How to Become a Safety Manager

Take the lead in making the world a safer place

March 17, 2023

So you want to become a safety manager. Maybe you have years of experience in the industry. Or maybe you’re just getting started. Either way, you have a passion for ensuring the protection of your colleagues, your customers, and your environment.

You desire a position of leadership where you can implement your vision and make decisions to improve the world around you. You want to take your career to the next level.

So how do you get there? How do you gain that level of influence? How do you become a safety manager?

Just like any other objective, it requires hard work, dedication, and ability. It is important to pursue responsibilities and make the most of your opportunities. One way to set yourself apart in that journey is by demonstrating what you know and staying on top of the latest developments in the field.

Safety certifications help you do just that.

Maybe you have a college degree, or maybe you don’t. Perhaps pursuing one right now. Regardless, BCSP offers a credential option to verify your expertise and help you reach your safety leadership goal.

“Really what a certification from BCSP means is the credibility and the notoriety that it gives you,” said Terry Schulte, Director of Safety & Operational Excellence at NuStar Energy, L.P. “Certification from BCSP is known worldwide and gives you that credential and confidence. People will treat you a little differently when you have that. People will take what you say a little more to heart.”

Did you know just one year of safety experience and a bachelor’s degree qualifies you to pursue the Associate Safety Professional (ASP) credential? It’s a great way to prove your commitment and learn the building blocks for a productive career. And it’s also a pathway to higher certification.

Once you have achieved the ASP and gained four years of experience, you are eligible to pursue the Certified Safety Professional (CSP), the gold standard of safety certification. A CSP places you in the top tier of safety and health professionals, setting you apart and positioning you for positions of influence.

While a college degree is required for the ASP and the CSP, BCSP offers another option for highly experienced safety and health professionals—the Safety Management Specialist (SMS). Designed for professionals with at least 10 years of experience who already hold at least some safety management responsibilities, the SMS can affirm your knowledge and help you take the next step.

“I had a lot of duties I was doing before; I knew how to do them, but I didn’t really know the overall functions and consequences of what I was doing,” said Schulte, who earned a promotion after obtaining the SMS. “Going through that exam helped me understand that. It helped me compartmentalize and actually made me a better manager of the safety and health management systems that we have here at NuStar.”

For those aspiring safety professionals in designated college or curriculum-based certificate or diploma programs right now, you have the opportunity to jump on the fast track to certification.

Students whose schools are classified as Qualified Academic Programs or Qualified Equivalent Programs qualify for BCSP’s Graduate Safety Practitioner (GSP) or Transitional Safety Practitioner (TSP) designations. With one of these designations and four years of experience, you are eligible to pursue the CSP—no need to obtain the ASP first.

If you want to become a safety manager, the steps are clear. Gain the required education and/or experience for the position you desire. Identify the certification that can help you get there, study for and pass the examination to become certified, and then put that certification to work.

Then ensure you stay up to date with the latest trends and knowledge by maintaining your credential through recertification and taking advantage of the continuing education and professional development opportunity your BCSP certification affords you.

Become a leader through safety certification. Gain the knowledge and respect that comes from being certified. And become the safety manager you want to be.