Safety, health and environmental professionals with Certified Safety Professional (CSP) certifications earn approximately $30,000 a year more than those without one, according to a salary survey conducted by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) and the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE).

The two organizations jointly queried nearly 10,000 safety professionals in the U.S. and Canada about salaries, benefits and credentials.

The median base salary for full-time professionals was $97,000, with 22 percent of respondents earning $125,000 or more. Those with at least one corresponding certification (ASP, CDGP, CET, CHMM, CHMP, CHST, CIH, CSP, OHST, SMS, STSC, STS) typically earned $20,000 more per year than those with none. As noted above, the CSP designation added $30,000.

“The value of safety, health and environmental certifications continues to grow, with many laws and standards specifically citing them,” said BCSP CEO Treasa M. Turnbeaugh, Ph.D., MBA, CSP, ASP, CET, CAE, IOM. “Many companies include certifications in their job requirements, and contracts for safety services also call for them. Earning certifications that support your specialty and heighten your expertise is the smart thing to do.”

Most common certifications

Three in four professionals had at least one of eight BCSP certifications, most commonly a CSP (46 percent). No less than 86 percent of respondents had at least one certification from any credentialing organization, and 26 percent had multiple certifications.

The survey showed that formal education also correlates positively with salary levels as those with a doctoral degree typically earned $16,000 more annually than those with a bachelor’s degree, and $20,000 more than those with an associate degree.

Examining a typical workday revealed that the most time is spent on safety functions (26 percent) and safety management (15 percent). Traveling for their job consumes about one day per week. These safety professionals primarily work in company offices (58 percent) versus in the field (30 percent) or at a home office (12 percent).

How did safety pros become safety pros?

The average respondent was 47 years old and has worked as a safety, health and environmental professional for 16 years. When asked how they first entered their practice, the largest proportion of professionals indicated it was by obtaining a degree in the field (31 percent). Almost half of the respondents (47 percent) directly supervise other staff, with each boss overseeing 21 people on average.

The survey identified the various departments where the safety function resides, led by operations/production (24 percent) and followed by risk management (17 percent) and human resources/administration (12 percent). About half of the respondents were employed at privately owned organizations while one-third worked at publicly traded companies and 13 percent held government positions.

The survey was designed by BCSP and Minnesota-based Readex Research, a nationally recognized independent research company.