Is earning your Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST) certification on your list of goals for 2018? If it is, you’re in the right place to get a better idea of what the process entails. In this post I will outline the CHST exam process from applying to passing the exam. For those who have read my post on taking the Associate Safety Professional (ASP) exam this post will read similar to it.
Applying for the CHST Exam
The first step in the process is to apply to sit for the exam. To apply to sit for the exam BCSP charges $140.00. The eligibility requirements come straight from the BCSP CHST Guide and are as follows:
Academic Requirement: All individuals applying for the CHST must have a high school diploma or GED.
Experience Requirement: To qualify for the examination, CHST candidates must have three (3) years of experience with at least 35% of primary job duties involving safety, health and environmental
Applying for the CHST is a straight forward process. After you setup a profile on BCSP you can apply for whatever exam you choose to. For the CHST, BCSP asks for your high school graduation (or GED) information as well as your job experience. The application is setup much like an application for a job. They want to ensure you have at least three years of safety experience in the construction industry as well as a high school-level education.
You do not have to show proof of anything you provide on the application unless they choose to audit you. That being said, make sure you are being honest and can provide paperwork to back up what you are claiming on the application!
Getting Accepted to Sit for the Exam
When I applied for the ASP it took about two weeks to get an email back saying that I was eligible to sit for the exam. When I applied for the CHST it only took one or two business days to hear back that I was able to sit for the exam. I am not sure if the short wait time was because I already earned my ASP. Regardless, I would expect to wait around two weeks before hearing back from BCSP.
Scheduling Your CHST Exam
Once you are accepted to sit for the test you are able to purchase the exam on the BCSP website (which costs $300.00). Once you purchase the exam through BCSP you receive a code that will allow you to access testing times and dates at a Pearson Vue Testing Center. (Note: Your code will not be recognized by Pearson for a couple hours after purchase until Pearson receives the confirmation).
Using your code from BCSP, you will be able to view testing times and locations in your area. Pearson recommends you schedule your exam at least six weeks ahead of time to ensure that you get the time you want. Depending on your location, there may be openings in as little as two weeks.
I recommend scheduling the exam for a date you feel comfortable with and sticking to it. If you do have to cancel or change the date you can do so and not lose the exam cost as long as you provide 24 hours’ notice. If it is less than 24 hours or you do not show up you will have to repurchase the exam costing you another $300.00.
Studying for the CHST Exam
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How you choose to study will be up to you. I will outline what I did to prepare for the CHST exam here. Below are some survey results of other CHSTs to give additional ideas for study materials to use.
After passing the ASP two years ago, I chose to go about studying for the CHST a little differently. I only used two resources to study. My main resource was the SPAN Self Study Workbooks (cost $275 www.spansafetyworkshops.com) and I also used the CHST Exam Secrets Study Guide by Mometrix (cost $43.99 www.amazon.com).
I prefer to use notecards when I am studying for an exam. I used the SPAN workbooks to assess my knowledge and then made notecards with information that I needed to brush up on. The SPAN workbooks have hundreds and hundreds of questions as well as thorough explanations for each question. I would go through a section, grade myself, and then go back to the explanations of each question and complete as many notecards as needed.
Once I completed the first SPAN workbook I took some time to study the notecards prior to moving onto the next workbook which has multiple 100 question practice tests in it. I repeated the process with the second SPAN workbook and then read through the CHST Exam Secrets Study Guide to see if there was any information I was missing. After that I just continued to study my notecards and when needed, looked up additional information on OSHA’s website.
Other Study Materials Individuals Used
I also surveyed 10 other individuals who passed the CHST exam (more about the survey below) and one of the questions I asked was what study materials they used. Since there were only 10 respondents I will summarize what they reported:
- Two Respondents- SPAN Self Workbooks and CHST Exam Secrets Study Guide
- Two Respondents- SPAN Self Workbooks
- One Respondent- CHST Exam Secrets Study Guide
- One Respondent- SPAN Self Workbooks and SPAN Workshop
- One Respondent- SPAN Self Workbooks and Online Exams
- One Respondent- SPAN Self Study Software
- One Respondent- CHST Exam Secrets Study Guide, SPAN Self Workbooks, and a copy of OSHA 1926
- One Respondent- ASSE Exam Prep
Taking the CHST Exam
Like I said earlier- you need to go to a Pearson Vue testing center to take the exam. It is important to show up early to get signed in for the exam. When I went there were around 10 other people taking exams, however only one or two were taking the BCSP exams. The others were taking tests such as the GMAT.
Pearson takes the process very seriously. You have to lock up all of your belongings before going into the testing room, except for a calculator. There are approved models listed on the BCSP CHST Full Guide. I like and used the Texas Instruments TI-30X IIS calculator. If you prefer, you can bring two calculators with you. They provide you with a dry erase board and marker to do math or whatever else on.
The actual exam is on the computer and has a four hour time limit. There are 200 multiple choice questions (A through D) on the exam. You are able to “flag” questions and go back to any question at any point in time. Take advantage of the flag feature and jot notes down of what questions were what numbers so if an answer hits you later in the exam you can efficiently go back to it without wasting much time.
After you click “Submit Test” you do not get your results (at least at my testing center). You have to walk out of the testing center and they print out the results and place them face down on a desk. For me, it was a 30 foot walk to my printed results, but it honestly felt like 300 feet. I turned the paper over and I saw RESULT: PASS at the top of the page.
What’s on the CHST Exam
I am not going to go into specifics about what is on the CHST. When you apply for the test BCSP actually requires you to agree to not disclose specifics of what is on the exam. With that being said there is plenty of resources, including BCSP’s guide for the CHST, that break down what is on the test. Everything I have provided in this post is information that is easily accessed through BCSP, SPAN, Pearson, etc. I am only outlining the process so others feel more comfortable beginning the testing process. I am not divulging the actual questions and answers on the exam.
A Survey of Other CHSTs About Their Testing Experience
Since everyone is different when it comes to test taking I wanted to get feedback via a survey of other individuals who passed the CHST. There was no rhyme or reason of how I chose individuals to survey. I simply searched “CHST” on LinkedIn and messaged anyone who I was connected to who passed the exam.
I initially reached out to over 25 individuals and only 10 individuals got back with me and completed the survey. The survey consisted of five questions, but I threw one of them out due to it not adding any value. I was left with four basic questions to get a different perspective on the CHST testing process. The four questions are as follows:
- How many years of construction experience did you have before taking the CHST exam?
- Approximately how many hours did you dedicate to studying for the CHST exam?
- What was your primary source of study material? *There is no graph made for this question below, I already provided the responses above in the section about studying for the exam.
- Did you pass the CHST Exam on the first try?
The Results of the Survey
Do not put off beginning the process of earning the Construction Health and Safety Technician certification if you are ready to take it. The process of studying for the certification allows you to review a wide variety of rules, regulations, and best practices that you may not be exposed to during your normal scope of work. Certifications also allow you to be considered for higher positions, higher pay, as well as new opportunities. Start 2018 off strong by achieving your CHST or another desirable certification.
Feel free to reach out to me with any other questions.