The Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) has long promoted the importance of accreditation when considering professional credentials. Starting this year, the United States military will join the BCSP ranks when they begin the process of similarly reinforcing the value of accredited credentials amongst its service members. BCSP is dedicated to supporting service members during this change.
The National Defense Appropriations Act (NDAA), which is the budget bill Congress passes every year for U.S. military spending, added a new and significant requirement in the 2016 bill – that all professional credentials approved for reimbursement by the Department of Defense must be accredited by a qualified third-party accrediting body.
The U.S. military has long used professional credentials in its recruitment, training and retention of service members. Credentials are also a critical tool in helping servicemen and women transition out of the military into civilian positions. According to Lisa Lutz, President of SOLID LLC and an expert in education, employment, and training of military service members and veterans, 100% of military occupations can be linked to civilian credentials. As a result, credentials represent an important means by which service members, both enlisted members and officers alike, can translate the unique skills, training, and experience they obtained in military service to post-service career fields. Every branch of the U.S. military maintains a list of professional credentials that they will reimburse servicemen and women to pursue.
It is important to note, however, that not all credentials are created equal. An accredited credential is one that has passed the rigorous requirements of an independent, third party evaluation on a set of standards, and then evaluates people against the standard. The standards include minimum requirements for education/training, experience, and demonstrated knowledge and skill through examinations. Accreditation, therefore, ensures to candidates, certificate holders, employers, government agencies, and the public that a certification program operates fairly, openly and effectively. By mandating the use and promotion of only accredited credentials, Congress and the U.S. military are taking an important step forward to ensure the quality and value of the credentials pursued by America’s military veterans.
Fortunately, all of BCSP’s accredited certifications comply with the accreditation requirements outlined in the 2016 NDAA. BCSP has long offered application fee waivers to military veterans to show our appreciation for the service and sacrifice these individuals have provided to the community, and examination fees are further eligible for reimbursement through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
We look forward to the opportunity to continue to support our military Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen, as well as all of our veterans, in safety and health occupations through providing quality, accredited certifications.