Marketing.certificate and unofficial tech and gaming geek status with her long-suffering friends and family.