ASIS PSP To Do Or Not To Do?

Having a good background in IT and information security I am currently interested in physical security to complete security consultant career. This the main reason joining IPVM and learning to get deep knowledge on cameras and access control. While googling I have discovered ASIS few years ago and now I have to make a decision like "to do or not to do". I've read through other discussions here touching ASIS but still have some questions:

If IPVM is a technology deep dive, then ASIS PSP is what?

Is it worth to spend money and time to achieve PSP inside and outside of US? Does this certificate has a real value? Will be grateful for replies.

I took a prep class for it but never bothered to obtain the certification. The prep class and, especially, the suggested readings were very interesting and I gained a greater understanding of security in general. However, what I did not gain was any additional surveillance technology or surveillance application knowledge. The materials used for the CCTV portion of the prep class and test is severely outdated, and the access control materials are moderately outdated.

If I had to choose between two candidates for a job, the fact that one had a PSP and the other did not would not sway me.

Honestly, you would do your career more good by buying the reference materials and reading them on your own, and skipping the certification. Or you could buy a study guide, which is a compressed version of the reference material- this is the one I recommend (there are cheaper ones out there, but they're pretty much all worthless). Learning this stuff helps put things into perspective. A big problem in this industry is that too many people miss the forest for the trees, too focused on this technology or that and forgetting the purpose of surveillance or access control, which is security.

If IPVM is a technology deep dive, then the PSP is like the shallow end of the kiddie pool.

I had a PSP and let it lapse. Studying for it was interesting, because I learned about some things I never thought about before, having come from the video/access side, like fencing and barriers and CPTED, and how these things fit in a security plan. That's worthwhile knowledge to have. The video, access, and intrusion information is out of date. If you follow IPVM, you're already more knowledgeable than what's provided in the reference material I had.

If you deal with a lot of ASIS-centric people (CPPs, other PSPs, security managers) they may respect the credential. No one else knows what it is. It's most likely not worth it overall.


Thanks for asking. I used to be a PSP, Ethan as well.

Reasons to get a PSP:

  • You are a security manager who has to build, maintain, upgrade end to end physical systems (fences, barriers, blast mitigation, etc.)
  • You are a consultant who designs end to end physical as well as electronic security systems).
  • You want to do business or get hired by ASIS members

Reasons to not get a PSP:

  • You are an integrator or manufacturer but your customers are not active ASIS members.
  • You are an integrator or manufacturer but do not have the hundreds of hours to read through things that are mostly not relevant to want you.

Ari makes a good point about the prep class. Warning on the reference materials. It would take an unrealistic amount of hours to read through it all. This is an issue when taking the exam. It's just not clear what really is on the test, as they reference so wide a set of material. I passed on the first try but I suspect it's because I am good at taking tests than that I had read all the material.

Also, lastly, if you really care about impressing the ASIS crowd, get a CPP. It carries way more weight to them.

Thanks for reply. So as far as I understand ASIS PSP or even CPP is not as welcomed throughout the globe like, let's say, CISSP in information security or CISM in security management. Am I right?

Is there any physical security certification which is globally accepted? I have not found one... May be I am a bad googler ))

Is there any physical security certification which is globally accepted?

Sadly, no.

"So as far as I understand ASIS PSP or even CPP is not as welcomed throughout the globe like..."

The American Society of Industrial Security (i.e., ASIS) is most strong in the US. Listen, if it's not strong in your country, there's probably not a reason to get their certifications.

I think that the PSP or CPP credentials are useful to obtain if you want to be considered a security generalist rather than just a security/surveillance system technician or engineer. Studying for these tests gives you a broad perspective of security measures rather than just security technology.

Most job descriptions for security consultants or in-house security managers usually include a requirement to have either a PSP or CPP. Some jobs at security manufacturers also require a PSP or CPP. I believe that Assa Abloy was one of the first companies to require that all of their hardware application specialists have a PSP.

I personally poo-pooed the CPP credential for many years, and said that when my clients started asking for a CPP, I would get one. Sure enough, about ten years ago, I started seeing more and more client RFPs that specifically asked for the CPP credential. I studied for and passed the test on my first try, but it was honestly a little more challenging than I expected. After going through the process, I had a little more respect for the credential.

To be sure, the technology sections of both the PSP and CPP tests are hopelessly outdated, and the credentials are far from perfect, but until something better comes along, they are the most widely accepted certifications in the security industry, at least here in the US.