I am often asked about routes of conversion between the different chartered safety memberships worldwide. Health and safety recruiters are already well used to looking for professionals with safety affiliations as they recognize the chartered status as “a best in class” and realise that often they’ll get the highest professional standards from a chartered individual.
A number of organizations have now come to recognize these membership levels as basic job necessities and these requirements are becoming more visible on job descriptions and safety position postings online.
Many of the workforce working across numerous regions within the world have gone through the United Kingdom, American and Canadian accreditation requirements and terms such as chartered member of the Institute of Safety and Health (CMIOSH), Certified Safety Professional (CSP) or Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP) are steadily becoming more common in industry.
In many cases however, depending on the employers preference in leaning towards the British accreditations or those of the Americas, they often specify a certain type of association on job requirements and give preference to that. Unless Human resource departments clearly understand that many of these chartered associations are similar in status, although equally competent, a certain percentage of those safety advisory, specialist or manager applications are likely to be overlooked.
This is also a common case when many expatriate health and safety professionals return to their home countries or decide to immigrate elsewhere, knowing the prevalent chartered membership association is key in competing in the job market.
Thankfully, in an ever-expanding global market, it is relatively easy to convert between these associations once you have achieved a chartered status in any one. You will only need to know a few simple elements which I would cover in the below points.
1. Converting from CSP (USA) or CRSP (Canada) to CMIOSH (UK)
This process is generally straightforward, once a certification has been awarded for the CSP or the CRSP, the candidate can apply to join the Institute of Safety and Health (IOSH) as an affiliate member and would then undertake an open assessment.
The open assessment is now done online and normally takes place on the third Wednesday of every month. It consists of two parts, a 48 question multiple choice section as well as two scenario based questions.
The exam can be done over a two week period, however must be completed within 7 days from starting. Once the assessment is successfully completed and passed, the chartered status would be awarded.
2. Converting from CMIOSH (UK) or CSP (USA) to CRSP (Canada)
For becoming a Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP), applying through a reciprocal agreement application form, paying the fees, verifying CMIOSH or CSP credentials and successfully completing the examination are required.
The exam itself is multiple choice with up to 210 questions to be completed in a three and half hour period. Assessments can also be done online and can be completed within a one year period.
3. Converting from CMIOSH (UK) or CRSP (Canada) to CSP (USA)
Achieving a charted status with IOSH or completing your CRSP requirements will act as a prerequisite to undertake the CSP examination. Once successful, CSP certification will be awarded.
The examination is a five and half hour exam with all the assessments taken at certified assessment centers worldwide. More information on scheduling this exam and timings can be found here
It is important to point out that the examinations for all the above discussed accreditations, do not have particular study materials as they all rely on the applicants academic knowledge as well as health and safety experience to pass the examinations. The assessment for the CSP certification is probably the toughest out of the three and some preparation would be required even for the most seasoned safety professional.
Having said this however, one would have to become more familiar with some of the health and safety standards used in the various countries in order to successfully pass these assessments and all associations have recommended publications that will support the basic knowledge requirements needed to successfully navigate through the assessments.
To also understand the differences between the categories, it is important to point out that the CSP and CRSP are the top levels of safety certifications within those certification bodies, CMIOSH is not. A higher membership levels exists which is the Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Safety and Health (CFIOSH). This IOSH membership level requires an individual to be a chartered member for at least 5 years as well as provide evidence of health and safety initiatives beyond the day to day work responsibilities.
The International Institute of Risk and Safety Management (IIRSM) is another professional and internationally recognized membership body, which although takes consideration of evidence that was used to achieve membership of other bodies, does not have a direct reciprocal agreement with either. A fellow member of the institute (FIIRSM) is generally regarded as a (CMIOSH) equivalent, a specialist fellow (SFIIRSM) is similar to that of the chartered fellow of IOSH (CFIOSH).
Other recognized associations exist worldwide which may provide you with a better advantage depending on the region or industry you are working in. Generally, if you are in the health and safety profession, it is very much recommended that you have a membership of one of these institution as this can provide you with more career options as well as provide employers with better background information on their new potential hire.