The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) recently notified training providers that its Entry Level Program will be undergoing some changes next month. The program will now be called the Associate Program, and continuing education will be required to maintain the credential.

Here are the specifics:

1) Effective August 15th, 2016, the NABCEP Entry Level Program will become the NABCEP Associate Program. That means the Photovoltaic (PV), Solar Heating, and Small Wind Entry Level credentials will now be referred to as PV Associate, Solar Heating Associate, and Small Wind Associate.

2) The exams for each of these credentials will cover the same content, but the exam fee will increase to $150.

3) The Associate credential will require recertification every 3 years (similar to the more advanced PV Installation Professional certification) and will also require 12 hours of continuing education. Here’s the exact language from NABCEP:

Programmatically, the biggest change with the launching of the Associate Program is that maintaining the NABCEP Associate credential will require recertification every 3 years. Associates will be responsible for logging into their account at and uploading course completion documents to verify 12 hours of Continuing Education before their expiration date – 3 years from their original exam date. NABCEP will accept a wide range of continuing education basic and advanced courses obtained from accredited or non-accredited institutions. Course work must relate to the Associate’s technology (PV, Solar Heating, or Small Wind) and attendance must be documented with an official course completion document.

4) Anyone who currently has an Entry Level credential will be able to upgrade to the Associate credential by filling out a form and paying a $25 upgrade fee.

5) Any questions about these changes should be directed to NABCEP.

If you have taken the Entry Level Exam already, you’ll probably want to upgrade to the PV Associate credential, which will cost $25 and require a form. If you plan to take the Entry Level Exam in the next several weeks, you’ll pay the lower fee ($120), but you’ll eventually want to upgrade, which will cost you $25, so, it will basically be the same.