The Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) currently offers eight designations, including Graduate Safety Practitioner.
First founded in 1969, the BCSP is a certifying agency focused on credentialing professionals promoting safety and hazard control in the workplace. BCSP certifications are meant to show workers’ competency in controlling occupational safety hazards, implementing preventative measures, and addressing workplace accidents. The GSP designation is a entry-level credential for educated graduates to move closer to the Certified Safety Professional (CSP) title. GSPs are recognized for completing a Qualified Academic Program (QAP), but aren’t yet certified. Graduate Safety Practitioners must sit for and pass the CSP comprehensive practice exam within 10 years.
If you’re interested in entering the hazard control industry, below is everything you should know about the GSP designation.
Reasons to Become a GSP
Becoming a Graduate Safety Practitioner can pay off with salary increases. Although the BLS reports that occupational health and safety specialists earn an average income of $70,470, the GSP designation provides a median yearly salary of $92,000.
GSPs are often given hiring preferences by HR managers for occupational safety jobs, especially in government. Attaining the GSP credential certifies that you’ve mastered the core knowledge essential for competent safety practice.
Graduate Safety Practitioners can develop an edge for receiving promotions ahead of their non-credentialed peers. Achieving the GSP designation can help professionals feel more confident and satisfied in their career. There’s also an accelerated path to CSP eligibility for bypassing the ASP examination.
Qualifying for the GSP Credential
To become eligible for the GSP designation, you must attain at least a four-year bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). QAPs are bachelor’s or master’s programs specifically related to safety, health, and environmental practices.
Graduating with an industry-relevant degree accredited by the Applied Science Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET-ASAC) is mandatory. There are currently 27 Qualified Academic Programs in the United States for producing Graduate Safety Practitioners.
As an entry-level designation, there’s no experience requirements for GSPs. However, you’ll need to gain at least 900 hours of professional safety work before advancing to CSP.
The GSP Designation Process
Interested GSP candidates must submit an application to the BCSP in Champaign, Illinois, or online. The Board randomly selects five percent of applicants for audit. If selected, you must submit supporting application materials like a transcript, resume, and references. Accepted candidates may then register for and “purchase” their GSP examination. Paying an exam authorization fee is required before taking the computer-based test at a local Pearson VUE center. Reviewing BCSP study resources first is recommended to make certain you’re prepared to recognize, evaluate, and control occupational hazards. As soon as your answers are submitted, you can receive your results. If you pass, you’ll pay an annual renewal fee to maintain your GSP designation.
Professionals with the GSP credential have completed an eligible bachelor’s or master’s program to verify their expertise in keeping workplaces safe. The BLS predicts that jobs in occupational health and safety will grow slower than average by 4 percent through 2024. Marketing yourself with the GSP designation can give you a competitive advantage for the estimated 2,800 new jobs. In addition to Graduate Safety Practitioner, the BCSP also offers designations like Associate Safety Professional (ASP), Safety Trainer Supervisor (STS), and Occupational Health and Safety Technologist (OHST).