As part of the Guidelines for Home Energy Professionals project, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) collaborated with trainers and technicians from across the home performance industry to develop high-quality, nationally recognized professional certifications. Learn more about the certification blueprint, how to get certified, and resources for training centers below.
The new certifications require experienced home energy professionals to demonstrate comprehensive knowledge, practical skills, and technical proficiency in the four most common job classifications in the DOE Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and home energy upgrade industry: energy auditor, retrofit installer technician, crew leader, and quality control inspector.
To establish the framework, or blueprint, for the four Home Energy Professional certifications, DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), brought together more than 40 industry-nominated volunteers to define the general requirements of each (e.g., prerequisites, exam structure, practical application, and re-certification requirements). Those requirements are based largely on:
- Standard work specifications (SWS) for single-family homes—Developed by NREL in collaboration with industry experts and subjected to extensive public/industry review, these specifications define the minimum acceptable outcomes for any weatherization or home performance task to be effective, durable, and safe.
- Job Task Analyses (JTAs) for single-family home energy upgrades—Developed by NREL and validated by more than 800 industry experts, JTAs define the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to be successful in each of the four primary energy upgrade job classifications. JTAs also serve as a foundation for accredited industry training programs.
The certification blueprints were produced in accordance with the ISO 17024 Standard for the quality and rigor of personnel certifications.
With ISO 17024-accredited certifications and training programs based on the SWS and JTAs, weatherization and home performance contractors will know the caliber of the people they are hiring, consumers will know that these workers have proven their ability to do quality work, and workers will have the professional status that comes with being nationally certified.
How to Get Certified
The Building Performance Institute (BPI) is the first third-party organization licensed to deliver the Home Energy Professional Certifications.
Because these certifications are for experienced professionals, candidates must meet prerequisite criteria to be eligible to take the exams. For detailed registration information, read BPI's Registration Instructions for the Home Energy Professional Certification Exams.
To apply to take the certification exams, visit the BPI website.
Revised Energy Auditor and Quality Control Inspector Certifications
Through industry best practices, the Energy Auditor (EA) and Quality Control Inspector (QCI) certifications have gone through an extensive revision process. It is recommended that certification schemes be updated every 5–7 years, and the current certifications schemes for these two professions were last developed/updated in 2011/12. Through reviewing the QCI and the EA Job Task Analyses (JTA) side by side, the certification scheme committee subject matter experts, assisted by professional psychometricians, determined that there was a great deal of overlap. It was jointly decided to retain EA as the main certification and reduce QCI to just those tasks and skills that were not already represented in the EA JTA. The result is that the EA remains a full-scope, ANSI-accredited certification and the QCI becomes a micro-credential.
The exams will be updated and improved as part of the overall update of the JTAs and certification scheme. Pilots of these updated exams will be available at participating Building Performance Institute (BPI) test centers throughout the country from August through the end of September 2018.
Subsidy for pilot exam takers: To encourage weatherization staff to take part in this critical part of the process, DOE will be offering to subsidize the exam fees of those currently employed by WAP by paying 100% of written exam fees for the first 100 test takers of each the EA and QCI written exams and paying 50% of the field exam fees for the first 100 people to take the EA pilot field test. Eligibility for the subsidies will be included in the application process. Continuing Education Units (CEU) cannot be applied for recertification during the pilot exam period.
Once enough qualified applicants have taken the pilot exams, there will be an “interim” period when only the 2011 EA and QCI exams are available. This interim period is used to analyze the results of the pilot exams to determine if they are adequately measuring competency. It is scheduled to take place from October 2018 to March 2019. It is during this period that pilot test takers will learn their results and successful candidates will be awarded the new credential(s). Those that fail the pilot exam can attempt the 2011 exams during the interim period.
As of March 2019, the updated EA and QCI exams and certifications schemes will be available, and the EA and QCI schemes and exams developed in 2011-2012 will be retired.
What this means for current QCIs: Most questions should be answered in the Frequently Asked Questions which is on the last page of the GHEP brochure located in the link below. Some key points for current QCIs:
- You will need to maintain your QCI certification to continue working as a final inspector or technical monitor in WAP
- Continue acquiring Continuing Education Units (CEUs) as available
- If your current certification is set to expire between now and February 2019, consider taking part in the pilot phase. BPI will extend current certification periods to allow participation in the pilot phase
- Review the EA prerequisites in the GHEP brochure located in the link below. If you do not already meet the prerequisites required for EA, work to attain those trainings or other skills needed
For more information, view the below resources:
Resources for Certifying Bodies
NREL licenses the Home Energy Professional Certification blueprints to ISO/IEC 17024:2012 accredited certifying bodies. To learn more about becoming licensed to deliver the Home Energy Professional Certifications, contact NREL.
Resources for Training Centers
For training centers interested in developing curricula that prepares students for the Home Energy Professional Certification exams, the Weatherization Assistance Program provides standardized curricula for each of the four job classifications listed below, plus other topics. Additionally, training centers will want to refer the Job Task Analyses (JTAs) for single-family home energy upgrades.
Retrofit Installer Technician
Quality Control Inspector
To access and learn more about standardized training curricula click here.