Certified Safety Professional Education Requirements and Career Info

Certified safety professionals require some formal education. Learn about the education, employment outlook and certification information to see if this is the right career for you.

Essential Information

A certified safety professional assesses potential hazards and applies countermeasures to minimize accidents that may harm people, property and the environment. They are educated in various physical, biological and chemical dangers. Knowledge in math, engineering concepts, behavioral sciences, construction, manufacturing and business are essential to a career in safety. Being certified as a safety professional ensures that an individual has met specified educational and experience standards. Certification requires one to meet specific education and experience requirements, as well as to pass a series of exams.

Required Education An associate's or bachelor's degree in occupational health and safety
Certification Requirements Three years of experience and passing two exams
Projected Job Growth 7% for all occupational health and safety specialists from 2012-2022*
Average Annual Salary (May 2013) $98,000 for certified safety professional**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Board of Certified Safety Professionals

Education Requirements for Certified Safety Professionals

The minimum educational requirement to become a certified safety professional is a 2-year college degree in safety and health; however, many employers require a bachelor's degree in occupational health and safety or a closely related field. Master's degrees related to occupational safety are also available.

Those seeking specialization in a particular safety field may pursue additional education in the form of on-the-job training or classroom instruction. Common safety courses include topics such as occupational safety and health standards, risk analysis, safety technology, safety inspections, accident investigations and safety laws.

Earning Certification

To receive the credential of Certified Safety Professional (CSP), an individual must meet an educational requirement, have at least three years of experience working as a safety professional and pass two comprehensive exams. The required exams test an individual's knowledge of safety fundamentals and practical applications. This nationally accredited certification is offered by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (www.bcsp.org).

Following the certification process, individuals must pay an annual fee and meet various continuing education requirements to maintain their status as certified safety professionals. Recertification is typically required every five years.

Career Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for occupational health and safety specialists were expected to increase by 7% between 2012-2022. According to a 2013 report from the BCSP, certified safety professionals earned an average annual salary of $98,000.

Individuals with broad educational backgrounds or graduate degrees may have expanded career prospects. In addition, certified safety professionals are required to be detail-oriented and responsible so that they can quickly note potential hazards and prepare to resolve them. Good communication skills are also necessary to excel and advance in this career.

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