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How CSP® Certification Can Advance Your Occupational Safety and Health Career

As you navigate your way through the occupational safety and health field, adding certifications can significantly boost your career prospects. Becoming a Certified Safety Professional® – commonly known as a CSP® – is a worthwhile goal as you plan your career.

Whether you’re an established safety professional considering certification or still working toward your initial academic degree, it can be useful to learn as much as possible about what it takes to become a Certified Safety Professional®.

In this article, we will explore the following questions:

  1. What is a Certified Safety Professional®?
  2. Is CSP® certification worth it?
  3. How do you get a CSP® certification?

1. What is a Certified Safety Professional (CSP)?

A Certified Safety Professional® (CSP®) is an individual who has completed the CSP® examination offered by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals. They perform professional safety duties, assess risks, and evaluate hazards and risk control measures. They’re also largely responsible for investigating incidents, emergency response preparation, and much more. CSPs work anywhere oversight is required, from offices to factories.

Differences Between the ASP® and CSP®

If you’ve also heard of the Associate Safety Professional® – commonly known as the ASP® – you may be wondering “What is the difference between an ASP® and CSP®?”

The ASP® and CSP® represent different levels of professionalism in occupational safety and health, as they have different requirements for education and years of experience. Safety professionals typically earn the ASP® early in their career, and they build up to the more comprehensive CSP® over time.

ASP and CSP Requirements

RequirementsAssociate Safety Professional® Certified Safety Professional®
EducationBachelor’s degree in any field; or an associate degree in safety, health or the environmentBachelor’s degree
Experience1 year4 years
OthernoneASP®, GSP®, or another BCSP qualified credential

2. Is CSP® Certification Worth It?

The value of CSP® certification can be both tangible and intangible. Some CSP® certification benefits may include:

  • A stronger foundation for understanding industry trends and best practices.
  • Enhanced job mobility.
  • Higher earning potential.

In the 2020 SH&E Industry Salary Survey, the 3,770 respondents who were CSP® certified reported a median base salary of $110,000, while the median salary for all 8,112 respondents was $98,000. Earning a CSP® can lead to satisfying careers in environmental safety and management, industrial hygiene, management and many other safety-related fields.

3. How Do You Get a CSP® Certification?

In addition to passing the exam offered by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals – and meeting the BCSP’s recertification requirements – you will also need to complete the following CSP® requirements:

  • Earn a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.
  • Have at least four years of experience where at least 50% of your time is spent on preventative, professional-level safety duties.
  • Have a qualified credential through the BCSP, such as the Associate Safety Professional® or the Graduate Safety Practitioner®.

One of the quickest routes to earning a CSP® is first earning an academic degree in a Qualified Academic Program from a school like Columbia Southern University. Here at CSU, both our bachelor’s degree and master’s degree programs have earned QAP recognition from the BCSP. When you finish a degree in a Qualified Academic Program, you are automatically eligible for the GSP® designation. Those who hold this designation may bypass the requirement to complete the ASP® first.

Can You Get a CSP® Without a Degree?

The short answer is “no.” In 2018, the BCSP updated their CSP® education requirements to include a bachelor’s degree at a minimum; previously, candidates could apply for the certification with an associate degree.

CSP® Exam Prep

There are several options for CSP® exam prep, but here at CSU, we are proud to have partnered with the BCSP to offer an online, interactive training program called examCORE. Students who enroll in examCORE learn the knowledge and skills needed to complete BCSP certification exams from leaders in the profession, including CSU faculty.


Here at Columbia Southern University, occupational safety and health was one of our first academic degree programs, and our faculty members are recognized leaders in the industry. Dr. Dan Corcoran, occupational safety and health academic program director for CSU, hosted a webinar in 2018 with a comprehensive look at CSP® certification and the benefits of pursuing a degree in a Qualified Academic Program.

To learn more about our occupational safety and health online degree programs at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree levels, visit our website.

This article was originally published at ColumbiaSouthern.edu/Blog.