What is the difference between the MSP and the CSP?

Category: NASPCB FAQ

The MSP and CSP certifications share a few similarities; both certifications:

  • Are accredited under the ISO/IEC Standard 17024:2012 General Requirements for Bodies Operating Certification of Persons, as administered in the U.S. by the ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB)
  • Have a thorough application process
  • Require previously-obtained qualified credentials
  • Have predetermined educational and experiential requirements
  • Consist of sit-down examinations proctored by a third-party
  • Require CEUs to maintain certification


The MSP separates itself from the CSP in the following ways:

  • Education: NASP recognizes that some workplace safety professionals may not have obtained the higher education or math and engineering skills required, or are in the process of doing so, which restricts them from earning certain credentials such as the CSP (or other well-known certifications.) Yet their years of experience, vast knowledge in the industry, and hands-on practical approach to workplace safety left a clear opportunity for NASP to develop the MSP to validate and acknowledge these individuals. Click here to see the MSP’s eligibility track to see if you qualify.
  • Body of Knowledge: While both exams cover similar bodies of knowledge, the MSP prides itself on being the practicing safety professional’s certification. What does this mean exactly? The MSP exam focuses on practical workplace safety knowledge that you, as a professional, use daily to keep your employees safe. The MSP exam focuses less on science, mathematics, and engineering and more on the laws and consensus standards that you, as a safety professional, work with every day. Click here to review the MSP examination blueprint.
  • Examination: The MSP is a 3-hour exam and consists of 150 questions. The CSP is a 5.5-hour exam and consists of 200 questions.
  • Cost:
    • The full cost, per certification cycle, for the CSP is $160 (application fee) + $350 (examination fee) + $900 ($180 annual renewal fee over five years) = $1,410.
    • The full cost, per certification cycle, for the MSP is $95 (application fee) + $650 (examination fee) + $350 (1-time recertification fee per cycle) = $1,095. Click here to see the full MSP fee structure.
  • CEUs and Recertification:

The CSP requires certificants to obtain 25 recertification points per 5-year period. These points can be earned through various avenues, the primary of which is obtaining CEUs*. With a 25 point recertification requirement, CSP certificants must accrue 250 contact hours (50 contact hours per year) throughout the certification cycle. The CSP requires a $180 annual renewal fee.

The MSP requires certificants to complete 4.8 CEUs* over a 3-year certification cycle (1.6 CEUs per year), which equals 48 hours of contact time (16 hours per year). The MSP requires a $350 renewal fee at the end of the 3-year cycle. To view the MSP recertification requirements, click here.

*Continuing Education Units (CEUs) One (1) CEU, which is the equivalent to ten (10) hours of instruction, equals one (1) recertification point.