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Occupational Health and Safety Technologist (OHST)


The Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) is an independent, not-for-profit certifying agency for health and safety professionals headquartered in Champaign, Illinois that has been credentialing professionals in the field for over 45 years.[1] The BCSP was founded based on recommendations from a study launched by the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) in 1963, which sought to define the roles and necessary education and skills for health and safety professionals. The initial certification board was formed and by 1969, certification standards were developed and the board became an independent, nonprofit entity. Participation of a variety of sponsoring organizations assures that the diverse interests of industries that employ health and safety professionals are represented in standards-setting and certification testing processes.[2] The first Occupational Health and Safety Technician (OHST) certification exam for paraprofessionals was offered in 1985. The number of candidates has grown steadily since then, from 165 people in the 1980’s to 1567 people in the 1990’s and 2346 between 2000 and 2011.[3] The exam is periodically updated based on the results of role analyses of working professionals in the field in order to adequately assess competence in those areas that are most critical to job performance and effectiveness in assessing and mitigating occupational safety risks.[4]

Function of the Test

OHST Study Guide

OHST certification is sought by occupational health and safety technologists as a means of demonstrating their specialized knowledge and skills, competing for well-paying jobs, and advancing their careers. To be eligible, candidates must have a minimum of a high school diploma, plus three or more years of work experience in which over a third of their work responsibilities included occupational and/or environmental health and safety.[5] Certification is voluntary and does not constitute a license to practice. However, it does demonstrate that the certificate holder meets or exceeds industry standard levels of competence in the field.[6] The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), advises employers to consider certification as one of the key criteria for evaluating potential occupational health and safety employees.[7] Most certified technicians are male, work in higher-risk occupations such as manufacturing, construction, chemical industries, or the military, and are employed by larger organizations of over 100 employees. However, the need for certified professionals extends across gender boundaries and exists in all lines of work, including health care, agriculture, insurance, and in educational and training institutions.[8] According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for occupational health and safety technicians are projected to increase steadily over the next few years.[9] A 2012 salary survey found that the average OHST salary is $82,918.43 plus benefits even for those who have been in the field for 5 years or less.[10]

Test Administration

OHST Flashcards

BCSP contracts with testing vendor Pearson VUE to conduct the computer-based OHST exam at hundreds of locations across the United States and Canada. Candidates schedule their preferred date directly with Pearson VUE once they have received authorization to test from BCSP. Exams are offered during business days throughout the year.[11] The cost to take the exam is $440, which includes a non-refundable $140 application fee.[12] Fee waivers are available for US military veterans, federal government employees, and faculty of accredited colleges and universities who teach at least one health and safety course.[13] Eligible candidates are given a window in which to schedule their exam directly with their local Pearson VUE testing center. Candidates who do not schedule their exam before their eligibility end date must reapply with the full testing fee if they still wish to take the exam. This can be avoided by applying for a one-year extension 60 or more days prior to the eligibility end date provided in the examination authorization letter.[14] Candidates who do not pass the exam will receive a score report showing the subject matter domains in which the candidate did not achieve a passing score. BSCP recommends that candidates use this score report as a guide for remedial study before applying to retake the exam.[15] To retake the exam, candidates must pay the exam fee and schedule a new date with Pearson VUE. Retesting can occur at any time during a candidate’s established one-year eligibility period.[16]

Test Format

Sections of the OHST Test
OHST Test Subject Areas Percent
Assessing Safety, Health, Environmental and Security Risk 31.5%
Hazard Control and Loss Prevention 35.5%
Verification and Continuous Improvement 33%
Total 100%

Test Structure

In the Occupational Health and Safety Technologist exam, there are three main topics that are covered: Assessing Safety, Health, Environmental and Security Risk; Hazard Control and Loss Prevention; and Verification and Continuous Improvement. There are 200 multiple choice questions in all. The time allotted to complete all 200 questions is 4 hours.[17]

Test Environment

Testing takes place at Pearson VUE Testing Centers. There, candidates for the OHST are expected to arrive at least thirty minutes early to the exam site. For admission, a government issued, photo ID containing a signature is required. The OHST exam takes place on computer-based tests. The time limit begins as soon as the test begins. The tutorial at the beginning of the test does not count towards the allotted four hours.[18]

Sample Questions

More free OHST practice test questions.


The total score is calculated by adding the number of correctly answered items. Incorrect answers are not counted and therefore it is advantageous to answer all items on the exam, even if some are educated guesses. The minimum passing score for each revision of the OHST exam is determined by evaluating each test item and assigning a score value based on the item’s difficulty. Values are added and the minimum score value required to demonstrate competence is established.[19]


  1. ^ BCSP Pearson VUE Brochure May 4, 2015
  2. ^ BCSP: History of Growth May 5, 2015
  3. ^ BCSP: History of Growth May 5, 2015
  4. ^ Board of Certified Safety Professionals Role Delineation Study of Occupational Health and Safety Technologist and Certified Loss Control Specialist August 2011 May 3, 2015
  5. ^ Complete Guide to the OHST: Application and Examination Information May 3, 2015
  6. ^ BCSP Certifications: Education-Experience-Certification May 5, 2015
  7. ^ Hiring Tips from ASSE May 4, 2015
  8. ^ Board of Certified Safety Professionals Role Delineation Study of Occupational Health and Safety Technologist and Certified Loss Control Specialist August 2011 May 3, 2015
  9. ^ Occupational Outlook Handbook: Occupational Health and Safety Technicians May 4, 2015
  10. ^ Salary Survey May 3, 2015
  11. ^ [1] May 3, 2015
  12. ^ Certification Flow Chart May 4, 2015
  13. ^ Application Fee Waiver May 5, 2015
  14. ^ BCSP Pearson VUE Brochure May 4, 2015
  15. ^ Understanding and Interpreting Your Examination Score Report May 3, 2015
  16. ^ Complete Guide to the OHST: Application and Examination Information May 3, 2015
  17. ^ OHST Blueprint 05 May 2015
  18. ^ OHST Guide 05 May 2015
  19. ^ Understanding and Interpreting Your Examination Score Report May 3, 2015