Our sustainability training courses prepare individuals for jobs in emerging green fields. With course topics that span green building, home energy auditing, and renewable energy, we help our students learn industry-specific phrases, acronyms, concepts, and technical field skills. These valuable lessons enable our participants to gain eligibility on work projects, become qualified for new jobs and promotions, and/or further develop their knowledge and skills in existing roles. The majority of our classes result in a certificate of knowledge, certification, accreditation, and/or certificate of completion – but what do all these certificate terms mean?
Certificate of Knowledge
proof that a candidate has completed a training program and demonstrated proficiency in the learned concepts (often by means of passing an exam)
Within the context of Everblue’s courses, participants have the opportunity to acquire one of two certificates of knowledge. The first is the NABCEP PV Entry Level Certificate of Knowledge, and the other is the BPI Building Science Principles Certificate of Knowledge.
The NABCEP PV Entry Level certificate, now called the NABCEP PV Associate, highlights a candidate’s knowledge of important solar energy concepts. Specifically, candidates enroll in Everblue’s PV101 Solar Associate course, which is an online webinar that explains various concepts related to solar energy. Candidates then go on to take the NABCEP PV Associate exam. Upon passing this exam, a candidate has earned the NABCEP Certificate of Knowledge. This resume-booster is perfect for anyone who needs to understand solar energy on a conceptual level, including those who interact with solar PV installers and electricians. This audience includes product manufacturers, salespeople, and office staff – in other words, these professionals will benefit from having knowledge of solar energy and can use their NABCEP PV Associate Certificate of Knowledge to support their expertise on the subject.
The BPI Building Science Principles certificate is similarly geared toward product manufacturers, sales representatives, and office staff but with an emphasis on building science concepts. Candidates enroll in Everblue’s online BPI Building Science Principles training, which includes the exam. Upon passing the exam, a candidate has earned the BPI Building Science Principles Certificate of Knowledge. Those with this certificate likely interact with field technicians on a regular basis and therefore need to be able to speak the same technical language. The BPI Building Science Principles certificate enables candidates to better communicate the benefits of home energy efficiency using credible and valid points as opposed to thoughtless sales jargon.
proof that a candidate has completed a training program and demonstrated proficiency in the learned concepts (often by means of passing an exam) with an emphasis on technical field competence
As you can see, a Certification is very similar to a Certificate of Knowledge. Oftentimes, however, the Certification goes a step beyond the Certificate of Knowledge. Using the standard-creating organizations from above, NABCEP and BPI both offer candidates an opportunity to achieve an entry level Certificate of Knowledge OR a more advanced Certification. In these two examples, the Certification represents a greater understanding of practical field use of learned concepts. Certification may also necessitate fulfilling continuing education requirements after a certain period of time to maintain the credential.
Electricians, roofers, and other project managers working in the field may be interested in the NABCEP PV Installation Professional Certification. To acquire this designation, a candidate may fulfill the educational prerequisite by enrolling in Everblue’s NABCEP PV Installation Professional training and then working on 3-5 solar PV installations. You can see that the difference between the NABCEP PV Entry Level certificate and this certification is the field experience. The individuals with the NABCEP solar certification likely work in the field on a regular basis and therefore need to demonstrate technical competence. A NABCEP PV Installation Professional must also acquire 18 hours of continuing education every three years to maintain the designation.
Home inspectors, general contractors, and HVAC technicians may be interested in one of BPI’s home energy auditor certifications, such as BPI Building Analyst, BPI Infiltration & Duct Leakage, or BPI Envelope Professional. To earn one of these designations, a candidate would enroll in a BPI training course, which includes classroom training, field training, written exams, and field exams. During the field training, candidates visit a real home and operate real energy auditing equipment. They perform a series of diagnostic tests to determine how energy-efficient the home is and to identify opportunities for greater energy efficiency. Those who pass the written and field exams, and ultimately earn a BPI Certification, will likely work in the field on a regular basis performing home energy audits and again must demonstrate technical proficiency. BPI credential holders must acquire 30 CEUs every three years to maintain their designation.
proof that a candidate has demonstrated proficiency (by means of passing a LEED exam)
Yes, read that description carefully. Within the context of Everblue’s training courses, accreditation refers to a candidate’s personal achievement of a LEED credential. When you see that someone has LEED Green Associate or LEED AP BD+C after their name in an email signature or business card, it means that he or she has earned a LEED Accreditation. Many people are accustomed to saying Certification in regard to a personal achievement like this, but LEED is a unique beast. Within the context of LEED, Certification refers to sustainable building projects, and Accreditation refers to a person passing a LEED exam. It seems picky to mention it here, but you’ll sound far more impressive if you use the proper terminology (regardless of whether you actually have the credential or not).
Certificate of Completion
proof that a candidate has completed a training program and demonstrated proficiency in the learned concepts
This one is also kind of a trick question. The three terms defined above are all honors determined by a third-party credentialing organization. A Certificate of Completion, on the other hand, is truly just a document that illustrates a candidate’s participation in a training event. In order to demonstrate that you’ve completed the training event, you may need to answer a series of quiz questions, complete a post-course survey, and/or pass an end-of-course evaluation, but these requirements are largely determined by the training organization, such as Everblue, or the accrediting bodies who provide continuing education credit, such as ACCET or AIA.
Generally speaking, to show proof that you paid attention in a fully online class, you must complete a post-course assessment to gain access to your certificate of completion. This is the case for the boards in which Everblue is affiliated with. For live classes, a candidate demonstrates proof of participation by showing up all day every day. Upon meeting that attendance requirement, a candidate can then access his or her certificate of completion. Some continuing education bodies, such as IACET and ACICS, take it a step further and require post-course assessments for live classes. The reasoning behind these guidelines is because these organizations do not want to award continuing education credit to a candidate who failed to fully participate in the event. So, at the end of the day, a certificate of completion can be used more for gaining continuing education than for marketing your knowledge and expertise.
Given your occupation and professional development goals, which of these certificate terms are you hoping to achieve?
If you have any questions on which certificate term is best for you, please email us at [email protected] or start a live chat with one of our representatives. We’re happy to guide you in the right direction!