NABCEP Certification

NABCEP Exam Schedule, Prerequisites & Application Process

The NABCEP Certification Exam process explained.

NABCEP Exam Schedule, Prerequisites & Application Process

Professionals who are looking to earn a solar certification will likely pursue a designation from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). Up until 2018, there was a NABCEP exam schedule wherein the NABCEP Board Certification exams were only offered twice per year – once in the Fall and once in the Spring.

Since 2018, the NABCEP Certification Exams have been offered on a continuous, rolling basis.

That said, there is still a NABCEP exam schedule, of sorts.

Instead of having deadlines organized by date, the new “schedule” is more about meeting specific milestones.

  1. Satisfy education/training requirements (this is where Everblue’s solar training courses come in).
  2. Satisfy work experience requirements.
  3. Upon meeting the eligibility requirements, you will submit an application (which includes paying a fee).
  4. Once your application gets approved, you must then pay for their NABCEP exam.
  5. Finally, you will receive instructions from NABCEP about how to schedule your NABCEP exam with Scantron.

How long does this process take?

Education/Training Requirements

It depends on which certification you are aiming for.

The first-tier credential, called NABCEP PV Associate, is technically not a “certification.” Those who pass this exam instead earn a “certificate of knowledge.”

What’s the difference, you ask?

Put simply, you can qualify for the NABCEP PV Associate credential EITHER through an education/training prerequisite OR work experience prerequisites.

As you read above, the advanced NABCEP certifications require BOTH education/training AND proof of work experience. NABCEP recommends an approved training program of approximately 40 hours OR at least 6 months of documented work experience in a solar PV career.

In summary, it’s possible to earn the NABCEP PV Associate credential faster than you can earn the advanced certifications, especially if you qualify through the education pathway. Let us help, with our 40-hour NABCEP PV Associate training program.

For the advanced NABCEP certifications, the time to prepare for the exam will vary depending on your education and work experience. There’s not a one-size-fits-all answer other than the minimum stated education/training hours listed in the NABCEP Certification Handbook.

For example, the NABCEP PV Installation Professional exam requires a minimum of 68 hours of education/training. We offer exactly that in our IREC-accredited NABCEP PV Installation Professional training program.

Depending on your work/life balance and how much time you want to spend studying each day, it could take you 3-8 weeks to prepare. Everybody is different.

Work Experience Requirements

We touched on the work experience pathway for NABCEP PV Associate above.

Just like the different education needs for the advanced certifications, NABCEP lists different work experience requirements for the advanced certifications in its certification handbook.

Depending on where you are in your solar career, you may be new to researching NABCEP Certification but already have the work experience under your belt. Or you might be new to solar, new to NABCEP, and still have to get the work experience. So, as you can imagine, the time leading up to your NABCEP exam schedule could be 3-8 weeks (just to meet the education requirement) or several months longer (to meet the education and work experience requirements).

NABCEP Application Process

NABCEP staff will typically be able to review your application within 5-10 business days, although it may take up to 30 days. Once their review is done, they will send you an email.

Once you open an application, it will remain active for 2 years. After that time, it will expire.

Paying for & Continuing with the NABCEP Exam Schedule

The fastest and easiest way to pay for your exam is through NABCEP’s application portal online.

After you’ve paid your exam fee, you’ll receive an email from NABCEP’s testing partner, Scantron, that includes the instructions and information you will need to schedule your NABCEP exam.

When all is said and done, remember that the NABCEP exam schedule is largely based on your own timetable of meeting the prerequisites and completing all the necessary steps. You are not held to a specific date/time of your exam until you actually schedule your exam appointment.

There are options for you to be proctored in person at a physical Scantron testing center or remotely through Live Online Proctoring. So with these two options in tow, you can take your NABCEP exam whenever it’s convenient for you!

To get started with solar training, give us a call at (800) 460-2575. To learn more about NABCEP Certification, please visit NABCEP’s website.

Learn more about Everblue's NABCEP PV Associate Training

About Lesley Baulding

Lesley has been passionately advocating for and working with green building and renewable energy since 2009. She has experience with LEED certification, home energy auditing, blower door testing, solar energy, and more. She holds many certifications, including LEED Green Associate and NABCEP Certification. Her work has won numerous awards over the past decade.