Is it time to recertify?
With busy work schedules, family life and other activities sometimes earning your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points can be the last thing on your mind. NICET’s customer service representatives receive frantic phone calls every day from technicians who are expired or are about to expire. This article is a guide on how to simplify the recertification process so you can avoid the last minute scramble and get back to more important things.
NICET certification holders are required to recertify every three years. In addition to the renewal fee, certificants must attain and document 90 CPD points for each certification subfield area held during the three-year period. Certificants who hold more than one subfield specialty must document 90 CPD points for each subfield. While this might initially seem daunting, once the five categories are broken down, it becomes clear that it is quite achievable for technicians continuing careers in their certification specialty.
NICET mails and e-mails recertification applications and invoices starting six months prior to the expiration date. While the notices do contain information and instructions on recertification requirements, it is never too early to start accumulating and documenting points. The following is a summary of the categories with some practical examples of CPD activity to assist with the recertification process.
NICET Certification Activity
Earning a higher level is worth the total points (90) needed to meet the recertification requirement. Certificants may claim CPD points for Certification Activity during the three-year certification period by meeting an exam requirement, upgrading to a higher level, and earning a certification in a related practice area. NICET accepts points earned this way because earning a higher level or related certification demonstrates increased knowledge, experience and performance. Candidates may claim 45 CPD points for meeting a higher-level testing requirement and 30 CPD points for adding a related subfield certification.
Active Practitioner is the category where most people claim a significant portion of their points. By NICET’s definition, an active practitioner is someone whose job requires them to routinely perform the associated technical tasks of the certification practice area(s), either as a hands-on practitioner, an immediate supervisor, or a technical project manager. Someone continuing to work full-time can claim up to 72 CPD points in this category. A maximum of 24 points can be claimed in this category per year.
It is acceptable for a candidate to claim 72 Active Practitioner points in multiple subfields, as long as he or she works full-time and continues to perform tasks related to each subfield, regardless of the percentages. For example, technicians holding both the NICET Water-Based Systems Layout and the Inspection & Testing of Water-Based Systems certifications may claim 72 points for each subfield, as long as they continue to work full-time and perform tasks related to both subfields.
NICET believes training is vital to maintaining a qualified workforce. NICET also understands that each person and company has varying training needs. To allow flexibility and variety, any training that advances skills and knowledge for the certification technical area is accepted for the Additional Education category. Occasionally, this approach has confused certificants and training providers alike. NICET’s website describes it this way, “Additional Education includes efforts to advance, broaden, and enhance your technical knowledge and job skills. NICET will not pre-approve training efforts; you must ensure that your Additional Education activities have served to increase your knowledge instead of merely reviewing it.”
Thus, the certificant is responsible for attending training that is relevant to the certification area. This training can include sessions at schools, specialty training providers, industry associations, places of employment, and even manufacturer’s representatives. Also accepted in this category are safety and first aid training.
Some training providers issue Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to students completing their courses. Typically, the training provider provides a certificate of training that includes CEU documentation. To convert the CEU credit to NICET CPD points, multiply the CEUs by 10. However, most training does not award CEUs. If no CEUs are awarded, then simply count one CPD point per hour of instruction.
Documentation for training courses and seminars must include the following:
A maximum of 72 CPD points may be claimed in this category.
This category is about giving back to your industry. Not only can it be rewarding, educational, and fun, but it can also lead to numerous opportunities. Many NICET-certified technicians are involved in giving back through codes and standards committees, industry associations, NICET program development, and even “career day” activities that promote the industry to the next generation.
If you are not yet involved we encourage you give it a try. For example, we need technicians to write questions for the NICET exams. Send the NICET development team an e-mail (email@example.com) and volunteer. You will network with your peers from across the country, talk shop, and earn CPD points. Activities such as membership in a professional society and attending meetings can earn 18 CPD points. Adding that to the 72 points for full-time active practitioners equals the 90 required for recertification. Points may be counted for volunteer activity and for-hire work. The Recertification section of the NICET website features a table that lists all the categories and CPD point values. A maximum of 45 CPD points may be claimed in this category.
If you have not yet earned 90 CPD points in the other categories, NICET awards 60 CPD points for passing a recertification exam. For all Fire Protection subfields, this means meeting the testing requirement for the subfield and level currently held by the technician. All levels of Inspection and Testing of Water-Based Systems and the Level III Water-Based Systems Layout program have more than one exam that must be passed to meet the requirement.
To earn points through a recertification exam, it is vital to choose a test date well in advance of the certification expiration date. A maximum of 45 CPD points may be claimed in this category.
A detailed look at all the categories, a form to document CPD points, and a link to the Policy 30: Continuing Professional Development can all be found by either clicking the “Renew Your Certification” tab at www.nicet.org or going directly to http://www.nicet.org/recertify/. Always check the NICET website for the most up-to-date CPD point criteria and policy information.
If you have additional questions about recertification, contact NICET either by phone at (888) 476-4238 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.