In July 2015, NABCEP announced that it would be changing the name of its Entry Level Program to “NABCEP Associate Program.” Over the following year, very few details about the rebranding came out, so some wondered if the name change would, in fact, occur.
One year after the first announcement, NABCEP sent a reminder to all of its training providers about the pending changes to the Entry Level Program and identified July 22nd as a possible launch date. Today’s email from NABCEP now shows that the launch has been pushed back to August 15th, so as to not interfere with the processing of the August 5th Professional Certification Exam Application Deadline.
If NABCEP is a new acronym for you and you’d like to start a career in solar energy, visit our Introduction to Solar series.
What is NABCEP?
NABCEP, or the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, is the leading organization for solar certification. When solar installers and technicians pursue certification, they work toward an esteemed credential from NABCEP.
What is the NABCEP Entry Level Program?
The first step for candidates interested in solar photovoltaics (PV) is the NABCEP PV Entry Level program, which demonstrates one’s basic knowledge of solar panel design and installation.
This program requires that a candidate complete coursework that covers the NABCEP Entry Level Learning Objectives with a Registered Exam Provider like Everblue. After then completing a Candidate Eligibility Form, an individual will sit for the NABCEP Entry Level Exam. Upon passing this exam, an individual will receive a certificate of knowledge that can be used as a foot in the door to solar PV jobs and a qualifier for advanced NABCEP Certification exams, such as the NABCEP PV Installation Professional or NABCEP PV Technical Sales exams.
How is NABCEP Associate Different from the NABCEP Entry Level Program?
The NABCEP Associate exam is still an entry level examination that confirms a basic knowledge of the subject tested. The NABCEP Entry Level Learning Objectives will not be changing at this time, except for the rebranding in name.
The main reason why NABCEP is rebranding the Entry Level Program is to better recognize the achievement of those who have passed the exam. This name change should help employers identify those who have demonstrated a basic knowledge of fundamental principles and concepts in the application, design, installation, and operation of solar photovoltaic systems.
“NABCEP’s Associate Program will provide those achieving the credential a respected mark of distinction signifying their knowledge of the technology and commitment to safety and quality standards,” said Don Warfield, NABCEP Chair. “As demand for a skilled, clean energy workforce continues to grow, NABCEP Associate credentials will assure employers, consumers, and other stakeholders that these individuals have attained a threshold of knowledge enabling them to perform basic services.”
To follow through on its goal of recognizing these qualified individuals, NABCEP will:
- Allow an experience-based eligibility pathway for the exam
- Provide a logo and wordmark for credential holders to use
- Maintain an online directory where employers can verify a candidate’s credentials
Programmatically, the biggest change with the launching of the NABCEP Associate Program is that maintaining the NABCEP Associate credential will require recertification every three years from the original exam date. NABCEP Associates will need to document at least 12 hours of continuing education every three years to maintain the credential.
Becoming a NABCEP Associate
To qualify for the NABCEP Associate exam, a candidate must (a) complete coursework that is aligned with the NABCEP Learning Objectives from a Registered Exam Provider or (b) demonstrate at least six months of work experience in the solar PV, solar heating, or small wind industries.
Candidates who fail an exam will be able to schedule and pay for a re-test. Candidates will be allowed up to four attempts per year to pass.
Individuals who previously passed the NABCEP Entry Level Exam will be able to obtain the new designation through a simple registration process.
According to NABCEP’s most recent announcement, the NABCEP Associate Program rebranding will go into effect on or around August 15, 2016. It’ll no doubt take some time for both NABCEP and Everblue to update all language to reflect these changes (and for word to get out that the rebranding has occurred), but we plan to keep in stride with NABCEP.
For any questions about this rebranding or Everblue’s PV101 Solar Associate training program, please call us at (800) 460-2575.
“As NABCEP continues its mission to offer quality credentialing programs for the renewable energy industry, we are pleased to announce the NABCEP Associate Program for those starting their careers in this rapidly growing industry,” said Richard Lawrence, Executive Director “A workforce trained to NABCEP’s competency-based, industry-verified standards enhances consumer confidence, improves quality, and expands the use of clean, renewable power.”