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Eastern Kentucky University’s occupational safety bachelor’s degree program has received a prestigious certification from the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP), the leading accrediting body in the U.S. for safety-related college programs and career professionals.

The BCSP recently named the program, which is part of EKU's College of Justice and Safety, a Graduate Safety Practitioner (GSP) Qualified Academic Program (QAP). EKU is one of only two universities in Kentucky to hold the QAP designation, the other being Murray State.

“Obtaining GSP QAP is a pretty intensive process. It is not easy to get,” said Dr. Troy Rawlins, the EKU professor who led the effort to apply for the designation. “Because we’ve achieved it, it lends a great deal of credibility to our program and puts us on the same playing field as larger institutions like Indiana University and Oklahoma State.”

EKU offers both on-campus and online bachelor’s degree programs in occupational safety. The QAP designation applies to both.

Graduating from a QAP offers students a leg up in their pursuit of being named as a Certified Safety Professional (CSP). With an exam pass rate of only 30 percent, the CSP is the gold standard credential for employees who work in safety roles — those who hold it are among the most sought after employees in their fields.

To obtain the CSP, applicants have to fulfill a variety of criteria besides the exam, such as working in a 50-percent safety role for four years and holding an additional credential, the Associate Safety Professional (ASP), for at least three years. Graduating from a QAP like EKU allows students to apply for the GSP certification for free, which replaces the ASP requirement, waiving the need to sit for the exam and pay recertification fees.

Additionally, graduates will have access to BCSP’s Career Center database to post resumes and find jobs, as well as the BCSP Mentor Program to assist in career development.

“We welcome Eastern Kentucky University’s exceptional safety program and those who graduate from it,” says the CEO of BCSP, Dr. Treasa Turnbeaugh. “Those who graduate from GSP Qualified Academic Programs have a strong foundation of knowledge that deserves recognition and BCSP looks forward to supporting them in the development of their careers.”