The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) is the most well-known organization for creating workplace standards and certifications for solar energy professionals. To qualify for many of NABCEP’s designations, candidates must complete training and/or show proof of work experience. The NABCEP Certification training requirement varies from 24 hours to 60 hours, depending on which credential you choose to pursue.
NABCEP currently offers three entry-level “Associate” credentials and eight “Board” certifications.
- NABCEP PV Associate
- NABCEP Solar Heating Associate
- NABCEP Small Wind Associate
- NABCEP PV Design Specialist
- NABCEP PV Installer Specialist
- NABCEP PV Commissioning & Maintenance Specialist
- NABCEP PV Installation Professional
- NABCEP PV Technical Sales
- NABCEP PV System Inspector
- NABCEP Solar Heating Installer
- NABCEP Solar Heating System Inspector
Because the Associate credentials are entry-level, you can qualify EITHER by completing an education pathway OR by documenting work experience.
The Board certifications, however, are more advanced and therefore require education / training AND work experience.
Please note: A candidate for any NABCEP certification should be at least 18 years of age. Neither the NABCEP Associate Handbook nor the NABCEP Certification Handbook identify any other requirements related to K-12 schooling, GED, or high school diploma. Instead, the NABCEP Certification training requirement relies on a network of approved training providers (like Everblue) who offer accredited solar training programs. We’ll discuss these requirements in greater detail below.
Qualifying for NABCEP Associate Using the Education Pathway
To qualify through the Education Pathway, an individual must successfully complete a course or program that covers the full NABCEP Associate Job Task Analysis (JTA) from a Registered NABCEP Associate Provider for the specific technology they intend to pursue – photovoltaics, solar heating, or small wind.
NABCEP allows each Registered Provider to develop their own curriculum to cover the JTA and recommends that such courses include a minimum of 40 hours of content instruction.
Here at Everblue, we are a Registered NABCEP Associate Provider, and our NABCEP PV Associate course is 40 hours in duration. This package also includes the cost of the NABCEP PV Associate exam.
At the end of the program, students receive an Everblue certificate of completion as well as a NABCEP Associate Candidate Eligibility form. We will submit these documents to NABCEP on the student’s behalf, to vouch for their full participation and completion of the course.
NABCEP Certification Training Requirement for Board Certifications
The full scope of requirements are listed, in detail, in the NABCEP Certification Handbook, but for a brief overview of the NABCEP Certification training requirement for the various designations, continue reading…
NABCEP PV Design Specialist (PVDS)
- Minimum of OSHA 10 Training
- 24 hours of training from an accredited institution, where 18 hours cover advanced PV design principles as outlined in the NABCEP PV Design Specialist JTA and 6 hours cover National Electric Code
NABCEP PV Installer Specialist (PVIS)
- Minimum of OSHA 10 Training
- 24 hours of training from an accredited institution, where 18 hours cover advanced PV installation principles as outlined in the NABCEP PVIS JTA and 6 hours cover National Electric Code
NABCEP PV Commissioning & Maintenance Specialist (PVCMS)
- Minimum of OSHA 30 Training
- 24 hours of training from an accredited institution, where 18 hours cover advanced PV commissioning/maintenance principles as outlined in the NABCEP PV Commissioning Specialist JTA and 6 hours cover National Electric Code
NABCEP PV Installation Professional (PVIP)
- Minimum of OSHA 10 Training
- 58 hours of training, where 40 must come from an accredited institution and cover advanced PV installation principles as outlined in the NABCEP PV Installation Professional JTA. The remaining 18 hours may include Associate-level coursework through a Registered NABCEP Associate Provider but only if candidate also passes the NABCEP Associate exam
NABCEP PV Technical Sales
This is where things get very tricky. NABCEP offers eight “qualifying categories” for this certification. Depending on which category you choose, you will have specific education / training and work experience requirements. These requirements vary from category to category, and you must stay within one lane to fully be eligible.
Specific to NABCEP Certification training requirements, you’ll want to note that:
- Category A requires a minimum of 60 hours of advanced training directly related to the PV Technical Sales JTA
- Category B requires a minimum of 32 hours of advanced training directly related to the PV Technical Sales JTA
- Category C lists as associate’s degree from an accredited educational institution in renewable energy technology or related field of study
- Category D lists a bachelor’s degree from an accredited educational institution
NABCEP PV System Inspector
- There are no specific prerequisites to take the NABCEP PV System Inspector exam. However, the exams are intended to test the knowledge of someone who is familiar with PV systems, code, and labeling. To be successful on this exam, candidates should complete a minimum of 40 hours of NABCEP PV System Inspector training.
NABCEP Solar Heating Installer
Much like the NABCEP PV Technical Sales Certification, the Solar Heating Installer Certification also has “qualifying categories” that specifically address education / training requirements and work experience requirements.
- Category A2 lists 16 hours of advanced training
- Category B lists 40 hours of advanced training
- Category F lists a 2-year degree from an accredited educational institution in a construction-related, engineering technology, or renewable energy technology field
- Category G lists a 4-year degree from an accredited educational institution
- Category H lists NABCEP PV Installation Professional Certification (which is 58 hours in its own right, plus OSHA 10 training) AND 16 hours of advanced training
NABCEP Solar Heating System Inspector
- There are no specific prerequisites to take the NABCEP Solar Heating System Inspector exam. However, the exams are intended to test the knowledge of someone who is familiar with solar thermal systems. To be successful on this exam, candidates should complete a minimum of 40 hours of training.
Please note that each of these certifications also has a work experience prerequisite that must be met before a candidate is eligible to sit for the exam.
Because the NABCEP Certification training requirement varies by credential, it’s important to read the NABCEP Certification Handbook fully and make a plan for which certification(s) you choose to pursue.
For more information about NABCEP Certification and which designation is right for you, call (800) 460-2575.