We recently participated in a webinar hosted by Laurel Elam, the Quality Assurance Manager at RESNET. During the presentation, Laurel shared details of RESNET’s achievements in 2016 and spoke to expected changes to the HERS Rater Training process in 2017/2018.
To learn more about RESNET or how to become a HERS Rater, visit our New to RESNET? Start Here section now.
Between building codes, rebate programs, and an overall focus on improving energy-related expenses in new home construction, the RESNET HERS program is becoming increasingly more popular. The team at RESNET has been working tirelessly to keep up with the demand and to service the professionals in its network.
Many of RESNET’s noted achievements in 2016 live at a high level – ie, adopting new technical standards, evaluating HERS score consistency, calibrating rating software, and expanding upon the existing Quality Assurance program.
The biggest takeaway(s) from the webinar are the expected changes to the HERS Rater Training process in 2017 and 2018.
HERS Rater Training is Now Required for Rater Candidates
Anyone interested in becoming a certified RESNET HERS Rater must:
- Complete HERS Rater training
- Pass the RESNET Core Exam
- Pass the RESNET Practical Simulation Exam
- Pass the RESNET Combustion Safety Simulation Exam
- Complete 5 home energy ratings
- Sign a contract with a RESNET Quality Assurance Provider
Prior to Feb. 16, 2017, candidates were given the option to challenge the certification exams listed above. In a wise move, RESNET has decided that candidates can no longer attempt the certification exams without first participating in HERS Rater training.
This is a smart decision because these exams are very technical, and it’s unlikely that a candidate would pass without formal guidance from a Certified Rater Instructor.
RESNET is doing its due diligence to encourage candidates to view RESNET HERS Rater Certification as a serious career transition or enhancement, not just something that can be achieved overnight by anyone. Reasonably, a candidate has better chances of passing if he/she takes the time to participate in training and learn the material the correct way. There’s no sense in being rushed and possibly risking this opportunity by trying to play fast and loose.
An Improved HERS Rater Exam is Coming
Taking into account that RESNET is growing and the home performance industry itself is maturing, it seems only natural that RESNET would update its certification exams to reflect newly adopted technical standards.
In its quest to maintain quality and consistency, RESNET has contracted with a psychometrician to review all RESNET test questions and references.
The new RESNET exams should be available later this year, possibly in the Fall.
The New Candidate Field Assessor Designation
We mentioned earlier that RESNET has been working to expand its Quality Assurance program. The new Candidate Field Assessor designation, scheduled to launch in January 2018, will fill a role in the Quality Assurance (QA) process. Although QA is generally considered a step after a candidate earns the HERS Rater Certification, this new position will impact how candidates get certified.
As it stands now, RESNET Accredited Rater Training Providers (like Everblue) are required to include two home energy ratings as part of their HERS Rater training course. Remember that HERS Rater candidates must achieve five home energy ratings in total. The remaining three ratings are to be supervised by the candidate’s QA Provider. Only after a candidate passes all exams and completes all ratings can he/she actually earn the HERS Rater Certification.
The two training ratings will eventually transition to the responsibility of the QA Provider, not the Training Provider. This doesn’t mean that HERS Rater Training companies can’t offer hands-on field training to candidates during a course, but those activities will soon be considered an optional component of the training course. That means that after someone completes a training course and passes their exams, their next step will be to sign on with a QA Provider and complete all five home energy ratings.
What is a Candidate Field Assessor?
The Candidate Field Assessor is a senior HERS Rater who will be responsible for overseeing a Rater candidate’s probationary ratings.
QA Providers will have Candidate Field Assessors on staff to oversee the Rater candidates. Think of it this way – QA Providers want their best Raters to train the newbies entering the industry.
Historically, this responsibility has been delegated to the Quality Assurance Designee (QAD), but QADs are busy, and the creation of the Candidate Field Assessor adds an extra level of quality assurance built into the certification process. All certified HERS Raters are required to submit their ratings to the QA Provider anyway, so adding this process to the certification requirements gives Rater candidates exposure to what will be expected of them going forward.
Another benefit to having Candidate Field Assessors is the geographic flexibility it provides QA Providers. Everblue, for example, has partnered with RATERusa in St. Louis, MO to offer QA services to Everblue’s RESNET students. Certified HERS Raters are required to work with their QA Provider on all home energy ratings, allowing 10% to be audited and 1% to be audited onsite. While the majority of this relationship can be handled online or by phone, there 1% audit must be handled in person. Instead of the St. Louis-based QAD at RATERusa traveling to Massachusetts to audit a Rater’s homes, RATERusa can hire a Candidate Field Assessor in MA so that travel expenses are minimal.
Stay tuned. More information about this change will likely be revealed closer to its expected launch in January 2018.
What’s great about RESNET is its attention to quality at every phase of every process. While it may seem overwhelming now to look at all the certification requirements, HERS Rater job titles and responsibilities, and quality assurance components, it all makes sense as you work your way through the ladder.
If you’d like to add home energy auditing to your career, get started now with RESNET HERS Rater training or call us at (800) 460-2575.