Shaping Tomorrow's Built Environment Today

Certification FAQs

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The Candidate Guidebook for the certification program in which you are interested is the best resource for detailed information on many of the below frequently asked questions. 

Additional questions? Feel free to contact ASHRAE Certification at 678-539-1105 or certification@ashrae.org with any questions, and we will be happy to respond within one business day.

  • Value
    1. Why should I get certified?

      Recognized by over 30 national, state and local government bodies and with over 2,500 certifications earned to-date, ASHRAE certifications increasingly have become the must-have credential for built-environment professionals.

    2. How will people know that I am certified?

      The name and location of each active certificant are posted on ASHRAE's website. The list is updated monthly to reflect new certificants.  In addition, ASHRAE encourages certificants to include their ASHRAE certification designation on their e-mail auto-signature, business cards, letterhead, social networks and other public locations.

    3. What does ANSI accreditation mean?

      ASHRAE's Building Commissioning Professional (BCxP), Building Building Energy Assessment Professional (BEAP), Building Energy Modeling Professional (BEMP), Commissioning Process Management Professional (CPMP) and High-Performance Building Design Professional (HBDP) certification programs are all accredited by ANSI as conforming to a rigorous, internationally recognized standard (17024) for personnel certification programs. The 17024 standard addresses certifying body legal status, management of confidentiality and impartiality, governance, recordkeeping, security, certification scheme requirements, appeals and complaints, among other requirements. All 6 ASHRAE certification programs are managed against the 17024 standard.

  • Applying for Certification
    1. What does earning an ASHRAE certification involve?

      Applicants must submit a completed application attesting to fulfilling the eligibility criteria and then – if approved to sit for the exam – pass an examination.

    2. Where can I find an application?

      The electronic application for each certification program is available on the ASHRAE website.

    3. What is the application fee?

      $395 for ASHRAE members and $545 for non-members.

    4. How will I know if I have successfully submitted my application?

      After successful application submission, you will receive an email confirmation.

  • Taking My Exam
    1. Where and when can I take an exam?

      Exams may be taken year round at any one of over 300 testing centers in countries around the world.

    2. How do I schedule an exam?

      Candidates approved to sit for a certification exam will receive an e-mail notification that includes directions on how to schedule their examination, including the selection of an examination center, date and time. Candidates must schedule and take their exam within 90 days of approval to sit for the exam.

    3. What is tested on the exam?

      Certification exams assess competence in critical job tasks, and their related knowledge, skills and abilities, as identified by the Exam Subcommittee for each program. These tasks can be found in the detailed content outline (DCO) in the Candidate Guidebook for each certification program.

    4. What is the exam format?

      Each exam except the Building Commissioning Professional (BCxP) exam consists of 115 multiple-choice items, of which 100 will be scored. The additional 15 items are interspersed throughout the exam and are used for "pre-test" purposes; candidates do not know which items are scored and which are being pre-tested. The BCxP exam consists of 130 multiple-choice items, of which 10 are unscored, pre-test items. The three cognitive levels tested on exam are recall, application and analysis. Candidates for the Healthcare Facility Design Professional (HFDP) certification have 2 hours in which to complete their exam, while all other exam candidates have 2.5 hours. Non-native English speakers may request an additional 30 minutes of testing time.

    5. How do I go about requesting an accommodation for testing?

      ASHRAE complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act while striving to ensure that no individual with a disability is deprived of the opportunity to take the examination solely by reason of that disability. To request an accommodation for testing, please submit a completed “Request for Special Accommodations Form” immediately following submission of your application. Please note that up to 45 days will be needed to evaluate the request. It is ASHRAE policy to maintain strict confidentiality of all information pertaining to an individual's application.

    6. Is there an exam prep course I can take?

      Though the best preparation for the exam is your work experience, as it's an exam on competence in critical job tasks, and their related knowledge, skills and abilities, for those interested in preparing for their exam, ASHRAE offers the following resources, which can be found on the landing page for each certification program:

      • The Detailed Content Outline (DCO) in Appendix A of the Candidate Guidebook lists which critical job tasks are tested on the exam. The DCO even indicates how many questions on the exam are in a particular content area.
      • The Candidate Guidebook as well lists “Key” and “Related” resources for exam prep, which may include publications and courses. Since no two exam candidates have the same education and work experience background, it must be up to the individual to identify areas of improvement for exam preparation.
      • A convenient, 30-question, online practice exam ($39) is recommended. Though not a gap analysis tool, it will help exam candidates become more familiar with exam content and difficulty.
    7. What score do I need to pass my exam? What is the exam pass rate?

      The passing score is different for different certification exams, but that doesn't mean one exam or certification is more or less difficult, or more or less rigorous, than another. When the respective certification Exam Subcommittees conduct a passing point study, the expert judgements of subject matter experts are required to produce and interpret exam passing point study results and set the examination passing score.

      Score Needed to Pass an Exam

      BCxP – 83/120
      BCxP Recertification – 48/70
      BEAP – 68/100
      BEMP – 67/100
      HBDP – 60/100
      HFDP – 69/100
      OPMP – 65/100

      Exam Pass Rate: Life-to-Date through 1/2018

      BCxP – 72%
      BCxP Recertification – 91%
      BEAP – 78%
      BEMP – 64%
      HBDP – 69%
      HFDP – 81%
      OPMP – 51%

    8. There was a question on my exam that didn't seem to have a correct answer in the options. Will the official exam results take into account any such discrepancies?

      It could be that the question you are referring to was one of the 15 unscored beta questions on the exam. ASHRAE includes unscored questions on its exams in order to understand how well they discriminate between high and low performers, and as well to learn if the question is flawed in any way. If the unscored question performs well, then it can be used on a future exam form. If it is flawed, then it is re-written and may be included on a future exam form as an unscored beta question.

      All of the scored questions on the exam have been vetted in the sense that data on them has been analyzed to ensure that they perform well. On rare occasion, it does turn out that a scored question is flawed, in which case the Exam Subcommittee will award credit to all examinees for all of that question's answer choices. When this happens, it is always soon after the launch of a new exam form, so no examinees are penalized.

    9. I missed passing my exam by just 1 point. Is there anything that can be done to make it a passing score?

      Unfortunately, there isn’t.  ASHRAE uses Angoff methodology to identify and set exam passing scores in a “passing point study.”  The underlying philosophy of the Angoff procedure is that the passing point should be related to exam question difficulty, specifically the difficulty of the questions relative to what is expected of the minimally competent examinee. This methodology requires subject matter expert (SME) judges, ASHRAE Exam Subcommittee members, to render an expected performance rating for each examination question. Ratings are intended to express the expected probability that a minimally competent practitioner (MCP) will respond correctly to each question on the examination.

      Confidence intervals are calculated using reliability estimates and standard deviations of the SME judge ratings.  The reliability of the mean ratings is such that if the study were repeated an infinite number of times with comparable sets of SME judges and items, the results would be extremely consistent.

      Therefore, examinees must achieve this minimum standard, the passing score, to obtain certification status. 

    10. What can I bring to the examination?

      Candidates may bring into the examination room a non-programmable, scientific calculator. The examination center as well will provide each candidate with scratch paper and a pencil for making calculations. To manage possible noise, U.S. examinees will be provided with ear plugs. International and pencil-and-paper examinees may bring their own earplugs, though the proctor will need to inspect and approve them.

    11. If my exam start is delayed due to technical difficulties, what are my options?

      Technical difficulties occasionally can delay an exam start. If this does happen and the delay lasts 30 minutes, then exam candidates may ask the Testing Center for the opportunity to reschedule their examination appointment. Of course, if it appears the technical difficulty may be resolved, then exam candidates can simply wait until the difficulty is resolved and then take their exam.

    12. If I fail the exam, can I reapply to take it?

      Yes – but such candidates must wait at least 90 days before reapplying to retake the exam. 

  • Recertification
    1. Why do I have to recertify?

      Over time, the critical tasks of a job, and its related knowledge, skills and abilities, evolve. The purpose of recertifying every three years is to ensure that Certificants maintain a level of continuing competence through acceptable professional development activities.

    2. What is required to renew my certification?

      Forty-five (45) professional development hours (PDHs) in subject matter related to the certification earned for all ASHRAE certifications, except the BCxP which requires 50 PDHs. In all cases, recertification requirements must be met by December 31 of the renewal year. Complete renewal requirements for ASHRAE certifications may be found in the respective certification Candidate Guidebooks. The cost of recertification is $195 for ASHRAE members and $295 for non-members, except CPMP recertification as a BCxP which is $295 for ASHRAE members and $395 for non-members.

    3. For renewal purposes, can acceptable PDHs be earned only through ASHRAE activities?

      PDHs can be earned in a wide variety of ways and not just through ASHRAE activities! Definitions of acceptable PDHs as well apply across all countries in which Certificants live. 

  • BCxP Certification
    1. Why is ASHRAE adopting the Building Commissioning Professional scheme requirements?

      Periodically, as critical job competencies evolve, certification programs update their scheme requirements to ensure relevancy and validity. Since the timing was right for an update of the CPMP scheme requirements and the Building Commissioning Professional scheme requirements were validated in an industry-wide, consensus-based job task analysis, facilitated by the National Institute of Building Sciences, ASHRAE made the decision to adopt these scheme requirements. This updated ASHRAE commissioning certification scheme will be called the Building Commissioning Professional (BCxP). With the goal of achieving Department of Energy (DOE) recognition by the summer of 2017 of services provided by these certificants, this update will not only help ensure the continued validity and relevance of ASHRAE’s Commissioning certification, but also add value. Download More Detailed Information

    2. Will there be a study guide available for the 130-question BCxP certification exam?

      An excellent guide to preparation will be the blueprint for the BCxP exam itself, which can be downloaded. It lists the job duties and tasks tested on the exam. In addition, the National Institute of Building Sciences, the developer, publisher of and holder of copyright in the certification scheme requirements, identifies the following standards and guidelines as “required,” in the sense that these guidelines and standards are foundational for the Building Commissioning Professional job.

      • ASHRAE Guidelines
        Guideline 0 – The Cx Process
        Guideline 1.1 – HVAC&R Technical Requirements for the Cx Process
        Guideline 1.5 – The Cx Process for Smoke Control Systems
        Guideline 0.2 – The Existing Building Cx Process
      • ASHRAE Standards
        Standard 202 – Cx Process for Buildings and Systems
      • Illuminating Engineering Society
        IES DG-29-11 – The Cx process applied to lighting and control systems
      • National Fire Protection Association
        NFPA – 3 Recommended Practice on Cx and Integrated Testing of Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems
      • ASHE Guidelines
        Health Facility Cx Guidelines
      • National Institute of Building Sciences
        Guideline 3 – Exterior enclosures
    3. When can I apply for the BCxP?

      Beginning Sept. 15 application will open for a pencil-and-paper BCxP exam administration on Feb. 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, to be held in conjunction with the ASHRAE Winter Conference.  It is anticipated that application for computer-based examination at testing centers worldwide will open March 1, 2017. 

    4. How much will be the application fee?

      The same as for other ASHRAE certifications.  Effective July 1, the ASHRAE member discounted application fee will be $395 (non-member – $545).

  • CPMP Recertification as BCxP
    1. Why is ASHRAE adopting the Building Commissioning Professional scheme requirements?

      Periodically, as critical job competencies evolve, certification programs update their scheme requirements to ensure relevancy and validity.  Since the timing was right for an update of the CPMP scheme requirements and the Building Commissioning Professional scheme requirements were validated in an industry-wide, consensus-based job task analysis, facilitated by the National Institute of Building Sciences, ASHRAE made the decision to adopt these scheme requirements.  This updated ASHRAE commissioning certification scheme will be called the Building Commissioning Professional (BCxP). With the goal of achieving Department of Energy (DOE) recognition by the summer of 2017 of services provided by these certificants, this update will not only help ensure the continued validity and relevance of ASHRAE’s Commissioning certification, but also add value. Download More Detailed Information

    2. Does the name change go into effect immediately, or only once recertification is complete?

      CPMPs won’t be able to use the BCxP designation until after they have completed the BCxP renewal process. 

    3. Why is there a 70-question recertification exam? Why not just require CPMPs during their renewal period to target PDHs against BCxP-specific exam tasks?  

      The Department of Energy wants to be certain that CPMPs renewing as BCxPs fulfill the exact same scheme requirements as those applying directly for the BCxP.  In the end, following negotiation on behalf of CPMPs, ASHRAE came to the conclusion that to gain DOE approval a high-stakes, proctored BCxP recertification exam for renewing CPMPs would be needed.

    4. What happens if an applicant does not pass the 70-question recertification exam? Would they have additional chances to retake the test? 

      They will be able to retake the renewal exam with a 90-day wait between the initial attempt and the next application date. 

    5. Will there be a study guide or practice test materials available for the 70-question BCxP recertification exam?

      An excellent guide to preparation will be the blueprint for the recertification exam itself, which can be found in the BCxP Candidate Guidebook. The list of recommended prep materials as well may be found in the BCxP Candidate Guidebook.

    6. I noticed the number of required PDHs is changing from 45 to 50. Are the options for earning PDHs changing as well?

      The options for earning PDHs have changed slightly.  For instance, under the BCxP scheme up to 25 PDHs can be earned for participating in commissioning projects. 

    7. Why is the fee to renew as a BCxP more expensive than other ASHRAE recertification applications?

      The BCxP recertification application fee ($295 for members; $395 for non-members) includes the $100 expense to sit for the BCxP recertification exam.  CPMPs with 2019 and 2018 renewal dates who renew as BCxPs in 2017 will pay a prorated recertification application fee ($200 for members; $300 for non-members).

    8. Can I continue to display my CPMP certification as an indicator that I have taken and passed the CPMP exam and met the CPMP qualifications or will this CPMP certification now be invalid? 

      For as long as you are a certified CPMP, you can display the CPMP designation.  Those certified this year will hold their CPMP through the end of 2019.  It is anticipated that the 12 local, state and national bodies that currently recognize the CPMP likely will continue to do so.

    9. My current CPMP expires in December, 2019. Will there be an option to just renew my current CPMP?

      The purpose of recertification is to demonstrate “continuing competence.”  With ASHRAE’s adoption of the BCxP, essentially as the next iteration of its commissioning certification, CPMPs with expiration dates in 2017, 2018 and 2019 will have to demonstrate continuing competence by meeting BCxP scheme requirements, not CPMP scheme requirements.

    10. My CPMP certification expires in December, 2016, and the new BCxP won’t be offered as a computer-based test until March 1, 2017. Should I renew my CPMP? I don’t see the point of CPMP renewal if it will become obsolete one month after I renew it. What do you recommend? 

      Currently, twelve (12) national, state and local government bodies recognize the CPMP. It’s anticipated these bodies by and large will continue to recognize the CPMP and as the BCxP comes online recognize both until the CPMP phases out. ASHRAE’s move to BCxP eligibility criteria is a move both to update its commissioning certification scheme and as well to add value for CPMPs. One advantage of renewing as a CPMP this year is that you will continue to hold an ASHRAE certification in commissioning.  Then, at your convenience, you can apply to renew as a BCxP beginning in 2017. On the other hand, if you let your CPMP expire, then it initially would mean not having an ASHRAE certification in commissioning until you apply for, take and pass the 130-question BCxP certification exam. 

    11. My CPMP certification is due for renewal in December, 2016. I wanted to know if I can apply for the new BCxP exam instead of renewing my CPMP? 

      You certainly can apply for BCxP certification, instead of renewing your CPMP.  BCxP applications for the Jan. 28 and Feb. 1 pencil-and-paper exam administration at the Winter Conference in Las Vegas will be available Sept. 15. Applications for the computer-based exam should be available beginning April 1, 2017. If you pursue that path, then your ASHRAE commissioning certification will expire after Dec. 31 until which time you pass the BCxP exam. 

    12. I recently took and passed the ASHRAE CPMP exam in January of 2016. I had the understanding that the certification would be good for 3 years and was disappointed to hear that the certification will no longer be valid in early 2017. Is that true?   

      As it turns out, your CPMP is “good” for 3 years! As a CPMP certified in 2016, your deadline to recertify as a BCxP – should you decide to maintain your ASHRAE commissioning certification – is Dec. 31, 2019.  It’s anticipated that the twelve (12) national, state and local government bodies that currently recognize the CPMP by and large will continue to do so until the BCxP is phased in.  Please note that you may renew early as soon as 2017 under a prorated application fee and number of PDHs. 

  • International Examinees
    1. Why doesn’t ASHRAE translate its English certification exams into my language?

      The Certification Committee strives for consistency among all programs, offering the same certification per key, built-environment job to all applicants. At current application rates, it would not be sustainable to have multi-language certifications for the same job. Such an effort essentially would require duplicating all of the efforts made for the English program: creating and managing an Exam Subcommittee of volunteers, developing and banking exam questions, translating and maintaining updated ancillary materials such as applications, Candidate Guidebooks, web-pages, practice exams, certificates, letters, and possibly even reference materials.  

      One tremendous benefit of having one, single-language certification per key, built-environment job is that certificants, employers and colleagues all over the world know that a “BEMP,” for instance, regardless of country of origin fulfilled the same eligibility criteria as a BEMP from another part of the world.

    2. How does ASHRAE support non-native English speaker certification applicants?

      Applicants who self-declare that they are a non-native English speaker receive an additional 30 minutes of testing time to ensure they are afforded enough time to demonstrate competency. In addition, though all applicants pay the same fee, ASHRAE pays the additional $70 it costs to deliver a computer-based exam internationally. 

  • Program Governance
    1. Who serves on the Certification Committee?

      Certification Committee members are ASHRAE members who volunteer to serve three-year terms because they are passionate about the benefit and value of certification to professionals in the built environment industry.

    2. What is the role of the Certification Committee?

      The Certification Committee is responsible for developing and implementing ASHRAE Certification programs.

    3. Who is PSI Services LLC (PSI)?

      PSI Services LLC (PSI), also known as Applied Measurement Professionals, Inc. (AMP), is ASHRAE's exam development and test delivery partner. 

  • Exam Development
    1. How are the Detailed Content Outlines (DCO) for certification exams developed?

      Using a consensus-based process, ASHRAE exam development partner PSI leads Exam Subcommittees of subject matter experts in identifying the domains of critical, work-related activities in which professionals in a given job are involved. 

    2. How are test questions developed?

      PSI trains Exam Subcommittee members in the best practices of exam item development.  Once items are drafted, the item review procedure requires unanimous agreement on the acceptability of each item until test specifications have been fulfilled.

    3. How are passing scores developed?

      PSI leads Exam Subcommittees in conducting a passing point study.  The expert judgements of these SME committee are required to produce and interpret the study results and set the examination passing point.

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