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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 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 National Accreditation Board (ANAB) accreditation mean?

      ASHRAE's Building Commissioning Professional (BCxP), Building Energy Assessment Professional (BEAP), Building Energy Modeling Professional (BEMP), Certified HVAC Designer (CHD), High-Performance Building Design Professional (HBDP), Healthcare Facility Design Professional (HFDP), and Operations & Performance Management (OPMP) certification programs are all accredited by ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB) 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 7 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 1,000 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 instructions 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 and skills, as identified by the Exam Subcommittee for each program. These tasks can be found in the detailed content outline (DCO) in Appendix A of 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” prior to submitting your application. Please note that approximately 10 business 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 and skills, 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.
      • The BCxP, BEMP and CHD programs are supported by Study Guides, which feature an exam-length Practice Exam, Quick Quiz questions, and Exam task-by-task self-assessment linked to ASHRAE resources.
      • 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
      BEAP – 68/100
      BEMP – 67/100
      CHD – 70/100
      HBDP – 63/100
      HFDP – 75/100

      Exam Pass Rate: Life-to-Date through 9/2021

      BCxP – 74%
      BEAP – 75%
      BEMP – 62%
      CHD – 49%
      HBDP – 58%
      HFDP – 79%

    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. 

  • Chapter Exam Administration

    1.Our chapter would like to organize a discounted Certification exam administration.  How does that work?

    It’s actually pretty straightforward!  Just follow these simple steps:  

    1. Notify Certification staff at at least 90 days ahead of time.  ASHRAE is able to administer pencil-and-paper and/or computer-based exams in most cities and countries around the world.  Certification staff will confirm if an exam administration may be organized in your location.
    2. The Chapter must recruit at least 15 Members to sit for an ASHRAE certification exam and collect the Members’ certification application payments.  Members may declare for any of ASHRAE’s seven certifications.  In this case, Members pay just USD $345, which is $50 less than the regular Member fee of $395.  All told, Members receive a USD $200 discount off of the Non-Member fee of $545, which is a 37% discount.
    3. Once the application payments have been collected, email Certification staff the names, emails, and desired certifications of your Chapter’s 15 Certification recruits.  
    4. Certification staff will email your point-of-contact an invoice with instructions for wiring the application fee total to ASHRAE (e.g. 15 x $345 = $5,175).
    5. Once the application fee total has been received, Certification staff will contact your Chapter’s Certification recruits and invite them to submit an application.

    2. How can our chapter send the certification application fees to ASHRAE?

    Every month ASHRAE works with regions and chapters to move funds back-and-forth. The most common way would be for your chapter to send the money to your Region by wire transfer via the SWIFT international payment network. The money then would be sent from the Region to ASHRAE HQ – bank-to-bank - via electronic funds transfer (EFT).

    3. What are the benefits to a Chapter of organizing a Certification exam administration?

    Organizing an ASHRAE Certification exam administration confers quite a few benefits!

    • Earn 100 PAOE points for each Member who passes their exam and earns an ASHRAE certification.
    • Increase participation at Chapter education events.  Certificants need 30-50 PDHs every 3 years for recertification.
    • Grow membership. Non-member recruits will want to join in order to receive the $200 Member discount on certification application.
    • Enhance the sense of community and spirit of achievement and excellence.
  • 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).

  • 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.