In the summer and fall of 2023, the Board of Canadian Registered Safety Professionals (BCRSP) conducted a Perceived Value of Certification Survey among certificate holders and their employers. Both surveys were designed to help the BCRSP improve communication regarding the value of certification to certificate holders, employers, potential CRSPs and CRSTs and the public.
The overall response rate to both surveys exceeded expectations. The quality of this response and the overall sample size indicates that the results provide an accurate representation of the views of both certificate holders and their employers.
Certificate Holders' Perspectives
Likelihood of Recommending Certification and Benefits
An impressive 79% of certification holders are “extremely” or “very likely” to recommend obtaining CRSP or CRST certifications. We note a correlation between designation tenure and likelihood of recommending certification. For example, more recent designation holders are less likely to recommend (73% of those who have had the certification for less than two years vs. 86% of those with certification for 20+ years).
The primary benefit of a designation is professional recognition and credibility, referenced by one-half (49%) of all certificate holders. The second most frequently mentioned value of certification are the employment opportunities and career advancement benefits.
As well as measuring recommendation levels and benefits, an additional goal of this survey was to obtain data on attitudes towards certification. Certificate holders showed the strongest level of agreement with the following two statements:
- “Gives me a feeling of personal accomplishment, pride, and satisfaction.”
- “Demonstrates my commitment to my profession.”
Certificate holders were asked about the ways that employers recognized their designation. The highest reported recognition includes: acknowledgement within the organization (37%), increased opportunities to attend professional conferences (28%) and an increased salary (24%).
We note a clear correlation between employer recognition and likelihood of respondents recommending a CRSP or CRST designation. In other words, recognition of the certification amongst employers drives the likelihood of certificate holders recommending certification.
Likelihood of Recommending Certification
The survey of employers revealed a strong, positive stance towards the BCRSP certifications. Of significance, 90% are “extremely” or “very likely” to recommend earning a CRSP/CRST. This strong support signals a recognition of the importance of BCRSP certifications in upholding high standards of professional practice within the occupational health and safety (OHS) field.
Certification is a requirement or a preference for employment by 84% of the employers surveyed. Slightly more than half (51%) of employers indicate that maintaining certification amongst their employees is a requirement of employment.
The top four reasons that employers give for the importance of the CRSP/CRST certifications are that they:
- Are valuable to the occupational health and safety profession
- Have a code of ethics and professional conduct standard that benefits the profession
- Improve the reputation of safety professionals
- Show a commitment to professional growth and life-long learning
Recognition and Support
A little over half (54%) of employers provide acknowledgement within their organization of employees who obtain a BCRSP certification. Other leading methods of recognition include:
- Increased opportunities to attend professional conferences
- Mentoring opportunities
- Salary increase*
- Public acknowledgement of the designation
Employers are likely to offer financial support of designation holders. The three primary types of financial support include:
- Continuing education courses to support certification and continuous professional development requirements
- Annual renewal fee
- Paid time off to attend CE courses to support certification and continuous professional development requirements
*this is consistent with the results of the 2023 salary survey that highlights BCRSP certified professionals generally earn more when compared to Statistics Canada averages for the OHS profession.
Intersection of Attitudes: Certificate holders and Employers
There are many commonalities between the attitudes of those holding certification and their employers. Approximately one-half of each group would be “extremely likely” to recommend certification. In fact, we note that employers are somewhat more likely than certificate holders themselves to recommend earning a designation.
Within both groups we also note strong agreement on a number of attitudinal dimensions. Specifically, areas of commonality relate to:
- Adherence to a professional code of ethics
- Commitment to professional growth and life-long learning
- High levels of knowledge, skills and abilities.
The research is being utilized by the BCRSP Governing Board and the Communications Committee to identify outreach and marketing opportunities to further enhance awareness and recognition of BCRSP certifications. Thank you to all certificants and employers who participated in this important research.