Would you like to pursue the Associate Safety Professional (ASP) or Certified Safety Professional (CSP) certification and don’t know where to start? We know it can seem daunting and you’re not even sure what the first step is. That’s okay. We understand. We’re here to help.
The following steps will help you begin the process of earning your ASP and CSP certification.
1. Know who the certifying agency is and what the minimum requirements are.
The Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP.org) awards the ASP and CSP certifications.
The ASP certification requires:
- A bachelor's degree in any field or an associate degree in safety, health or the environment. The associate degree must meet the requirements as outlined at bcsp.org/ASP.
- At least 1 year of experience where safety is at least 50%, preventative, professional level with breadth and depth of safety duties.
- A passing score on the ASP examination (107/175*)
The CSP certification requires:
- Minimum bachelor's degree in any field or an associate degree in safety, health or the environment. The associate degree must meet the requirements as outlined at bcsp.org/CSP.
- At least 4 years of experience where safety is at least 50%, preventative, professional level with breadth and depth of safety duties and
- One of the following credentials: ASP; GSP; CIH; CMIOSH; CRSP; CSE; Master of Occupational Safety and Health, International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization (ITC-ILO); MISPN; NEBOSH National or International Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety; SISO; Diploma/Certificate in Industrial Safety, as issued by the State Government Departments/Boards of Technical Education, Government of India.
- A passing score on the CSP examination (100/175*)
2. Determine if you are eligible.
Do you meet the above minimum requirements for both the education and years of experience?
Great! Go on to step 3.
Details about applying, the certification process, what to expect on exam day, and how to maintain your certification are provided in these guides.
4. Submit your application materials.
To begin your application, visit bcsp.org/ASP or bcsp.org/CSP and click the green “Apply Now” button. The BCSP will confirm your eligibility and approve you to sit for the exam. You will also pay a $160 application fee*.
5. Purchase your exam and schedule your exam date.
When you receive approval from the BCSP, it’s time to pay for your exam. At the time of this writing, the exam fee is $350* for both the ASP and the CSP exams. That’s $350 each. Just remember, it’s worth it! Your job possibilities and earning potential will increase substantially by adding these letters behind your name.
Then, SCHEDULE YOUR EXAM DATE.
This is the #1 piece of advice we give our clients (almost daily).
Give yourself a goal. We know you’ve heard about S.M.A.R.T goals. This is the measurable part…a target date. Just make sure the date you pick is timely and attainable. Scheduling it for a week from now might not be the best idea.
The BCSP uses Person Vue as their official computer-based testing proctor. More information can be found here: http://www.bcsp.org/Portals/0/Assets/DocumentLibrary/BCSPVUEBrochure.pdf.
6. Purchase a Self-Assessment Exam and schedule study time.
The $100 you spend on a self-assessment exam will be well worth it. The self-assessment exam is invaluable in helping you:
- find your strengths and weaknesses in each of the domains,
- determine a test-taking pace (You have 5.5 hours to take the CSP exam and 5 hours to take the ASP exam), and
- create a studying plan for the real exam.
Now determine how much time you have each day to set aside for studying. Some clients find an hour a day for several weeks works for them. Others find it easier to schedule in twenty minutes during the week and a longer period of time on the weekends. You will need to determine what works best with your schedule.
7. Take an exam prep course (if needed).
You may or may not need to take an exam prep course. Determining whether or not to take a review course is a decision only you can make. Yes, we provide online review courses to help you prepare for both the ASP and CSP exams, but, you may find using recommended reference materials, sample exam questions, and a quiz app is all you need.
A prep course can provide you:
- A structured path for review
- Accountability – showing up for class and completing homework
- A support system from instructors and others preparing for the exam
- Test-taking strategies
- Help in understanding the topics and/or concepts you have difficulty with
8. Take the exam.
You studied, you took the self-assessment exam, and finished an exam prep course. Now it’s “game day.”
Get a good night’s rest, eat a good breakfast, take a deep breath and enter the testing center confident and ready to concentrate. Remember there is a best answer to all questions. Skip any questions you can’t answer in less than 40 seconds. Go through the exam twice and come back to those questions you skipped. You might be surprised what comes back to you as you go through the exam a second time.
Remember, you don’t have to get a perfect score on the exam, just a passing score.
9. Celebrate and add a comma and 3 letters to your name.
You did it! You took the exam and receive a “Congratulations, you passed!” This may come the 1st, 2nd, or 8th try at the exam. Many will be successful the first time, others will need to take the exam more than once to pass. Our advice, stay the course and learn from each attempt.
10. Maintain your certification.
Now that you have the ASP or CSP designation, you don’t want to lose it (or take the exam again!)
The BCSP requires that those who hold one of their certifications show they are still qualified to do so. Certificants must earn enough recertification points every five years to maintain their certification. There are multiple ways to earn recertification points. See BCSP’s Recertification Guide for a list of eligible activities.
As of this writing, ASPs and CSPs are required to earn 25 Recertification points every 5 years.
Remember, you are responsible for tracking your activities and recertification points. One suggestion is to create a file folder (either paper or electronic) to store documentation of your recertification points.
The BCSP also provides an online “Recertification Worksheet” for you to record your activities. You can access this worksheet by logging into My Profile on the BCSP website.
Take one step at a time and before you know it, you will be a seasoned certified professional helping someone else begin the steps toward certification.