What’s the difference between a Certificate and Certification?
Certificates are proof that a person has completed a solar PV training course, and has achieved a high level of knowledge about solar. Few people are hired into the industry without some formal training, and providing a certificate of that training to the prospective employer.
Certification means a person has taken at least 58 hours of training in accredited training classes, achieved a very high level of professional solar experience in the field as a PV professional by performing at least 3 PV installations, has at a minimum a ten-hour OSHA card, and has passed the NABCEP Certification Exam.
All schools can provide a certificate of completion. Only accredited schools can provide certificates of completion that count toward NABCEP Certification requirements. Certification is granted by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) after passing the NABCEP Certification Exam. NABCEP certification is recognized worldwide, and as the top certification in the U.S.
How can I determine if the classes I want to take are accredited?
Look for the IREC logo, or ask the training provider if the course you want is accredited. Recognized accreditation organizations are the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), or are courses taught by an IREC Certified Master PV Trainer. Others are state accredited college technical programs that are typically one or two year educational programs.
Solairgen’s IREC Accredited classes are as follows and the trainer is an IREC Certified Master PV Trainer:
- PV201 Online Design and Installation (Introductory)
- PV202 Online PV Technical Sales (Sales, Advanced)
- PV203 System Design and Installation (Hands-on, Advanced)
- PV221 Online Series (Advanced and Continuing Education)
Is accredited training necessary if I want to get certified?
Yes. You can not take the NABCEP Certification Exams without accredited training, but there are more benefits for your career:
- Most employers want to hire applicants who have taken accredited solar training classes.
- Most state projects or utilities offering a financial incentive require NABCEP solar certification.
- Developers of large utility scale projects often require NABCEP solar certification.
What is the NABCEP Associate Installer Credential Exam?
Passing this exam is the most widely recognized solar achievement credential in the U.S. Passing the exam provides great value toward marketing yourself for employment in the solar industry. It can mean the difference between getting hired with a solar company over someone who has not passed the exam, and in some cases having the credential is a requirement to being hired. However, it is not to be confused with being “Certified”.
How can I take the NABCEP Associate Installer Credential Exam?
You are eligible to take the exam through Solairgen after you have successfully completed PV201 Online Design and Installation.
What do I need to do to get Certified as a PV Installation Professional?
Certification in the PV industry is a process that takes, on the average, about two years. Being Certified in the PV industry guarantees the public that you have gained experience and training in the industry. NABCEP’s minimum eligibility requirements to sit for the exam are:
- 58 hours of PV specific, accredited training
- 10 hour OSHA card
- 3 to 5 installations depending on contractor’s license
Solairgen’s Accredited Training Program (PV201 Online with PV203 System Design and Installation) provide 60 hours of accredited training, satisfying the training hour requirement to sit for the exam. You must provide documentation to NABCEP proving your training, your OSHA card, and your field installation experience.
What do I need to get Certified as a PV Technical Sales Professional?
You must qualify in one of the seven different categories to sit for the PV Technical Sales Certification Exam. Those qualifying categories can be found at the NABCEP website, www.nabcep.org. In most categories, you must have achieved a passing score on the NABCEP Entry Level Achievement Exam.
Solairgen’s PV202 Online PV Technical Sales course provides you with 20 IREC Accredited training hours toward your career as a solar sales professional, and NABCEP PV Technical Sales Professional Certification.
For detailed information about the qualifying categories and requirements for PV Installation Professional and PV Technical Sales Professional Certifications, follow this link to the NABCEP Certification Handbook.