CSSO: Certified Safety and Security Officer

Community Transportation Association's Certified Safety and Security Officer program

What is this program?

A commitment to safety has long been a hallmark of community transportation programs. This commitment extends both to the riding public and to the women and men who work in the nation's community transportation systems. To demonstrate this commitment to safety, the Community Transportation Association of America has developed the Certified Safety and Security Officer program.

In this program, students will learn to:

  • Perform an assessment of existing operations
  • Identify system strengths
  • Identify areas for improvement, and
  • Develop safety, security and emergency preparedness programs.

The values of this program are reflected in its commitment to:

  • Providing non-judgmental, confidential feedback,
  • Giving positive reinforcement where appropriate, and
  • Being constructive, and not punitive, in nature.
  • The program is designed to help Officers build the transportation organization, enhance the professionalism of its internal team, safely serve its customers, fulfill its responsibilities in assisting in community emergency preparedness, identify internal safety and security strength and weaknesses, and reduce system exposure to liability.

How does it work?

To earn the CSSO certification, a candidate must complete the proscribed training program and pass a test demonstrating mastery of the knowledge. Once certified, a Safety and Security Officer will be able to lead their organization's safety and security program.

What is covered in the training?

The course starts with the basics of developing a safety culture in a transit organization. This culture is developed through the principles of what is called "Safety Management Systems (SMS)." SMS can be looked on as a businesslike approach to safety. It is a systematic, explicit and comprehensive process for managing safety risks. As with all management systems, a safety management system provides for goal setting, planning, and measuring performance. Once in place, a safety management system becomes part of the culture, the way people do their jobs.

The training then leads the student through the eight critical areas of transit safety:

  • Leadership and Administration
  • Transit Operations
  • Maintenance and Technology
  • Personnel Management
  • Training and Development
  • Safety Initiatives
  • Security Initiatives
  • Emergency Preparedness

Who are the Certified Safety and Security Officers (CSSO) and how are they qualified?

To become a CSSO, an individual must satisfy the following criteria:

  • The CSSO applicant must currently be employed in a position where he or she is responsible for ongoing work in at least six of the eight critical areas of the Certified Safety and Security Officer Program;
  • The CSSO applicant must have a certain amount of professional occupational experience;
  • The CSSO applicant must provide a letter of endorsement from a supervisor or where applicable a representative of the organization's governing body;
  • The CSSO applicant must satisfactorily complete CTAA's CSSO applicant training workshop and pass all portions of a Certified Safety and Security Officer qualifying examination

What is the cost of the training?

Closed Enrolment:

This training is usually offered through arrangements with a state Department of Transportation or State Transit Association. We refer these trainings as "closed enrollment" because the sponsoring organization usually restricts enrollment to grantees or members. These are the costs for an organization to offer the training:

  • All inclusive CTAA member rate of $7,000 for state, local and community transit organizations sponsoring this training workshop- this includes all travel and related expenses for the trainer and all workshop materials. It would be the host's responsibility to supply the classroom site and minimal audio/visual equipment.
  • Class size: limited to twenty persons

Open Enrolment:

  • From time to time we may also offer this training at regional venues around the country. These trainings would be open to anyone and payment would be on an individual basis. The cost for training in this situation is $500/person.


This class is also always offered at our annual CTAA EXPO.

For information on sponsoring a class or to find the next offering near you, email training@ctaa.org or visit our training calendar.

Get the CSSO Application Package


Len Cahill
Telephone: 202.415.9653
800.891.0590 x705
fax: 202.737.9197

Next Steps After Earning the CSSO:

Once an organization has a certified safety and security officer on staff, it will be eligible to participate in the CTAA Community Transportation Safety and Security Accreditation (CTSSA) Program. The CTSSA process reviews the safety program of an entire organization and, if successful, provides accreditation from the Community Transportation Association that the organization has met the proscribed standards of safety. The steps in the process are:

  • The CSSO completes a safety analysis of their organization.
  • A CTAA safety professional, reviews the analysis to determine if the organization is ready for an onsite review.
  • If ready, CTAA completes an in-person review of the organization to determine if all required standards have been met.
  • If the organization passes the review, it is granted the CTSSA accreditation.

Click here for more information on the CTSSA program.