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In addition to whatever level of education you have achieved, as a Professional in any or all the Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS / OHS/ SHE / HSE) disciplines, one should always consider adding one or more certifications to their portfolio of credentials.  You may ask, “Why would I need a certification if I have ‘X’ number of years of experience or I have my bachelor’s or master’s degree?” 

There are at least three solid responses to this.  First, the certification process guarantees you have been tested by an independent body to ensure you have the body of knowledge for your profession.   This in no way implies you are better or not than any other safety professional, but it does provide a security blanket to the hiring decision makers, who many times are not EHS Professionals, that they have a knowledgeable person.  Second, to maintain your certifications, you need some sort of Continuing Education Units (CEUs), gathered in a predetermined period.  This tells the hiring manager that you continue to learn and remain current with your knowledge as opposed to a degree earned five, 10 or 20 years ago.  Third, the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) has researched and determined that professionals with a certification earn substantially more money than those with similar education and experience and no certifications.

So which certifications should one consider?

It almost goes without saying that the Certified Safety Professional (CSP) certification, through the Board of Certified Safety Professional (BCSP), is the most widely recognized, and considered by many to be the gold standard, certification, especially to non-safety professionals.  However, there are many others that may be specifically relevant to your career and experience. 

Here are some of the nationally recognized certification authorities and what they offer:

Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) https://www.bcsp.org/ :

  • Associate Safety Professional (ASP®)
  • Certified Safety Professional (CSP®)
  • Safety Management Specialist (SMS®)
  • Occupational Hygiene and Safety Technician (OHST®)
  • Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST®)
  • Safety Trained Supervisor (STS®)
  • Certified Instructional Trainer (CIT®)
  • Graduate Safety Professional (GSP®) designation
  • Transitional Safety Practitioner (TSP®) designation

Certified Occupational Safety Specialist (COSS) https://cosstraining.org/

National Association of Safety Professionals (NASP) https://naspweb.com/ :

  • Master Safety Professional (MSP)
  • Certified Safety Director (CSD)
  • Certified Safety Manager Construction (CSMC)

The Board for Global EHS Credentialing (BGC) (formerly American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH))  https://www.gobgc.org

  • CAIH® – Certified Associate Industrial Hygienist®

  • CIH® – Certified Industrial Hygienist®

  • CPEA® – Certified Professional Environmental Auditor®

  • CPPS® – Certified Professional Product Steward®

  • CPSA® – Certified Process Safety Auditor®

  • EPI® – Environmental Professional In-Training®

  • QEP® – Qualified Environmental Professional®

Institute of Hazardous Materials Manager (IHMM) https://ihmm.org/

  • Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM®)
  • Certified Hazardous Materials Practitioner (CHMP®)
  • Certified Dangerous Goods Professional (CDGP®)
  • Certified Dangerous Goods Trainer (CDGT®)
  • Student Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (ST/CHMM®)
  • Certified Safety and Health Manager (CSHM®)
  • Certified Safety Management Practitioner (CSMP®)
  • Associate Safety and Health Manager (ASHM®)

The American Academy of Health Physics (AAHP) https://www.aahp-abhp.org/abhp/home

  • Certified Health Physicist (CHP)

American Biological Safety Association (ABSA) https://absa.org/

  • Registered Biosafety Professional (RBP)
  • Certified Biosafety Professional (CBP)

National Registry of Environmental Professionals (NREP) https://www.nrep.org/

  • Registered Environmental Manager (REM®)