How to Become a
Certified Safety Professional (CSP)
by Albert V. Condello III Ph. D CSP CHMM
If you are considering becoming a certified safety professional, this article outlines the requirements for both education and work experience and discusses how to prepare for the exams and certification process.
First, you will have to pass the Associate Safety Professional (ASP) (formerly the Safety Fundamentals) exam. This is an exam and certification through the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP). Taking and passing the ASP exam is a prerequisite for sitting for the Certified Safety Professional (CSP) (formerly the Comprehensive Practice) examination. The ASP provides a firm foundation of Occupational Safety & Health (OSH) knowledge and skills to help pass the 5.5 hour (200 multiple choice) CSP exam. The examination has a minimum passing score of 54.90%. The cost to take each exam is $350. This is in addition to the application fee of $160 for each certification.
Degree requirements to sit for the ASP and CSP exams are a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in any field or an associate in safety, health or environmental practice or a closely related field.
You must have four years of safety experience to sit for the CSP exam and at least one year for the ASP exam. Your application must document that you have a position in safety where safety comprises at least 50% of your job duties and responsibilities. Your application and experience must demonstrate that you have worked for past and present employers in a preventive, professional capacity with the necessary breadth and depth of safety duties. (Source: CSP Program Overview - http://www.bcsp.org/CSP)
The secret to being successful in passing these exams lays in knowing your strengths and weaknesses. It is also important to have a preparation plan that is at least six months out from taking either examination.
During the week before you are scheduled to take the exam, your study strategy should concentrate on the answers that you keep getting wrong. Consider using Datachem’s CSP prep or other computer database of questions, such as those from American Society of Safety Engineers’ (ASSE) CSP Practice Study Guide or from the vendor of the exam preparation workshop that you attended.
Practice with calculators is equally important to understand how to use them. You must be comfortable using the two calculators that you can bring into the exam. You need to know how to solve statistics problems using a scientific calculator such as the TI-30XII. It is also worth your investment to be able to use a financial calculator such as the HP10bII+ for solving engineering economy questions that involve lease versus buy and present and future time value when borrowing, or having to pay as a lump sum in the future.
There are many different reasons to become a CSP, including personal growth, marketability, peer recognition and higher salary. Earning the CSP certification gives a safety professional the competitive edge over others vying for jobs and can have a great impact on your salary. BCSP projects that on average CSPs earned $97,324 annually in 2014.1
After completing all of the requirements, BCSP will endorse candidates who pass the certification exam. All certifications are awarded on an annual basis and those holding one must pay an annual fee of $150 for the CSP and $140 for the ASP in order to maintain the endorsement. All those who are certified must remain up to date with changes in professional practice by compiling their recertification points every five years.
View more information about the occupational safety & health programs at Columbia Southern University.
Albert V. Condello III Ph. D CSP CHMM, lecturer on safety management, environmental and fire protection engineering, currently is a professor at the University of Houston. Condello is also a graduate of Columbia Southern University.