Certified Safety Professionals Exam

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Certified Safety Professionals (CSP)


The BCSP (Board of Certified Safety Professionals) is a credentialing organization providing certification services for a health and safety professionals in a variety of disciplines and at various levels of professional development. BCSP is an outgrowth of professional development initiatives launched by the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) in 1963. Based on recommendations to create a certification board, certification standards were defined and the BCSP was formed as a non-profit entity serving the need for credentialing standards and administration. Certification was offered to qualified professionals without examination in the first two years, and then in 1972 the first CSP (Certified Safety Professional) exam was offered.[1] Each year, hundreds of people take and pass the Certified Safety Professional (CSP) exam.[2] To date, BCSP has certified about 25,000 CSPs.[3]

Function of the Test

CSP Study Guide

The CSP designation is awarded to experienced health, safety and environmental professionals after passing the certification exam. The credential is often sought by employers when making decisions about promotions and hiring for lead roles. In addition, CSP certification is required for key personnel working on construction contracts with the US Army Corps of Engineers and Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC).[4] To be eligible to sit for the CSP exam, candidates must have:

  • An Associate’s degree in safety, health and environmental practices or a very similar field, or a Bachelor’s degree in another field,
  • A minimum of 4 years’ professional work experience playing a key role in prevention and safety which accounts for at least half of the total job responsibilities, and
  • One of several prequalifying certifications in a closely related field.[5]

Depending on the candidate’s degree, experience level, and existing professional affiliations or certifications, he or she may be required to sit for the prerequisite ASP (Associate Safety Professional) exam, or may have the ASP requirement waived.[6] On average, credentialed safety professionals command higher salaries than their non-credentialed peers. According to a recent salary survey, the median salary of credentialed professionals is at least $20,000 per year higher than the median for the positions they hold.[7]

Test Administration

CSP Flashcards

Applications may be sent with a check or money order drawn on a US bank, or with credit card billing information, to BCSP headquarters in Illinois.[8] Alternatively, applications may be made online through BCSP’s Web site. Candidates who complete their applications online and have received approval are then authorized to purchase the CSP exam through BCSP’s online Certification Management System (CMS). At this time, any requests for special accommodations must be made. Testing center accommodations, including authorization for candidates to bring their own assist devices (such as wheelchairs, hearing aids, etc.), may be made for individuals with disabilities covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).[9] The cost to take the test is $510, which includes a $160 non-refundable processing fee.[10] The costs for the ASP exam, if required as a prerequisite to the CSP, is the same as for the CSP exam.[11] Exams are given throughout the year at Pearson VUE testing centers across the United States. Candidates are responsible for scheduling their exam dates directly with Pearson VUE, and are encouraged to schedule far enough in advance to insure availability while still completing their exam within the eligibility window determined by BCSP.[12]

Test Format

Sections of the CSP Test
CSP Test Subject Areas Percent
Collecting Safety, Health, Environmental, and Security Risk Information 28.5%
Workforce Planning and Employment 36.6%
Human Resource Development 34.8%
Total 100% 100%

Test Structure

The CSP examination contains 200 multiple choice questions that have to do with three major domains: Collecting Safety, Health, Environmental, and Security Risk Information; Assessing Safety, Health, Environmental, and Security Risk; and Managing Safety, Health, Environmental, and Security Risk. The CSP allows five and a half hours to complete all 200 questions.[13]

Test Environment

Testing for the CSP takes place at Pearson Vue testing centers. There, candidates are expected to arrive early for their exam time. Each test taker must bring a valid, government issued identification, containing a signature and a photo. Upon completion of the exam, each test-taker will receive their score immediately.[14]

Sample Questions


The score needed to pass the exam using the current examination form is 54.9%.[15] The minimum passing score for the CSP exam represents a standard level of performance needed to demonstrate basic knowledge of safety practices. The score is based on the total number of correct responses to questions on the exam as well as the combined individual weights of each item based on its difficulty. The minimum passing score is thus tied to the difficulty of items included in the examination blueprint, and is subject to change as the exam is revised and questions of varying difficulty are added to, or removed from, the blueprint.[16] Scores are only released to candidates who do not pass the exam. The score report will show the percentage of correct answers for each content domain of the exam to assist candidates in identifying areas of weakness that require further study before retaking the exam.[17] Candidates who do not pass may retake the exam by paying the examination fee and scheduling another exam with Pearson VUE at any time during their eligibility window.[18]

Recent/Future Developments

In order to continue to provide certificate holders with a competitive advantage in the field, BCSP periodically conducts salary surveys to assess the value of the certification. The latest survey, conducted in 2015, will reach out to a number of professional health and safety organizations in order to provide comprehensive results.[19]


  1. ^ [www.bcsp.org/Portals/0/Assets/PDF/Articles_PPT/PPT-BCSP-History-Online.pptx BCSP History of Growth] June 18, 2015
  2. ^ BCSP 2013 Annual Report June 15, 2015
  3. ^ Complete Guide to the CSP: Application and Examination Information June 18, 2015
  4. ^ Career Paths in Safety June 15, 2015
  5. ^ Certification Flow Chart June 14, 2015
  6. ^ CSP Certified Safety Professional Application Guide June 18, 2015
  7. ^ BCSP 2013 Annual Report June 15, 2015
  8. ^ CSP Certified Safety Professional Application Guide June 18, 2015
  9. ^ Taking BCSP Examinations Through Pearson VUE June 15, 2015
  10. ^ Certification Flow Chart June 14, 2015
  11. ^ BCSP’s Safety Certifications June 18, 2015
  12. ^ Taking BCSP Examinations Through Pearson VUE June 18, 2015
  13. ^ Test Guide 08 June 2015
  14. ^ Test Taking Brochure 08 June 2015
  15. ^ BCSP’s Safety Certifications June 15, 2015
  16. ^ Understanding and Interpreting Your Examination Score Report June 15, 2015
  17. ^ Understanding and Interpreting Your Examination Score Report June 15, 2015
  18. ^ Complete Guide to the CSP: Application and Examination Information June 18, 2015
  19. ^ First Quarter 2015 BCSP eNewsletter June 15, 2015