Home Energy Professional Certifications Pilot Program

Prerequisite Criteria FAQs

Test Center FAQs

When will the HEP exams be available?

The exams are now available nationally. Click here to find a participating BPI Test Center.

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Do I need training to prepare for the exams?

Candidates for the four HEP certifications are required to demonstrate advanced competency through work experience prerequisites, so qualified candidates likely will have much of the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to challenge the exams. However, while BPI does not require training prior to attempting certification exams, our research shows that individuals completing training typically perform better on BPI exams.

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Where can I find training to prepare for the exams?

Please review any of the three online resources listed here to locate training that is right for you:

1. Training organizations that are accredited by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) as part of DOE’s weatherization training program offer training that is specifically mapped to these certifications’ Job Task Analyses (JTAs). Click here (scroll to bottom of the page) for a list of these organizations.

2. BPI maintains a database of training organizations that are affiliated with BPI Test Centers. Inquire with each organization to determine if they offer training to prepare for the HEP exams. Click here to locate a training organization near you.

3. The national network of Weatherization Training Centers may also offer training to prepare for the HEP exams. Click here to locate one near you.

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Where can I take the HEP exams?

Go to www.BPI.org/HEP and click on the ‘Find a participating BPI Test Center’ icon to locate a test center near you. BPI updates this list regularly.

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What makes the HEP certifications advanced?

The HEP certifications demonstrate advanced competency through work experience prerequisites as well as rigorous written and field exams administered by participating BPI Test Centers. Prerequisite requirements include documented, industry-specific work experience, education and training.

These certifications also meet the global benchmark for quality personnel certifications across all industries - the ISO 17024 standard, as accredited by ANSI.

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How was competency defined for these certifications?

Industry experts from across the nation, all selected for their expertise with multiple regional best practices, came together through a consensus process defined by ANSI to determine competency for these certifications. It is important to note that competency for these certifications represents best practices across all regions of the United States. It is possible that a candidate in a specific region who is not working in accordance with all best practices could not pass the examinations for these certifications.

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How are the HEP certifications related to DOE’s Standard Work Specifications?

The HEP certifications are part of a coordinated effort by DOE, which also developed Standard Work Specifications for home energy upgrades and accreditation of training programs. The work specifications define acceptable outcomes for weatherization and home energy upgrades and have been reviewed extensively by the industry. HEP certified workers are able to work up to the level of those Standard Work Specifications. DOE has adopted the Standard Work Specifications for weatherization assistance programs and their contractors. For more information, go to https://sws.nrel.gov

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Are the new certifications replacing any of BPI’s existing certifications?

The new certifications are not replacing BPI’s existing certifications. The new certifications are for experienced industry professionals. They are tailored to the specific job tasks of each role: Energy Auditor, Retrofit Installer Technician, Crew Leader, and Quality Control (QC) Inspector, and have significant work experience prerequisites attached to them. As experienced BPI certified professionals’ certifications come up for renewal (every three years), they may want to earn one of the new certifications that correspond to the role they are playing within their company. BPI’s existing certifications will remain important building blocks for gaining this experience and for ensuring technicians have the broad building science knowledge they need to build their careers.

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How is the Energy Auditor certification different from the Building Analyst certification?

The Energy Auditor (EA) certification is the next step in the career ladder from Building Analyst (BA). The BA certification verifies that the worker has a foundation in diagnostic and analytical building science needed for a variety of career paths in the home performance industry. The Energy Auditor certification is specifically tailored to the job task of energy auditing. The EA verifies the diagnostic/analytical skills needed to perform an energy audit, and then goes further. Among other things, it also verifies through prerequisites that the worker has software modeling skills, previous work history in doing energy audits, and can develop a scope of work to implement home performance measures in the home.

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If I earn the Energy Auditor (EA) certification, do I need to maintain my Building Analyst (BA) certification?

When an individual earns the EA they automatically become certified in the BA as well, receiving two certification documents from BPI. This means you are assured of having the necessary certifications to participate in area programs that currently require the BA and may in the future recognize the EA as well.

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What is the difference between BPI’s existing Residential Building Envelope Whole House Air Leakage Control Installer (RBE-WHALCI) certification and the new Retrofit Installer Technician certification?

The RBE-WHALCI is an entry level certification developed to evaluate a candidate’s fundamental level of skill in the installation of appropriate materials used to reduce air leakage in a typical home.

The new Retrofit Installer Technician certification is geared toward experienced technicians who have been in the field and can demonstrate a wider range of skills. This certification has a combination of prerequisites such as industry specific experience (e.g. previous installation of windows, heating systems, and air sealing and insulation measures), industry training and general building experience (e.g. framing, roofing, siding, etc) that potential candidates must meet before sitting for the exam.

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What is the value of the QC inspector certification?

The DOE Weatherization Assistance Program has communicated its intent to require that all work performed with program funds be inspected by a certified Quality Control Inspector beginning in Program Year 2015.

In the private marketplace, BPI sees two primary roles for the quality control inspector certification: the first is within contracting companies. Companies who have a certified QC inspector on staff to verify that the home performance job is completed according to BPI standards will be able to differentiate from their competition based on quality assurance. The second role is as a true third party QC inspector, performing quality control on behalf of a government or utility energy efficiency incentive program or financial lenders. Such programs require inspections to ensure work was done correctly and to reduce the program’s risk of liability.

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What is the value of the crew leader certification?

The Home Energy Professional crew leader certification is the first in this industry's history; currently there is no credential that verifies the knowledge skills and abilities of this key player. As the employee with the most customer interaction, the crew leader is the face of the contracting company; more than any other employee, he or she represents the company. The crew leader manages crew workers and the process of delivering quality work, and therefore needs to have more experience than his or her crew. Based on a Job Task Analysis developed by industry experts, the crew leader certification requires candidates to have industry specific experience, plus a combination of building science coursework and other industry certifications.

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What is the cost of the HEP exams?

BPI Test Centers set their own prices for exams. BPI’s list price for the HEP exams is $700 for field exams and $250 for written exams.

The fee test centers pay to BPI for exams will remain at current rates for all of BPI’s exams through December 31, 2013.

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Why does ISO 17024 accreditation matter?

An ISO 17024 accredited certification provides an important measure of quality assurance and protection to employers and consumers by providing a recognizable credential for judging competency of a worker.

ISO 17024 is the global benchmark for personnel certifications across all industries, designed to ensure that certifications are developed in a consistent, comparable and impartial manner. ANSI protocols for developing personnel certifications require industry experts from across the nation, all selected for their knowledge of multiple regional best practices, to come together through a consensus process defined by ANSI to determine competency.

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Are free exams available for WAP workers?

There are no free exams available at this time. DOE provided a subsidy during the pilot period only for Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) personnel and contractors to take these exams.

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Will DOE require WAP workers to hold the HEP certifications?

The DOE Weatherization Assistance Program has communicated its intent to require that all work performed with program funds be inspected by a certified Quality Control Inspector beginning in Program Year 2015.

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Prerequisite Criteria FAQs

How can certification candidates prove their training experience to meet prerequisite criteria?

BPI accepts a signed certificate or a signed letter from the training organization on company letterhead documenting the name of the class taken, when the person attended the class, and a brief summary of the class curriculum.

Proctors should see this FAQ for qualified work and training experience relevant to proctors.

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How can certification candidates prove their work experience to meet prerequisite criteria?

1. BPI accepts a signed certificate or a signed letter on company letterhead from current and/or past employers documenting work experience. For the applicant’s convenience, a standard template letter is included with all four certification applications. Simply print the template out on company letterhead, fill out the requested information and have it signed by a supervisor.

2. For individuals that are self employed, BPI accepts a letter containing:

  • An Employer Identification Number (EIN) or other documentation showing how long your company has been in business.
  • Number of jobs completed over the last year, including customer contact information and a brief description of each job, e.g. energy audit, air sealing, insulation. BPI will randomly contact customers to verify information given.
  • For those documenting energy audits completed, include documentation showing us PO of blower door and pictures of equipment, along with some completed examples of the reports issued to the customer for the energy audit.

Proctors should see this FAQ for qualified work and training experience relevant to proctors.

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What if I cannot find my high school diploma?

The Energy Auditor Certification requires a high school diploma to meet part of the prerequisites. If you no longer have possession of this document BPI accepts transcripts of coursework completed at 2 or 4-year college institutions or vocational schools as evidence of meeting the high school education requirement. See each certification’s Prerequisite Criteria document for more information on educational prerequisites.

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Where can I receive OSHA 30 training?

There are a few ways in which workers can find a 30-hour Construction training class:

OutreachTrainers.org is a free website that assists workers looking for 10-and 30-hour outreach training classes. OSHA encourages authorized outreach trainers to add their trainer profile and training schedules to the site. The site allows those seeking outreach training to search for trainers and schedules based on type of training and proximity.

Active Outreach Trainer Lists
Contact information on active outreach trainers is available to those looking to take outreach training classes. The lists are to be used to contact trainers about their outreach training plans. The lists are not provided for any other purpose. To obtain lists, contact a local Authorizing Training Organization. In many cases, the Authorizing Training Organization can only provide contact information on active trainers that have given them permission to share information with third parties. All dissemination information is subject to the privacy policies of these respective organizations.

You can also search your OSHA Consultation office for outreach training that they may have scheduled or take the training online.

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Test Center FAQs

What are the requirements for test centers to administer the HEP exams?

BPI Test Centers that have approved HEP written and field proctors on staff or contract can administer HEP exams providing the Energy Auditor and Quality Control Inspector minimum lab or home requirements are available, and Retrofit Installer Technician and Crew Leader prop submissions have been approved.

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What qualifications are necessary to proctor the HEP field exams?

All proctors must earn certification in the HEP credential they are proctoring for. Because the HEP certifications are new, proctors that administered HEP field exams during the pilot program and did not complete the certification process have six months to apply for and pass the written and field exams necessary to become certified in each HEP designation they are proctoring. Proctors that were approved to administer the HEP field exams during the pilot may continue to proctor exams for candidates during the six month period only. The six month period begins on October 14, 2013, the date the HEP certifications become available to the public. The 6 month period will end on April 14th, 2014.

Proctors that have not yet proctored HEP field exams must also attend a mandatory orientation webinar to determine approval for HEP field exams.

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Do proctors need to meet the same work experience prerequisites as other candidates in order to take the HEP exams?

Proctors must meet all prerequisite criteria for each designation they intend to proctor exams for. See Prerequisite Criteria FAQs on how to prove work and training experience.

BPI recognizes that in some cases trainers/proctors are not current practitioners in the field. Providing training and exam proctoring will count toward prerequisites if the content is varied and in combination with other activities. Trainers and proctors will need to show through documentation that the building science courses they provide (not OSHA or other non-building related courses) and the exam sessions they proctor show enough variability and include current technology as would be found by practitioners in the field.

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How long do the exams take to administer?

The official time frame for each exam is listed in the HEP Certification Scheme Handbooks located at www.bpi.org/HEP.

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What are the test site and prop requirements to administer the field exams?

Test Centers and/or proctors must provide photos or video of the system criteria or prop criteria outlined for each designation. Prop drawings and minimum system criteria are available to any BPI approved Test Center and proctor that would like to administer the field exams. Go to your test center or proctor portals at www.bpi.org to locate these materials. Please send any questions to testcenter@bpi.org. Labeled Retrofit Installer Technician and Crew Leader prop photos should be submitted to testcenter@bpi.org for review. BPI will either accept the photos or provide comments on revisions to the test center. Energy Auditor and QC Inspector home or lab photos with the location address should be submitted to testcenter@bpi.org to ensure that the minimum guidelines are met. If the photos show that the criteria has been met, a notice of approval and site approval ID number will be sent to the test center to be used on all testing forms.

Photos and video must be submitted to testcenter@bpi.org a minimum of two weeks in advance for review, comments and approval prior to administration of any HEP field exam. Online exams are administered by any BPI approved online proctor.

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