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Certifications: CEI vs. NCPCCI vs. Other?

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    Certifications: CEI vs. NCPCCI vs. Other?

    I just received my P.E. (Electrical) in NY, and I'm looking to launch a new career in electrical inspection and building inspection, but also to periodically consult as an electrical engineer for some design firms. To date, I've had a 20-year career working primarily in aerospace product design (aircraft, spacecraft, etc.) and infrastructure projects (Network operations centers, subway tunnel site surveys, etc.), but I'm committed to making this career change. Aerospace in NY has some serious economic ups and downs. I want to do something in a thriving industry that gives me some control over which jobs I take and which I can pass on; my hours; and eventually maybe my own business.

    One of the firms that has agreed to work with me asked me to pursue the IAEI Certified Electrical Inspector cert. The thing is, when I look at job postings in the state of NY, I don't see anyone listing CEI as a Requirement. IAEI’s National Certification Program Construction Code Inspectors (NCPCCI) is much more widely requested. I do plan to move out of NY in a few years, but for now, NY is my focus.

    In your experience, would you recommend that the more typical path is to begin with NCPCCI and then pursue CEI at a future time, or does going straight to studying and passing CEI give me better prospects by nature of it being a more rigorous and all-encompassing certification? I welcome any insights that can be provided, but I would appreciate a bit of elaboration on the underlying reasoning to the extent possible. Thanks!

    #2
    Having a string of certification initials after your name impresses some people. And if one firm is looking for a certain set, and it doesn't cost too much, it might make that customer easy to capture.

    A lot will depend on how much money, time, and effort getting the other certifications will take.

    Does the CEI include the requirements of the NCPCCI? Or vice-versa?

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      #3
      The IAEI/CEI certification is not very popular. One reason is that you need to do a certain number and types of inspections under supervision of another inspector in addition to the exam. It's not that hard but just the hassle factor. As I recall this is a program that UL started some years back, lost interest and IAEI took it over so it wouldn't die.
      The IAEI/NCPCCI program is fairly popular with AHJ's.
      The most recognized program is the ICC E1, E2 and E3 certs with most AHJ's.
      The level of difficulty of the exams is about the same for all 3 programs. Any competent and well versed master electrician should have no difficulty in passing. As a P.E. this should be a cake walk.
      I think one disadvantage for you would be that it sounds like you have not worked in the trade. That will be a deal breaker for many AHJs as many states require journeyman or master level in addition to inspector certification as a matter of law.

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        #4
        Thanks for the thorough replies. To answer Paul Mmn's question, I do believe the CEI includes the requirements of the NCPCCI. I called IAEI, and they told me that they actually have a methodology for NCPCCI-certified individuals to transfer to CEI. (My guess is it entails what texie described... getting the additional practicum done, with a certain number/type of inspections performed under supervision.) I've also seen some old posts online that mention reciprocity between IAEI and other programs, for a fee. I don't know if that still holds true.

        I'm prepared to put in whatever time and energy is needed to gain the appropriate experience. I'm just finding it a bit difficult to find a consistent answer on what that experience entails. In the state of NY, from what I can tell, there aren't specific experience requirements for electrical inspectors needed beyond the P.E. license. Can anyone confirm that or direct me to a specific listing of requirements?

        I've yet to find a clear delineation of requirements for NY electrical inspectors, but I quote from NJ requirements below. If my interpretation is correct, it seems to delineate that someone have EITHER certain work experiences OR be a licensed Professional Engineer. Once again... I'm not looking to leapfrog the process. I just want to understand what is required. It would be great to be able to work in NY on the basis of the P.E. and put in sufficient time to have that experience gained support licensure in other jurisdictions. I'm getting the sense that ICC or NCPCCI are the more popular certifications, even if the IAEI CEI is technically more stringent. What I would want to avoid is being talked into a certain certification by one specific firm only to find out that it's not universally accepted, or that my lack of experience would keep me from being able to work in the field entirely, regardless of certification.

        Thanks again for sharing your insights.

        ---
        From NJ Division of Codes and Standards (2015):
        Licensure Requirements for the Electrical Inspector-ICS license
        a) Experience: 1. Five years of experience in construction, design or supervision as a journeyman in a skilled trade currently regulated by the electrical subcode; or 2. Five years of experience as a construction contractor in a field of construction currently regulated by the electrical subcode; or 3. Five years of experience as an Electrical Inspector. Note: The above three categories of experience may be combined to add up to the required total of five years; or 4. Possession of an associate's degree from an accredited institution of higher education, in code enforcement, and two years of subsequent experience in the construction, design, inspection or supervision of construction work currently regulated by the electrical subcode; or 5. Graduation from an accredited institution of higher education with a bachelor's degree in architecture or architectural technology, or in engineering or engineering technology, or in any other major area of study significantly related to building construction, and one year of subsequent experience in the construction, design, inspection or supervision of construction work currently regulated by the electrical subcode; or 6. Possession of a current New Jersey license to practice as an architect or engineer at the time of application.

        b) Education: Successful completion of the Electrical Inspector-ICS approved course. NOTE: See Section III, # 7, and also, the exception to this requirement, at the top of page 8.
        c) Test: Successful completion of test modules 2A and 2B of the NCPCCI examinations or ICC examinations E1 and E2.
        ...
        <pg. 8> Exception to the Educational requirement for the Electrical Inspector Licenses Persons possessing a bachelor's degree in architecture or architectural technology, or in engineering or engineering technology, or in any other major area of study directly related to building construction, or who possess a current New Jersey license/registration to practice as an engineer/architect are exempted from the educational program requirements for the Electrical Inspector-ICS and HHS licenses.

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