IAEI Re-certification of Electrical Inspectors

The IAEI has participated in inspector certification programs for several years and is pleased to see a growing interest in certification by code enforcing organizations and electrical inspectors. Electrical inspectors in both Canada and the United states have become certified through programs developed and administered in each respective country. The goal is for all electrical inspectors to be certified.

This editorial will focus primarily on electrical inspector certification and recertification in the United States for the purpose of covering proposed changes that will affect the IAEI program in the US. Many inspection jurisdictions have progressed to the point of requiring proof of certification as an inspector before one is permitted to perform the duties of an inspector. Certification through a professionally developed examination process is an important tool in demonstrating an individual’s knowledge in those areas covered in the testing. Credit should be given to those individuals who have taken the required examinations because of their desire to better themselves. Those who have taken the certification exams because their employers recommend or require it should also be commended for successfully achieving certification. The general public certainly benefits from electrical inspector certification programs that effectively determine an applicant’s level of knowledge and ability.

Achieving an electrical inspector certification is certainly an accomplishment in which one can take pride. However, becoming certified is only one of many steps needed to adequately fill the role of a professional electrical inspector. Inspectors who become certified can’t afford to be satisfied with just that achievement. The demand to continue learning in order to keep up with the industry is too great for one to neglect opportunities to gain that knowledge. The IAEI provides many opportunities for certified electrical inspectors to continue their education. While electrical inspector certification has been promoted by the IAEI, training programs made available, and continuing education units (CEUs) awarded for training, those holding inspector certifications have not been required by the IAEI to be re-certified. The IAEI does recognize that recertification of inspectors is an important part of an effective certification program and is taking steps to fully develop and administer a re-certification program as authorized by the bylaws.

The IAEI Education Committee recommended that changes be made in the IAEI bylaws covering the inspector re-certification program and that the necessary steps be taken to properly implement the program. The proposed changes and recommendations were approved by the Board of Directors during its November 1999 meeting. Section 820(A) of the IAEI Bylaws states “The IAEI shall establish and maintain an inspector re-certification program to effectively measure the level of competency being maintained by those holding IAEI inspector certification(s).” That provision is expected to be implemented this year.

Those who hold one or more IAEI certifications in the classifications of Electrical General, Electrical 1 & 2 Family Dwelling, or Electrical Plan Review will need to re-certify within a three year period. The methods of obtaining the necessary re-certification include passing an approved written examination, obtaining not less than 2.4 CEUs of approved training, or a combination of those two methods. Of the total training, 0.8 CEU is to be in electrical code changes. Continuing education units are awarded on the basis of 0.1 CEU for each hour of approve training. As an example, 0.8 CEU is issued for participation in an 8-hour seminar on the Analysis of the NEC. Individuals who let their certification lapse for more than one year beyond the renewal date will be required to retest to regain their certification. Individuals holding inspector certification according to IAEI records will be notified as to the re-certification program and will be provided with details on what is needed to maintain their certification.

The IAEI is a strong supporter of electrical inspector certification and encourages all inspectors who have not already achieved that status to do so. Being an electrical inspector carries serious responsibility with it. The better trained an inspector is, the better that person can do his or her job. Certification not only gives the electrical inspector a feeling of accomplishment, it also proves to others that a certain level of knowledge has been demonstrated. The educational program offered by the IAEI is intended to provide a source of training that inspectors, potential inspectors, electricians, and others can rely on to help expand their knowledge. The IAEI is working as fast and effectively as it can to develop new educational material and to improve on existing products to aid people within the industry. It is believed that the educational program will be an asset to those needing to prepare for certification and to those who wish to maintain that certification. It is difficult for others to legitimately criticize an electrical inspector who has a well-rounded knowledge of electrical codes, standards, wiring methods, electrical products, and the electrical system in general and who performs his or her job in a professional manner.

Philip Cox
Former IAEI Executive Director, CEO, and Editor-in-Chief for the IAEI News, Philip Cox was formerly employed with the National Electrical Manufacturers Association as a field representative covering a 17-state area. He is a member of NFPA NEC Technical Correlating Committee. He served on Code-Making Panel No. 6, representing IAEI during the Code cycles for the 1984 and 1987 editions of the NEC. He served as chairman of CMP-1, representing the National Electrical Manufacturers Association during the 1996 cycle. He served as acting chairman of CMP-1, representing IAEI for the 1999 cycle and remains as a member of that panel for the 2002 Code cycle. He is a member of NFPA Electrical Section; UL Electrical Council; ITS Technical Advisory Council; and former member of The Chauncey Group International Board of Governors for the National Certification Program for Construction Code Inspectors; and former member of the IEC United States National Committee Executive Committee. He also served as chief electrical inspector for the city of Little Rock, Arkansas, and was secretary to the Little Rock Electrical Examining Board, developing and administering examinations for master, journeyman and specialty electricians. He was appointed as electrical safety coordinator for the Arkansas Department of Labor and administered the Arkansas state electrical licensing law. Cox is past president of the Western Section, IAEI, and served on the IAEI Board of Directors as board member and fifth vice president. He has been involved in the development and presentation of IAEI training programs on both chapter and international level.