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Professional Safety Certification 101. What you need to know to prepare for the OHST or CLCS Examination.

This webpage will help educate individuals on the OHST/CLCS Prep Course and Certification requirements

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Frequently Asked Questions about OHST or CLCS Examination:

Professional Safety Development

Fatalities in work zones by state

Type in "Safety Certification" into a search engine and you'll get a plethora of options.

In fact, there are about 300 so-called certification programs and titles available in the United States in safety, health, environment and ergonomics fields. With so many options you have to question, which ones are better? Getting the best certification possible is especially important in today's economy because many employers and government organizations rely on the certification process to select employees or award contracts.

Program Accreditation

The first thing you need to look at is the program's accreditation. Accredited peer certification programs set standards and evaluate people against the standards. The standards include minimum requirements for education/training and experience and demonstrated knowledge and skill through examinations.

Of course, many of the "not-so-accredited" safety certifications realize the importance of accreditation so they have aligned themselves with accreditation groups which are themselves, not accredited. That is pretty sneaky!

True accreditation of peer certification programs provides an independent, third-party evaluation of many factors which contribute to ensuring candidates, certificate holders, employers, government agencies and the public that a certification program operates fairly, openly and effectively.

The two organizations most commonly awarding accreditation in the environmental, safety, and health fields are the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) and the American National Standards Institute's (ANSI) administration of the ISO 17024 standard. Both organizations evaluate peer certification boards for compliance with national and international standards.

If the certification you are looking at is not accredited by at least one of these two entities you may want to look elsewhere!

What Safety Certifications are best?

When considering a safety certification, it is imperative to review the quality of the program. Holding accredited certifications and demonstrating competency through quality certification programs can open doors to employment, advancement, leadership, contracts and compensation.

There are generally speaking 6 certifications which are well respected in the safety, health, environment and ergonomics fields.

  1. OHST/ CLCS- The OSHT or CLCS are technologist level certifications offered by the Board Of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP). An Occupational Health and Safety Technologist (OHST) or a Certified Loss Control Specialist (CLCS) is a person who performs occupational health and safety activities on a full-time or part-time basis as part of their job duties. These certificate holders do not require a college degree and the certification requirements are less stringent than some of the other certifications listed below. For more information click here. http://www.bcsp.org/ohst_clcs
  2. CHST- Like the OHST/ CLCS, the Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST) certification is offered by the BCSP as a technologist level certification for individuals who demonstrate competency and work part-time or full-time in health and safety activities in the construction industry. For more information click here. http://www.bcsp.org/chst
  3. CHMM- The Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM) certificate is offered by the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management (IHMM). This certificate offers the hazmat industry's premier accredited professional credentials and required a Baccalaureate degree (or higher) from an accredited college or university in hazardous materials management, environmental science, one of the physical sciences, or a related field. For more information click here. http://www.ihmm.org/
  4. CIH- The Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) designation is provided by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH). The CIH is the premier occupational hygiene certification in the world. CIH's required at least a Bachelor's degree in biology, chemistry, engineering, physics or an ABET accredited program in industrial hygiene or safety. For more information click here. http://www.abih.org/
  5. CPE- The Certified Professional Ergonomist (CPE) designation is offered by the Board of Certification in Professional Ergonomics (BCPE). CPE's required at least a master's degree and three years of practice in human factors/ergonomics. For more information click here. http://www.bcpe.org/
  6. CSP- The Certified Safety Professional (CSP) credential is the mark of the safety professional. Like the Professional Engineer designation for engineers or the Certified Public Accountant designation for accountants, the CSP certification marks individuals who have met educational and experience standards and passed rigorous examinations validated against the practice of hundreds of safety professionals. No other safety certification holds the same level of demand by employers and government agencies. Also no other safety credential has the same impact on salary. CSP's required at least a bachelor's degree and 5 years of professional experience. For more information click here. http://www.bcsp.org/csp

What does OHST and CLCS stand for?goto top

An Occupational Health and Safety Technologist (OHST) and or Certified Loss Control Specialist (CLCS) are two safety certifications which are fully accredited and respected by both employers and governmental agencies on a national and international level.

OHST's and CLCS's are people who perform occupational health and safety activities on a full-time or part-time basis.

Who is in charge of administering these certificates?

Both certifications are administrated by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) and have received accreditation by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) and the National Skill Standards Board (NSSB). This level of accreditation is why these two certifications are so respected!

What are some of the benefits of having an OHST or CLCS designation?

Completing the OHST/CLCS exam has various advantages including:

  • Increasing your qualifications as a safety professional to employers and the public
  • Can increase a salary due to higher credentials, knowledge, and respect.

What are the prerequisites needed before taking an OHST or CLCS exam?

  1. You must work part-time or full-time in occupational health or safety (35% is the minimum)
  2. You must have duties that require technical skills and knowledge in occupational health or safety
  3. You must have five years of experience in occupational health or safety

You may also substitute college courses in health and safety or an associate degree or higher in certain disciplines for some or the entire experience requirement. Degrees that may be substituted for experience are noted in BCSP's education standards.

If you are enrolled in an associate or higher degree program in occupational safety and health you may sit for the examination during your last semester.

Does the BCSP give credit for "Safety Certificate Programs"?

Candidates for the OHST or CLCS may also waive some of the experience requirement by completing a certificate program in safety and health recognized by BCSP. Certificate programs can be operated by either an academic institution or by a private or governmental organization. You would need to check with the BCSP to ensure the program you are in meets their requirements.

How long is the OHST or CLCS certification good for?

To retain your OHST/CLCS certification, you must:

  • Pay an annual renewal fee, and
  • Meet recertification requirements

How can I study for the OHST/CLCS Exam?

Many people start to study months or even years before they sit for the test. One way you can drastically reduce the amount of study time required is to take an exam preparation course. At this time there are 5 companies who offer exam preparation courses for the OHST or CLCS.

I took the course offered by Safety Links in Florida because of where I lived at the time. They, along with the other providers, are listed in the Review and Study Sources page of the BCSP's website.

Safety Links Inc. is the only exam preparation class in the state of Florida and the Southeast region of the USA. Not only can you get an Orlando trip but more importantly you can get the tools you need to pass the test.

Along with the other 9 or 10 people in my class I found the Safety Links course to be extremely helpful. The presentation, handouts, instructor and overall quality of the program were extremely good.

Here is their information:
Safety Links Inc.
4602 35th Street, Suite 400. Orlando, FL 32811
Toll Free 1-800-768-7036
For more info and to enroll for their open classes visit http://www.safetylinks.net/index.php/training/safety-management-courses/ohst-prep-course

Is the math hard?

Yes, math is hard. But what I found is that getting the answer right on the test is not. At the beginning of the class the instructor asked what people wanted to learn and aside from the engineer in the class all of us needed help with the math. Although we were not mathematicians at the end of the 3 days by any means we all 100% understood how to use and modify the formulas required for the test. I was very impressed!

The way we were able to do this is by learning how to use the Casio scientific calculator they provided in a way to get the answer without fully understanding the hard math that would be required otherwise.

Quite frankly, that is exactly what I needed. I didn't need a university algebra course I just needed to understand how to get the answers for the formulas that we are expected to know.

Is a prep-course required to take the OHST/ CLCS exam?goto top

Although I can honestly say that I would have never passed the test without taking the Safety Links OHST exam preparation course, it is possible to pass the test without taking a prep course.

Taking a prep course is a personal decision. However, my thought is that with time being my most limited assets I would rather spend 3 days taking a prep course then 8 months studying things that may not guarantee my success.

Of course taking an exam prep course does not guarantee that you will pass the examination either. You still have to be knowledgeable in safety hence the 5 year experience requirement.

The one thing you want to remember is that no safety exam preparation course is affiliated or otherwise endorsed by the BSCP. I guess that's what gives the OSHT or CLCS credential the respect it has.

What are some of the topics that should be covered in a preparation course?

You want to make sure that your prep course follows the OHST/ CLCS exam blue print.

Some topics the Safety Links course covered were: Introduction to BCSP, Background Math, Systems of measurement, Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry, Economic Calculations, Computers and Technology, Physical & Chemical Sciences, Industrial Hygiene, Noise, Environmental, Radiation, Fire Prevention, Ventilation, Ergonomics, Heat Stress, Product Safety, Risk Management and System Safety, Statistics & Probability, Electricity, Mechanics, DOT Hazardous Materials, Management theories, OSHA introduction, and Exam strategies.

What is the length of an OSHT/ CLCS exam preparation course?

I think that across the board most providers offer the OHST/CLCS Exam Preparation Course as a 3-day long workshop. Any less than that would be very hard to cover the material and provide enough time to practice the mathematics.

What is the cost to take an exam prep course?

The cost varies. On the low end is $500 and on the high end is $900.

The Safety Links course was only $500 and actually included a lot of stuff. In order to make the most out of the time they provided refreshments and daily lunch. We found ourselves doing a lot of discussion and practice examples during break time.

As I mentioned they also provide a great Casio scientific calculator for use on your test.

They also provide extensive learning materials including a 140 page spiral bound reference handout, and a test question book with around 1000 test questions.

It was a great value!

Who is the instructor for the Safety Links course?

Trevor Reschny is the instructor for the Safety Links course. I got this from the Safety Links website:

Trevor has been coaching firms to improve their safety performance since 1997. He has a MS in Occupational Health and Safety in addition to an MBA. Trevor is also a Certified Safety Professional (CSP), a Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP), A Certified Occupational Hearing Conservationist (COHC), and an OSHA outreach trainer.

One thing the bio did not mention is that Trevor is an amazing trainer who had us all engaged throughout the class. The 3 days went by extremely quick!

Other Resources:

Here is some other information that you may need to start your OHST/ CLCS process including the application form, experience form, and reference form:

Complete Handbook

Separate PDFs: