Do Credentials Really Matter?

There is a lot of work that goes into the development of credentials.  It starts with a robust, high-quality, industry-validated standard. Standards that are established using a transparent process – including the participation of a balanced set of stakeholders – set the foundation for credentials that have value in the marketplace. In many ways, standard development is tedious and detailed, but the people who get involved with the process tend to be professionals who have a passion for their industry. This all  results in standards that raise the bar for quality and safety in an industry.

But does anyone really care beyond the ‘inner circle’ of an industry? Well, in truth, we rely on credentials in every aspect of our lives.  In looking for someone to take care of our health, credentials are vital. We look for certifications for nurses, chiropractors, audiologists, and optometrists. We look for a mechanic to work on our car who is trained and certified on our make and model. We expect laboratories to be accredited if we are to trust their results. We want our refrigerator to have a high Energy Star rating and our colleges to be accredited. We want our food handlers to be certified to safely handle food and to know that our first responders are wearing body armor that meets industry standards. In short, we look for credentials and expect industry standards to be met in all of the functions that impact our lives.

Energy efficiency and renewable energy are young, rapidly developing industries.  The efforts to develop standards and credentials for practitioners, products and training are solid but evolving. At IREC we work with industry, educators, government, and consumers to establish valuable standards and credentials to bolster the growing clean energy economy. The ANSI-IREC Accreditation Program and the IREC Credentialing Program provide accreditation and certification credentials for training providers who are keeping pace with the standards and developments in our industry. As with other credentials, which we may take for granted, the credentials based on IREC standards provide a sign of quality, value, safety, and confidence.

Energy efficiency and renewable energy have become ingrained in the national conversation about energy and the economy and they are touching all of our lives. We recognize that making the public aware of the credentials in this industry helps the consumer have confidence in the training, products and services they are seeing.  As a result, IREC is embarking on efforts to clearly communicate the value of our credentials, remove any confusion in the marketplace, and work with other credentialing bodies to raise awareness.

Over the next several months, we will use this newsletter to inform you about our efforts and invite you to join the conversation.  In the meantime, if you hold an IREC credential or other credential related to our industry, please join our efforts by proudly displaying your mark to clearly communicate the value and quality of your service.

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