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What to Do With Your Safety Certification When You Advance: ASP to CSP

Oct 15, 2021

Attaining safety and health certifications is a major career milestone for many safetyBusinesswoman writing while sitting at her desk professionals. These designations demonstrate that you’ve reached a certain level in the profession and are dedicated to continuing your education and development.

Two such certifications are the associate safety professional (ASP) and certified safety professional (CSP). Safety professionals can sit for the ASP exam if they have a bachelor’s degree in any field or an associate’s degree in safety, and one year of experience where safety is at least 50% preventative and at a professional level.

The CSP requires that you have a bachelor’s degree, four years of safety experience where safety is at least 50% preventative and at a professional level. You must also have attained a BCSP-qualified credential, such as an ASP or certified industrial hygienist (CIH), before sitting for your CSP exam.

Once you have earned your CSP, you are left with the choice of whether to recertify your ASP. There are arguments for and against keeping your ASP as you advance and attain other certifications. Let’s examine the options for your ASP designation after you earn your CSP.

To Recertify or Not to Recertify?

Whether to retain your ASP after attaining other certifications is a personal decision for each safety professional. For some, like Marcus Scott, CSP, SMS, CIT, environmental safety health director at Greater Georgia Concrete LLC, recertifying his ASP after attaining his CSP is a welcome reminder of hard work and determination.

“The ASP was something that hung over my head for 15 years, and passing it was a major accomplishment,” he says. “My goal was always the CSP, and I passed it one month after I passed the ASP in 2019. Although it’s really not necessary, I will hold onto my ASP as a testament of perseverance.”

These certifications also demonstrate a commitment to professional development that reflects positively on safety professionals, he adds.  

“Safety professionals have to lead by example, and a major part of that is continuous education,” Scott says. “Attaining the ASP and CSP has personally given me a sense of accomplishment and the recognition of expertise from my peers.”

But others feel that, since the ASP is a prerequisite for attaining the CSP, they do not need to continue recertifying their ASP after earning their CSP. For Courtney Lewis, CSP, EHS manager at Toyotetsu North America, it was after several years of recertifying, some personal reflection and reaching out to fellow safety professionals that she decided to drop her ASP.

“I knew what I wanted to do, but I posted a question on LinkedIn to get others’ opinions on why they kept their ASP or let it go,” Lewis says. “Basically, when you have the CSP, that ‘golden standard,’ you do not need to carry on with the ASP.”

Lewis initially kept her ASP because it was something she worked hard to attain. Many of her peers did the same thing, she adds, but eventually dropped their ASP designation.

“When you get the CSP, you can let the ASP drop,” she says. “That is my opinion and that’s what I finally did this past summer after several years of keeping it.”

Those interested in retaining their ASP must recertify every five years, per the recertification cycle, and pay an annual renewal fee. Safety professionals must earn 25 recertification points in that five-year period to recertify. Several activities are worth points, including attending professional development conferences, taking courses and publishing articles.

Listen to the Case for Safety Podcast featuring Courtney Lewis, CSP, to learn more about transitioning from ASP to CSP and preparing for your safety certification exams.

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Brent Charlton
In my opinion, keeping your ASP is a waste of money that benefits nobody except BCSP.  As a hiring manager, I know CSP comes after and it shows more experience so I think that ASP designation being in there looks silly.  Does an MD keep "student doctor" on their resume?


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