Do You Need a Safety Certification?

Do employers require them? What can you gain from them?

June 12, 2023

Maybe you are new to the safety profession. Or perhaps you’ve already gotten your feet wet. As you have pursued this career, you’ve heard about different opportunities for safety certification, and you’ve asked yourself, “Is that something I need?”

Maybe you even earned a degree in safety and you’re wondering, “Is that enough?”

A safety certification offers distinct benefits for both safety practitioners with degrees and those with experience. A degree program typically offers a broad view of safety in general, surveying a variety of different areas and demonstrating graduates’ knowledge of the subjects addressed. Certifications offer the added benefit of recognizing practical skills and specialization.

For instance, BCSP offers eight certifications for practitioners at different stages of their careers and with varying responsibilities. There are options available to professionals both with and without degrees.

Additionally, certification is an ongoing process, encouraging you to stay up to date on the latest industry knowledge and trends. A certification shows others you have the latest safety knowledge and skills, and it requires you to recertify every so often (with BCSP it is every five years) to prove you are continuing to grow and learn.

Do safety jobs require certification? Not always. For instance, you may be able to land an entry-level position without a certification. But as you seek to advance professionally and move higher up the organizational structure, certification becomes increasingly important.

It is a way to differentiate yourself from other candidates and to demonstrate your dedication and expertise to your employer or other potential employers. Often, regulations require safety professionals to be “competent” for certain projects or industries. Certification can help you meet or exceed those competency standards, opening the door to even more opportunity.

Not only do you stand out through certification, but you also enhance the safety of your workplace. The knowledge and skills you gain have a direct impact on protecting others around you and making sure they get home safely at the end of the day. Recent construction industry research from SHIFT revealed a decrease in Total Recordable Incident Rate for each additional certification possessed by safety personnel. Certification is not only beneficial for you but also for the greater good.

To top it off, there are often financial rewards for certification. BCSP regularly conducts salary surveys to determine the return on investment from achieving certification.

Results from more than 9,200 respondents in 2020 showed safety professionals with at least one certification (CSP, SMS, ASP, OHST, CHST, STS, STSC, CIT, CIH, CHMM, CHMP, CDGP) typically earn over $20,000 more than those with none. Additionally, BCSP’s Certified Safety Professional® (CSP®) – the gold standard in safety certification – added $30,000 to the salary of a practitioner with no other credentials.

So do you need a safety certification? Perhaps it’s better to ask what you can gain from certification, both for yourself and for others. Take the time to explore the available options and determine what is right for you. Achieving certification requires time and effort, but the benefits are well worth your investment.