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EHS credentials are based on education, years in the profession and in some cases, on what other credentials they hold. While it would be nice to have an entry level EHS professional who holds the Certified Safety Professional (CSP) credentials, in reality that’s not going to happen because an entry level EHS professional wouldn’t be qualified to sit for the CSP exam just yet. So, if you’ve already published an advertisement for the position and aren’t getting many applicants, it may be because you’ve asked for credentials that don’t align with the level of the position.
The Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) currently offers 10 different exam based credentials and certifications for EHS professionals. To earn any one of these, an applicant must usually meet specific educational and work experience requirements before they will be allowed to sit for an exam (if there is one). If you’d like to learn more about the different credentials and how the process works, take a look at our blog article on EHS Professional Credentialing.
If you’re hiring an entry level EHS professional, you’ll want this person to have at a minimum, a two year degree in one of the EHS disciplines (occupational safety and health, environmental management, safety or environmental science, etc.).
Most entry level EHS professionals will not have a lot of work experience in the field but may have had an internship or performed minimal health and safety tasks at a previous employer. A great resource for finding good candidates to fill an entry level EHS position is at a local community college or university that offers a degree program in one of the EHS disciplines.
When looking at resumes, you’ll want to look for people who have performed tasks such scheduling and providing safety training, managing chemical safety data sheets, performing walk through safety inspections, helping with incident investigations and managing records. They might also have been responsible for tracking any safety metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs). As far as environmental experience, you will probably not find many people at this level with much environmental experience. If they do have environmental experience, it will be limited to things like performing stormwater visual inspections or other very basic tasks.
A person at this level may hold a GSP (Graduate Safety Practitioner) credential but will probably not have formal credentials because most credentials from the Board of Certified Safety Professionals require a certain amount of education and experience which this person won’t have.
Someone who is at this level will have worked in the EHS profession between five and seven years or longer and will usually hold a four year degree in Occupational Health & Safety (or a related discipline) OR this person will hold a non-safety related four year degree and will have more years of experience.
They will have all of the same experience as the Safety Technician/Specialist but again, at a higher level and among other things, will also have experience working with senior and line management and regulatory agencies, designing, implementing and managing EHS programs at one or more facilities, evaluating written programs and testing them for effective implementation, planning and managing a budget and managing workers compensation claims and return to work programs. Someone at this level will usually have experience with environmental program management, writing and submitting environmental reports and providing guidance to facility management on environmental matters.
If this person holds credentials, they could be any of the formal credentials offered by the BCSP but will most likely be the Certified Safety Professional (CSP), the ASP (Associate Safety Professional) credential or the Certified Industrial Hygienist® (CIH®) credential—or any combination of these.
Hiring the right EHS professional can be taxing but with a little planning, it doesn’t have to be. If you’re looking to learn more about the EHS profession you’re joining, make sure to check out our blog for more great tips, like these essential workplace safety skills for EHS professionals.
Katy Lyden is a EHS Domain Analyst and Subject Matter Expert for StarTex Software, the company behind EHS Insight. Prior to her current role, Katy spent 17 years successfully leading EHS programs for several large companies within the manufacturing industry. Katy is a Navy veteran, Licensed Emergency Medical...
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