Accreditation and Certification
What is the difference between accreditation and certification?
Training Provider and Certificate Program Accreditation are credentials geared toward organizations that offer job-related training in clean energy technologies. Master Trainer or Instructor Certification is for individuals actively engaged in teaching topics from one or more IREC-accepted job task analyses for the clean energy industry. For information about eligibility requirements for both accreditation and certification, please refer to the Candidate Handbook.
Why should my program apply for IREC accreditation?
An IREC credential is a nationally-recognized mark of quality training in the clean energy industry. Students, employers, funders, and other stakeholders look for the IREC mark to find high-quality, safe training that is aligned with industry needs.
Organizations and individuals who have attained the IREC credential can use the IREC mark in promotional and outreach materials to stand out in an increasingly crowded marketplace. Credential holders consistently report the value of the application and assessment process itself. By performing a self-assessment and making improvements to their training program or approach to instruction in order to meet the high-quality benchmark of the IREC standard, an organization or individual increases the quality of their training: a benefit to our entire industry.
Which accreditation is the ‘right fit’ for my clean energy training program?
Contact the IREC Team to discuss accreditation eligibility and your organization’s priorities. We’ll work with you to determine the best way to recognize your high-quality, job-related clean energy training.
Why should employers or businesses be interested in the IREC credentials?
Businesses who make quality and safety an integral part of their business hire workers trained at accredited programs. An employer can clearly see the skill set being taught in these programs, reduce on-the-job training time, and increase the focus on company-specific knowledge. A well-trained workforce leads to fewer call backs, better work quality, increased consumer confidence, and better safeguards for the industry.
Training Provider Accreditation
How do I know if my program or institution is a candidate for Training Provider Accreditation?
In order to become accredited as a Training Provider, organizations must demonstrate through the application and assessment process that they meet all applicable requirements of IREC 020123 Standard. This includes offering a curriculum that aligns with one or more IREC-accepted job task analyses. For a complete description of the eligibility requirements, please refer to the IREC Candidate Handbook.
How do I know if my program or institution is a candidate for Certificate Program Accreditation?
In order to become accredited as a Certificate Program, organizations must demonstrate through the application and assessment process that they meet all applicable requirements of ANSI-IREC Standard 14732. This includes offering a market-valued certificate that is aligned with industry jobs and was developed in accordance with a systematic program plan. For a complete description of eligibility requirements, please refer to the IREC Candidate Handbook.
Is my organization ready to go through the accreditation process?
Preparing for accreditation is an important step even before you begin the application. Start by thoroughly reviewing your policies and procedures to be sure they are current and fully documented. Understand the requirements of the Standard and what you will need to supply to show compliance.
If we are seeking accreditation, do our instructors need to be IREC certified as well?
There is no current requirement that IREC-accredited training providers work with IREC-certified trainers. However, there are specific requirements for training-related personnel detailed in the IREC standards. In addition, if you do choose to employ IREC-certified instructors, this can complement your organization’s accreditation and provide an additional mark of distinction.
What are current application fees for Accreditation?
The base application fee for a Training Provider or Certificate Program to apply for accreditation for one job task analysis is $3,500. If you plan to apply for accreditation for multiple job task analyses, doing so in one application reduces the additional fees associated with multiple JTAs. Also budget for travel expenses associated with the assessor’s visit to your training facility. For detailed information and a chart of application fees, consult the Candidate Handbook.
How long is the accreditation valid?
The IREC credential is awarded for a period of five (5) years, after which time a new application must be submitted. The credential remains valid during this five-year period subject to the submission of an annual report demonstrating your continued adherence to the requirements of the standard and Credentialing Program policies.
Instructor and Master Trainer Certification
How do I know if I am a candidate for Master Trainer or Instructor certification?
To become certified as an Instructor or Master Trainer, a candidate must demonstrate through the application and assessment process that s/he meets all applicable requirements of IREC Standard 01024: 2013. This includes teaching topics from one or more IREC-accepted job task analyses.
To become an IREC Certified Instructor, you must be able to document at least 2380 contact hours composed of actual teaching; educational and practical experience is required. To become an IREC Certified Master Trainer, you must be able to document at least 3850 contact hours composed of actual teaching; educational and practical experience is required. Full eligibility requirements for Instructors and Master Trainers are described in the Candidate Handbook.
Must I be affiliated with an IREC accredited institution to obtain IREC certification?
No. IREC certification is held regardless of where or for whom an Instructor or Master Trainer teaches. Certification belongs to an individual and is always claimed in association with the individual’s name (for example, Janet Jackson, IREC Certified Instructor for Energy Auditor).
How should I document my experience as an applicant for IREC certification?
Candidates are required to submit documentation supporting ALL experience claimed in the application. Documentation must include third-party verification of experience, as well as all elements required in the application form. In recognition of the diversity of education and experience in our industry, candidates are given an opportunity to demonstrate compliance to the Standard through multiple pathways.
What are current application fees for Instructor or Master Trainer certification?
The base application fee for certification under one job task analysis is $700. If you plan to apply under multiple job task analyses, doing so in one application reduces the additional fees associated with multiple JTAs. For detailed information and a chart of application fees, consult the Candidate Handbook.
How long is the instructor certification valid?
The IREC credential is awarded for a period of five (5) years, after which time a new application must be submitted. The credential remains valid during this five-year period subject to the submission of an annual report demonstrating continued adherence to the requirements of the Standard and Credentialing Program policies.
The Application Process
How do I get started with the application process?
See the IREC Credentials page to view the initial steps in the process. Review the IREC Standard and JTA under which you would like to apply and the Candidate Handbook. Next, contact the IREC Credentialing Program to obtain an eligibility form. Upon eligibility verification, a full digital application packet will be emailed to you. Applications are submitted and paid for online using IREC’s web-based application portal, IREC Direct.
How long does the application process take?
The term of candidacy for Training Providers and Certificate Programs is nine months, and for Instructors and Master Trainers six months, starting from the date your application is deemed complete by IREC and officially accepted (NOTE: This can be different from your original date of submission). However, when you submit a clear, complete, and well-organized application package, and are responsive to IREC staff and assessor requests for information, this can significantly shorten the length of your assessment.
What are the most common mistakes made in applications?
The three most common mistakes are:
- providing insufficient evidence/documentation for the assessor to verify your application statements
- submitting large amounts of extraneous documentation (for example submitting an entire college policy manual without references to specific relevant pages)
- failing to describe how organizational policies are implemented and practiced at the program level
Once my application is underway, who do I contact regarding its progress?
The assessor assigned to your application generally is your main point of contact during the assessment. Candidates use IREC’s online system, IREC Direct to communicate with their assessor.
Where can I find more information about using IREC Direct, IREC’s online system, to apply for and maintain my credential?
Please refer to our IREC Direct FAQs page for detailed information about using IREC Direct.
Who makes the final determination about accreditation or certification?
The IREC Credentialing Award Committee, composed of subject matter experts in education, energy efficiency, renewable energy, curriculum development, and credentialing, makes the final determination on awarding all credentials based upon the application and the assessor’s reports and recommendations.
The Job Task Analysis
What is a Job Task Analysis (JTA)?
A formal, industry-accepted study, validated by a group of subject-matter experts that defines competencies in knowledge, skills, and attitudes as the basis for education/training curricula. Similar activities are also referred to as task analyses, practice analyses, and role-delineation studies.
a) Tasks are the individual functions, whether mental or physical, necessary to carry out an aspect of a specific job.
b) Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes (KSAs) include the physical and mental capabilities that a practitioner must possess to perform a job competently, ethically, and safely.
How does a Job Task Analysis relate to my Training Provider or Certificate Program application?
The IREC standards require that you demonstrate that you are training to specific industry jobs that have been defined by a job task analysis. As such, your curriculum must align with the tasks and subtasks of one or more JTAs through one or more specific courses.
Must I only use Job Task Analyses that have already been accepted by IREC?
All job task analyses used for the IREC application must be accepted by IREC prior to submission of an Eligibility Form. If you are using an industry-validated job task analysis not yet accepted by IREC, there is a process in place that you may use to submit it for acceptance. Please see the Candidate Handbook for more information.
How do I cross-map our training curriculum to the relevant JTA?
The IREC Credentialing Program will provide you with a spreadsheet to map out how your curriculum, including learning assessments, aligns with a JTA. Provide enough detail to show where a given task’s knowledge area or skill is taught and where the knowledge or skill is assessed.
The Desk Assessment
What is involved in a Desk Assessment?
Following acceptance of your application by IREC, and your confirmation of your assessor nomination, your assessor will carefully review your application and supporting documentation to determine what additional information is needed. The assessor will verify that the candidate has provided sufficient documentation for each requirement prior to proceeding to an on-site assessment (if required) or submitting a recommendation to the Credentialing Award Committee.
My institution has numerous policies and procedures for delivering education/training. Which ones should I send?
Read the Standard carefully to understand what specific policies and procedures are required. Please send only those portions of organization-wide policies that are applicable to the specific program(s) submitted for accreditation. If you include web links to policies, provide the specific pages, sections, or page numbers that refer to the information that IREC requires. It is also important to describe the practices and procedures that the training provider has implemented to ensure these policies are carried out.
Our training organization is small. Do we still need to have a documented management system and an annual internal audit?
Yes. For small programs, the documented management system and the internal audit/annual review do not need to be complex or time-consuming. Taking time to write down management practices and setting up a special meeting with instructors and staff at least once a year to review operations is simply good business practice and ensures that your operations continue to meet the Standard.
The On-Site Assessment
Will an on-site assessment be part of my credentialing process?
First-time applicants for an IREC-Accredited Training Provider or Certificate Program credential are required to undergo a site assessment. Renewal applicants who have maintained their credential in good standing may be eligible for a virtual site assessment. Candidates for Master Trainer or Instructor are typically not required to undergo an in-person assessment. However, IREC reserves the right to require an on-site assessment at the candidate’s expense, should this be necessary to confirm that the requirements of the Standard are met.
What can I expect during my on-site assessment?
An on-site assessment will be conducted after the desk assessment is complete and typically takes no more than one to two days, depending on the scope of the application. Your assessor will work with you to plan the agenda, which will include meetings with management and key staff, interviews with instructors and students, review of policy manuals, curriculum, and other key documents, inspection of facilities, tools and equipment, and observation of training, when possible. At the closing of the on-site assessment, your assessor will meet with you to review the findings.
Maintaining Your Award
How do I maintain my award?
Prior to your credential’s anniversary date, you will receive a notification from IREC reminding you that your annual maintenance requirements will soon be due. The process is carried out through IREC’s online system, IREC Direct, and includes completion of the annual maintenance form, as well as payment of the annual fee (see the fee chart in the Candidate Handbook.) Only one annual report is completed per type of credential held.
What happens if I do not file the Annual Report or pay the Annual Fee by my anniversary date?
This is a violation of IREC Credentialing Program policy and could result in suspension or ultimately, revocation of your credential. Annual maintenance is an important part of ensuring that the IREC credential continues to have value through your five-year award. We appreciate your cooperation in completing requirements before your anniversary date so that you continue to hold the credential you worked so hard to earn. You will receive several reminders!
How is annual maintenance different from the renewal?
All IREC credentials are awarded for a period of five (5) years. To maintain the validity of your award, an annual maintenance report and annual fee are required. Every five years the candidate must submit a completely new application for renewal with up-to-date supporting documentation that will verify that the credential holder meets the requirements of the current Standard and Program.
Who are the Assessors and what do they do?
IREC Registered Assessors are industry professionals with experience in clean energy technologies, training and adult education, and organizational evaluation. Assessors review and verify the candidate’s application and documentation and conduct on-site assessments. They undergo extensive and ongoing training with the IREC Credentialing Program to ensure the quality and consistency of the assessments they perform.
How are Assessors assigned?
Assessors are nominated to review a specific candidate’s application based on their expertise in the relevant clean energy technology. When possible, geographic considerations are also a factor. The candidate is given an opportunity to accept the assessor nomination before the assessment begins.
How may I become an Assessor?
If you have experience in a clean energy discipline as well as demonstrated skills in analysis, evaluation, and attention to detail, please contact the IREC Credentialing Program to request a job description and submit an application.
I have taken training courses from an IREC-accredited training organization. May I promote this through use of the IREC mark on my website or marketing materials?
No. Use of the IREC marks is expressly for those training providers and instructors who have undergone the assessment process and been granted a credential. For more information about use of the IREC marks, please see the Candidate Handbook.
How do I find information about accredited Training Providers and Certificate Programs or Certified Instructors and Master Trainers in my area?
All IREC credential holders are listed on our website.