Deciding to become a home energy performance professional is a major move in anyone's career journey. People enter the field of energy efficiency from various occupations and careers and at various stages of their lives. Everyone has different reasons why they think energy auditing is the correct career choice for them. One question that consistently comes from people looking to enter the home performance industry: "How do I become an Energy Auditing Professional?"
The simple answer is that it depends. It mostly depends on where an individual wants to perform energy audits. First of all, there are widely varying incentives in different states and counties around the United States for homeowners getting energy audits and retrofits. Secondly, becoming an energy auditing professional sometimes requires a specific type of industry certification or energy audit training. Though there are many local differences, there are a few basic requirements that are consistent.
General Requirements to Become a Certified Energy Auditor
To be eligible to become a qualified energy performance and retrofit professional you must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have access to all necessary personal safety equipment required by OSHA
- Complete any energy auditing education required by clients or state
- Pass the certification examination(s)
These items represent the high-level checklist of what it takes to become a certified home energy performance professional, but there are a lot of decisions you need to make and steps to take along the way that will dictate whether or not your journey is successful.
Ask Yourself: Is an Energy Efficiency Job Right for You?
The first step in this process is making sure that energy auditing is right for you. When starting out as a home performance technician, each day is spent working for you. This means handling your own office management, paperwork, prospecting leads, developing relationships, managing contacts, and dealing with homeowners and state incentive programs. Reach out to local auditors and technicians and ask them questions about what the day-to-day work is like. Starting a full-time job as an energy auditing professional can't be treated like a hobby. It requires a full commitment. Make sure home performance is the right path for you.
Understand Your State's Energy Efficiency Incentives
Each state's, and even counties', incentive structures for energy audits and retrofits are different. Your state's energy department website will list the official incentives. Ecotech Training offers a training and preparation for the BPI Certification exams because this certification is nationally-recognized and the most recognized by incentive programs around the country. Wherever your career takes you, your BPI credential will be right there with you.
Enroll in a Hands-on Energy Auditing Course
There are variety of ways you can choose to prepare for your BPI certification exams, from live classroom locations at local schools, home-study, and online energy audit training. This is an important decision in your journey. Make sure you enroll with a school that has a good reputation, offers quality content and instructors, and is focused on positive student outcomes. Your energy audit training will be difficult and comprehensive, but it will also be the springboard to a successful job as a home energy performance professional.
Take the BPI Building Analyst Written and Field Exams
Timing is important at this step. Make sure you are following your training with both of the BPI certification exams as soon as possible so all of the information is still fresh in your mind. This process will be the same across the country and the testing fee is generally included in your tuition. You must take both a two-hour written exam and a two-hour field test in order to gain certification. The results of these tests will be mailed to you in a few weeks after completion, so don't worry if you don't hear anything right away.
Think About More Advanced Designations
Passing the BPI Building Analyst field and written exams is quite an accomplishment — not everyone passes the exams the first time. However, preparing yourself for a career in energy auditing often takes additional credentials. Ecotech Training highly recommends enrolling in a dual certification boot camp. In order to have your company become BPI-Accredited (as opposed to certified in a specific designation), you need a BPI Building Analyst and another advanced credential. Because the ultimate goal is to help you get an edge on your competition, most of Ecotech Training's education packages include the BPI Envelope Professional certification exam prep along with the BPI Building Analyst. Including both of these courses into one boot camp can be very intensive, but if you come with a positive attitude, use the knowledge of your instructor, and focus, you will be able to earn both certifications in no more than one week.
Get Started and Build Experience
Your passing grades on the BPI Building Analyst and Envelope Professional exams don't quite mean that you're an energy auditor. Generally, these credentials are considered an indication of basic competence in energy auditing, and are enough to get you started in the industry. However, the road to mastery is much longer than this, and you will have to continue to develop your skills to become an expert. Consider finding a certified professional early in your career to work with.
Good luck on your journey to becoming certified, as well as your eventual successful career as an energy auditor!