Introducing Electrical Code Academy's Certified Master Electrical Code Professional® (CMECP®) program and the differences in licensing versus certification.
The term certification is often used as a catch-all term for several different activities that apply to the credentialing of individuals and institutions in the electrical profession. The lack of clarity in this definition has resulted in confusion when it comes to discussing credentials.
Certification is essentially the process of publicly attesting that a specified quality or standard has been achieved or exceeded. We see this in an informal way all around us nearly every day. For example, when a product has the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, it means that the item has been attested to meet the standard set for it. Whenever we make a recommendation or referral to a colleague or client we are informally certifying the competence of the person or the quality of the item being recommended.
Professional certification uses a formal process to identify and acknowledge individuals who have met a recognized standard, such as the Certified Master Electrical Code Professional® program. Usually this standard includes education, experience, and an exam of knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to obtain the professional designation. When an individual meets the standard, he or she receives certification from a certifying agency, such as the Electrical Code Academy, Inc. CMECP® Advisory Board. Generally, this standard involves the qualification requirements to take the exam, whether the exam meets accepted standards for exam development, how the exam is given and scored, how the agency is administered, and whether its rules are fair.
Professional certification is a voluntary process by which a non-governmental professional organization grants recognition to an individual who has met certain strict qualifications. It is a credential which attests that the individual has demonstrated a certain level of mastery of a specific body of knowledge and skills within the relevant field of practice, such as the National Electrical Code®. Certification should not be confused with either licensing or accreditation. While each involves some type of evaluation and the awarding of some type of credential, they are quite different from one another and the terms should not be used interchangeably.
Licensing is a non-voluntary process by which an agency of government regulates a profession. It grants permission to an individual to engage in an occupation if it finds that the applicant has attained the degree of competency required to ensure the public health, safety, and welfare will be reasonably protected. Licensing it always based on the action of a legislative body. Once a licensing law has been passed it becomes illegal for anyone to engage in that occupation unless he or she has a license. The CMECP® designation is not a license but a certification and should not be construed as licensing.
Certification differs from licensing in that it is nearly always offered by a private, non-governmental agency or corporation. Such agencies or corporations create certifying agencies to identify and acknowledge those who have met a specific standard of excellence. Another contrast with licensure is that, under a licensing law, practitioners of the licensed occupation must have a license in order to practice. It is involuntary. On the other hand, certification is 100% voluntary. One does not have to be certified in order to practice. An individual takes the certification exam because they want to enjoy the benefits of certification. However, to use the title and initials copyrighted and associated with the professional certification, one must be certified.
Accreditation is a non-governmental, voluntary process that evaluates institutions, agencies, and educational programs, (i.e., institutions that grant certificates or diplomas) while certification and licensing involves individual practitioners. Accreditation is defined as the process whereby an agency or association grants public recognition to a school, institute, college, university, or specialized program of study for having met certain established qualifications or standards as determined through initial and periodic evaluations that usually involve submitting a self-evaluation report, site inspection by a team of experts, and evaluation by an independent board or commission.
The Certified Master Electrical Code Professional® [CMECP®] certification was founded by Electrical Code Academy, Inc., a Texas Corporation, to facilitate a higher degree of professionalism and code of ethics to the master electrical code professional. The overall goals of the certification program is to help foster and acknowledge an advanced level of knowledge, training and commitment to the understanding, development, interpretation and implementation of the National Electrical Code® by licensed Master Electricians.
The certification process for becoming a CMECP® is a rigorous journey. The candidate must pass (1) prerequisite course on Electrical Exam Prep Review in order to solidify their understanding of the National Electrical Code® and (1) prerequisite continuing education course for the state where their Master Electrician license is registered. Once completed the candidate is required to attend a 6 hour "Navigating The NEC" webinar where they will learn all the in's and out's of the National Electrical Code® by current and former NFPA70® (NEC®) Code Making Panel members. Upon completion of the mandatory webinar the candidate will be required to take a written exam with a passing score of 80%.
Candidates that make it to the last stage of the certification process will be invited to a video conference call attended by 5 members of the CMECP® Candidate Review Board. Each member of the review board will ask the candidate a National Electrical Code® question to which the candidate must respond, this is an open book interview. If the question is answered to the satisfaction of the board member the candidate will move to the next member of the board for a subsequent question. The candidate will only need to satisfy 2/3rd of the panel to compete the final phase and earn the designation of CMECP®.
In conclusion, The CMECP® program is the only one of it's kind dedicated to the National Electrical Code® and Master Electricians. The unique 5-step approval process will without a doubt be the hardest approval process any Master Electrician will ever face. The Master Electrician who earns the designation of CMECP® can hold their head up high with pride knowing that they are part of a unique group of professional Master Electricians who took their game to the next level and became a true Certified Master Electrical Code Professional®.
For more information on the CMECP® program please visit www.MasterTheNEC.com
Paul W Abernathy, CMI, CMECP®
NEC®, NFPA®, NFPA70®, National Electrical Code® are all registered trademarks of the National Fire Protection Association. These terms are used for educational purposes only and in no way imply that Electrical Code Academy, Inc. or the CMECP® program is part of or affiliated with or endorsed by the NFPA.