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I’ve been in the safety profession for 23 years. But like many people who find themselves in safety jobs, I didn’t start there and never intentionally aimed to get there. You see, I’m a psychologist. I went straight through my undergraduate studies to graduate school to earn my master’s and doctorate in organizational psychology, entering the workforce full-time at a marketing research firm when I was 25. Later, I worked alongside seasoned safety professionals at an insurance company, where I focused on loss prevention. I absorbed much of my safety know-how the good old fashioned way – by watching others more knowledgeable do their thing.
As my career progressed, I began to appreciate the vast knowledge a safety professional must have to be not just functional but really great at their job. I wanted to work with the clients that “got” safety and wanted to be the best. But that meant I needed to be my best. Even with a PhD, I felt I lacked the breadth and depth of knowledge of a trained and educated safety or engineering professional.
I was determined to expand my safety knowledge and advance my professional standing. I studied for the Associate Safety Professional (ASP) and Certified Safety Professional (CSP) exams, offered through the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP).
BCSP is the “gold standard” in the certification of safety professionals. Certification assures a minimum standard of knowledge and experience among practitioners. It helps companies readily identify qualified individuals for their positions, making recruiting easier. However, as I soon learned, earning the ASP or CSP is no easy undertaking.
I think many exam-takers, including myself, find preparation is key because of the breadth of subject matter. Just looking at the ASP Blueprint on the BCSP website made my head spin. Much of it was foreign to me and really technical. I needed to figure out how to source the materials that would help me study and do so as efficiently and as economically as possible.
My choices included a three-day classroom course (I’m not a good sit-in-your-seat student), self-study or a combination of purchasing study materials (hardcopy) and self-study. I spent many weekend hours at Starbucks poring through ASP Blueprint References. It was challenging to find material that explained all the concepts in the depth I needed to truly understand and apply the principles. I prepared for several months, created mnemonics and “cheat sheets” to condense the points I needed to learn. I remember wishing there was an “easy button” of sorts for the preparation.
Until recently, there was no structured, personalized, self-paced way to prepare for the certification exams. Interested individuals had a daunting decision to either purchase training to assist them in their prep for the exam or figure out how to source material and do a self-study.
Today, I feel privileged to be part of the National Safety Council offering of new examCORE products – online training from BCSP that helps prepare interested individuals for the ASP and CSP exams. The examCORE course makes learning really easy. It is self-paced, adaptive (tailored to your current knowledge needs), based on the ASP and CSP Blueprints, and it provides the user with explanations of the material by qualified experts.
The result is that the individual actually learns the material, not just test-taking strategies. It saves time and money in the long run because it is 100% self-paced (no need to take company time to attend a classroom course). The benefit of being online makes this training more widely available, particularly to an international audience or those who live/work in remote areas.
The National Safety Council knows how crucial it is to build up safety professionals and offer the best opportunities to advance their skills and knowledge. There’s never been a better, more convenient way to earn those career-advancing certifications. So, no matter how you choose to prepare for the exam, know that you have the support of NSC and examCORE behind you.
There will always be excuses for not moving ahead with certification, but if this mother of two can do it, so can you! For more information, visit nsc.org/certprep.
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