Safety & Health Certifications

There are a huge number of safety and health certifications available.  Only a few are primary and recognized in the industry. Others do not offer the rigor necessary to actually provide any validation of knowledge.  Because there are so many certifications, consumers of safety services can be confused by off-brand certifications. Here we summarized some of the most common and recognized certifications and we provide a summary of each. 

CSP - Certified Safety Professional issued by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals.  This certification is a primary certification for safety professionals in the United States. It is issued to individuals who have an adequate level of college education in safety, experience (five years) and pass two examinations. Individuals holding this certification provide some assurance that they have a base level of safety knowledge.

ASP - Associate Safety Professional issued by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals.  This certification is an interim certification for someone pursuing the CSP and has passed the first examination, but may not have the experience required to sit for the CSP exam.

GSP - Graduate Safety Professional issued by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals.  This certification is given to graduates of a four-year safety and health degree program which is accredited by ABET.  These individuals, upon reaching the experience requirement are only required to take the second examination to obtain the CSP.

CHST - Construction Health and Safety Technician issued by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals.  This certification has limited formal educational requirements, but does require experience in the construction field (3 yrs.) and requires that 35% of this experience be dedicated to safety and health.  Passing an exam is required to obtain the certification.

OHST - Occupational Health and Safety Technician issued by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals.  This certification is focused on a technician level of competency for a safety professional. The certification requires five years or experience or combinations of experience and formal education, but does not require a degree. Passing an exam is required to obtain the certification.

STS - Safety Trained Supervisor issued by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals.  This certification is intended to show some competency in safety for supervisors.  The certification is not intended as a professional level certification as a safety professional.  The certification requires at least 30 hours of safety and health training and the successful completion of an exam.

CIH - Certified Industrial Hygienist issued by the American Board of Industrial Hygienists is the primary certification for industrial hygienists who are trained and focused on the prevention of occupational disease and illnesses in the workplace through the recognition, evaluation and control of health hazards.  If you are having industrial hygiene work performed, it should be directed or overseen by a CIH. Many individuals claim to be industrial hygienists.  The CIH designation verifies this claim. The pass rate for this exam is quite low (always under 50%) and it is one of the more difficult certifications to obtain. For more information on the role of a CIH see "What is an Industrial Hygienist?"  For a period of time the ABIH offered a certification of Certified Associate Industrial Hygienist (CAIH) which was less stringent and less hard science course requirements for eligibility.  This certification has not been offered since 2006.

CHMM - Certified Hazardous Material Manager is issued by the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management. This certification requires a four-year degree in a related field, four years of relevant hazardous materials management experience and completion of an exam.  The certification is focused on the management of hazardous materials.  This group also offers other related certifications including HMMT which is an interim certification (similar to the ASP).

CDGP - Certified Dangerous Goods Professional is issued by the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management.  This certification is focused on the UN and DOT requirements for the proper transportation of hazardous materials.  This is a new certification which is still being validated for its testing exam.

All of the above have continuing education requirements to maintain the designation.  

Other certifications or designations which have some merit include:
Certified Fire Protection Specialist (CFPS);
Certified Professional Ergonomist (CPE);
Certified Indoor Air Quality Professional (CIAQP);