FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Applicant Qualifications

  1. Applicants may qualify to sit for the exam by documenting any combination of relevant experience and college education to equal eight (8) years. The Board does require applicants to document at least three (3) years of relevant experience. Each 30 semester hours of college credit earned can be substituted for one year of experience for a maximum of three years.

  2. Applicants may qualify by documenting the award of a Baccalaureate or Graduate degree in a safety or related discipline. Applicants must document at least two (2) years of relevant experience.

  3. Applicants may qualify for the 'associate level' by documenting at least four (4) years of relevant experience and education combined. The Board requires associate level applicants to document at least one year of experience unless they have a Baccalaureate or Graduate degree in a safety or related discipline. Associate level members may upgrade to the professional level when meeting published requirements. Associate level members are not required to re-take the examination to upgrade. Those desiring to upgrade must send written request to the Board and pay the current upgrade fee.

Relevant Experience Defined

Applicants may document 'relevant experience' by working in any of the following functions, areas, or job positions: healthcare safety, environment of care coordination, patient safety, occupational health, fire or life safety, emergency management, security, facility management, plant operations, facility engineering, environmental services, risk management, continuous improvement, hazardous materials management, hazard control management, public safety, nursing services, support services, insurance loss control, worker's compensation management, governmental compliance, and healthcare consulting. Others areas may be approved by contacting the Board.

 

Documenting Education and Training

Official college transcripts are not required to verify degrees or credits earned unless specifically requested by the Board. However, all college credits must be from 'regionally' accredited institutions or the credits must be approved by the Board. Applicants desiring to use college credits as a substitute for experience should provide some type of precise summary of hours earned. Unofficial transcripts, grade reports, or spread sheets may be used to document hours earned or completed. Candidates may provide a list of other professional non-credit education and training accomplishments. Ensure the list of non-credit courses correctly describes the training topic and exact number of contact hours. Do not submit any copies of attendance or training certificates with the application unless requested by the Board. The applicant's signature on the application from gives the Board the right to validate and/or verify all information submitted.

 

Waiver of Eligibility

The Board may grant a waiver qualifying requirements on a case-by-case basis. Such waiver decisions are based on the merits of each request. All waivers must be requested in writing and signed by the applicant. Applicants must contact the Board before submitting any waiver request.

 

Application and Exam Fees

Fees can be paid using VISA, Master Card, or American Express cards at the Board's on-line secure payment page here. Credit card payments can also be made via fax, phone, or by including credit card information when mailing an application. Candidates can send a check or money order payable to: BCHCM, P.O. Box 515, Helena, Alabama 35080. Do not send cash! The Board can provide an invoice when an applicant provides an organizational Purchase Order Number. Some training groups have been authorized to accept Board fees during their registration process. If you have a question about fees, contact the Board promptly. The Application Fee is not refundable and the Exam Fee cannot be refunded if a candidate sits for the exam or if an exam has sent by the Board to an authorized proctor for administration.

 

Application/Exam Fee Schedule

Non Refundable Application Fee:

$130.00

Examination Fee:

$200.00

International Application Fee

$150.00

International Examination Fee: 

$200.00

TesTrac

$100.00

Re-examination Fee

$200.00


 

Completing and Submitting Applications

All requested information must be entered on the form or the application will be rejected. Applicants must provide the Board with two (2) Reference Evaluation Forms, completed by persons aware of their qualification for certification. Signing the Board Application attests that the candidate agrees to adhere to the Board's Ethical Code of Conduct. Applications and Reference Evaluations can be electronically submitted on-line from the Board web site. These electronic formats can also be printed and completed manually. Mail manually completed Applications to our mailing address: BCHCM, P.O. Box 515, Helena, AL, 35080. For U.S. Applicants only,  Our location address is 173 Tucker Road, Suite 202, Helena, AL 35080. Faxed applications will not be accepted unless pre-approved by the Board. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that their completed application has been submitted to the Board prior to sitting for the examination. Under special circumstances, exceptions can be made by contacting the Executive Director. Applicants can scan manually prepared applications and email them to the Board.  It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all documents are submitted prior to sitting for the examination. Applicants registering late for an exam may be granted an exception by contacting the Executive Director.

 

Exam Preparation

Candidates must assess their readiness to take the exam. Candidates can voluntarily register for a self study programs, study on their own, take exam with no preparation, or attend a prep/exam session. The Board does not require any formal preparation of any kind to qualify for the exam. Completing a self-study or attending an exam prep session does not guarantee a passing exam score. There are some independent training groups that do conduct prep and exam sessions at various locations. The Board does not officially endorse any of these programs and receives no revenue from these sessions. However, the Board does use 'authorized proctors' to administer examinations. Since 1997, the recommended study reference for the CHSP Exam has been the textbook: Healthcare Hazard Control and Safety Management. The Board also offers a self study program which focuses on core concepts and principles. Contact Board for information about the available study references.

Using the Credential Designation

All credentials issued in a calendar year expire at the end of that year regardless of the date issued. A candidate passing the exam in January or December will both have December 31 as their expiration date. The Board renews all credentials on a calendar year basis. Candidates passing the exam can expect to receive a certificate and wallet card in about 30 days. Candidates passing an exam can use the appropriate credential designation (CHSP, CHEP, etc.) on letterheads, business cards, and forms of address. Certification is for individuals only and may not be used to imply that an organization is certified. The certification process is not designed to determine who is qualified or who shall engage in any professional activity. Examination results determine a candidate's competency when measured against a predetermined level of knowledge.

 

Annual Maintenance Fees (Renewal)

Certified members must renew their credential on an annual basis by paying an Annual Maintenance Fee. IBFCSM operates as a not-for-profit organization with all operating revenue coming solely from our fees. Each credential holder will receive his or her Annual Invoice in October or early November. The Maintenance Fee is for the following Calendar Year. Maintenance fees must be received at the Board by December 31 or be considered late. Credential holders renewing after December 31 will be assessed a late fee for each credential held. Failure to submit the Annual Maintenance Fee and any late fees by January 31 will result in a Temporary Suspension of the credential. Failure to submit the Annual Maintenance Fees within a 3-year period will result in Revocation of the Credential.

 

Re-certification

The Board requires at least 10 hours of continuing education annually or 50 hours for each five year period to meet re-certification requirements. All continuing education must relate to areas covered in the most current exam outline. The Board sends each credential holder a reminder of their pending re-certification date. Each credential holder must execute a Re-certification Summary Report and ($85.00) fee to validate their continuing education for the period. The Board conducts 'random audits' of Summary Reports to maintain the integrity of the re-certification process. All Certifications have a 5-year re-certification period starting from the year they were obtained.

 

Certificate Programs versus Professional Certifications

The primary purpose of a certification program is to assess knowledge, skills, and competencies of all candidates. The assessments conducted by a certification program are independent of any class, session, self study course, or other education/training program. Certification programs determine the competency of a candidate to serve in a professional role. Certificate programs provide instruction, education, or training to help participants acquire a specific knowledge or skills. A certificate program is normally a one-time event that leads to a certificate that documents the completion or accomplishment. However, professional certifications are ongoing processes. Certified professionals must document continuing education or retake the examination to maintain their credential. Some certificate programs award designations to those earning the certificate. The practice of awarding designations for completion of a certificate program is now prohibited by ANSI Standard on Assessment-Based Certificate Programs.

 

Exam Scheduling

All candidates desiring to sit for any examination must submit an Application to the Board and must have paid or made arrangements to pay the Application $130.00 /Exam Fee $200.00 (Total $330.00) before scheduling an examination. If there are any problems concerning your application the Board will contact you directly prior to testing. Candidates attending a "Certification Review Session" conducted by independent trainers should have the opportunity to take the examinations at the conclusion of each session. Candidates can also sit for paper and pencil administered examinations by making arrangements with a local college testing center, library, or military education office. Those desiring to take a paper and pencil examination locally must complete the Proctor Form on the Board web site and submit at least 14 days prior to the desired examination date. 

* For those who would like to take the on-line exam at home or work, TesTrac testing is available, please visit here for more info: https://reg.testrac.com/ibfcsm

 

There is an additional testing fee of $100 for on-line exams paid to the testing company directly in addition to all application / exam fees paid to IBFCSM. 

 

Candidate Misconduct

Engaging in misconduct during the examination may result in dismissal from the session. Exam scores will not be reported and fees will not be refunded. Candidates must not use or display electronic communications equipment such as pagers, cellular phones, or PDAs. Talking with other examination candidates is prohibited. All examination questions are the copyrighted property of the Board. It is forbidden under federal copyright law to copy, reproduce, record, distribute or display these examination questions by any means, in whole or in part. Doing so may subject the candidate to severe civil and criminal penalties. The exam proctor will monitor candidates for the following: (1) providing or receiving help during the session, (2) leaving the testing center during the exam administration, (3) attempting to record exam questions or create notes, and (5) being observed with personal belongings, notes, books, or other aids.

 

Disciplinary Policy

The Board will take action against applicants, candidates, or certified individuals for failure to meet or maintain Board requirements including adhering to our Professional Code of Conduct. Certification is a voluntary process and the actual monitoring/evaluating of job performance is beyond the scope of this Board. Application for candidacy may be refused, designated candidates may be barred from exam sessions, and certified individuals may have their credential revoked for any of following reasons: (1) attesting to false information on application or re-certification documents, (2) giving/receiving information to or from another candidate during the examination, (3) removing or attempting to remove examination materials or information from the testing site, (4) having unauthorized possession and/or distributing of any official testing or examination materials, (5) failing to maintain certification or re-certification standards, (6) failing to pay annual maintenance or re-certification fees, and (7) using the credential designation when not maintaining Board currency or re-certification standards.

 

Pass/Fail Score Determination

The Board does not release or discuss individual questions with candidates following an examination. The methodology used to set the minimum passing score is the Angoff or 'juried' method. Subject matter experts evaluate each exam question to determine how many correct answers are necessary to demonstrate the knowledge or competency. Passing scores depend on the knowledge of each candidate and not on the performance of other candidates. Passing scores may vary slightly for each form or version of the examination. To ensure fairness to all candidates, a process of statistical equating is used.

 

Verification of Certification Status

Information on the current certification status of an individual will be provided to the public upon request. Employers who request verification of status must provide the individual's name and certification number to assure correct identification in the database. The Board posts a list of certified individuals on its web site.

 

Candidates Failing the Exam

Candidates not passing may apply to sit for a re-examination. Candidates may take the exam one time per 90-day period. There is no limitation on the number of times a candidate may take the examination. Repeat candidates must submit the full examination fee. Names of candidates who do not pass the examination are confidential and are never revealed under any circumstances, except by legal compulsory process. There is no appeal process to challenge examination questions, answers, or a failing score. Actions by the Board, affecting eligibility of a candidate to take an examination, may be appealed. Appeals may be considered for alleged inappropriate examination administration procedures or for environmental testing conditions severe enough to cause a major disruption of the testing process. All appeals must be submitted in writing to the Board's Executive Director. (Re-examination Fee $200.00)

 

Special Examination Accommodations

Candidates with a disability covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) must complete a formal request for special testing accommodations. The information provided and any documentation regarding a disability and the need for exam accommodations will be treated with strict confidentiality.