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How Do I Become Certified?
To become certified by the Department of Labor & Industry, prospective code officials and inspectors must pass the certification examination for that specific discipline (building, plumbing, mechanical, etc.) and submit an application to Labor and Industry for certification. The Department’s Standard Application for Certification is available for downloading at the Department’s website.
To maintain certification, code officials must log 15 credit hours of continuing education per certification to a maximum of 45 credits within each three-year period, or pass another certification examination in a different category within that same three-year period.
What are the Different Certification Categories?
The Building Code Official certification is the only administrative certification required by the Department of Labor & Industry, and is designed for the person who will manage the overall code enforcement program for a municipality or third-party agency. For specific information about the examination and certification process, please see the course description for the Building Code Official Certification Academy.
The commercial categories comprise 12 national certification exams: accessibility, building inspection, building plan review, fire protection, electrical, electrical plan review, energy, energy plan review, mechanical installation, mechanical plan review, plumbing, and plumbing plan review. For more information about each category, please see the Training & Certification – Certification Categories.
The residential categories comprise five national certification exams: building, electrical, energy, mechanical, and plumbing. An inspector passing all five of the residential certification exams may perform all of the necessary inspections for one- or two-family dwellings. For more information about each category, please see the Training & Certification – Certification Categories.
What is Certification Reciprocity?
For those with more experience in commercial construction or in a specific trade (such as electrical work), certification reciprocity allows those certified as commercial inspectors to perform residential inspections. For example, a commercial plumbing inspector may also perform residential plumbing inspections. The certification category must match from commercial to residential.
Certification reciprocity does not transfer from residential categories to commercial, however. For example, a residential mechanical inspector may not perform commercial mechanical inspections or mechanical plans review.
There is no separate certification required for the residential disciplines; those certified as residential inspectors may also perform plans review for those particular disciplines.
Who Administers the Certification Exams?
Two national organizations administer testing recognized by the state Department of Labor and Industry: The International Code Council, which administers both a paper-and-pencil and a computer-based examination; and Prometrics, which administers a computer-based testing program on behalf of the National Certification Program for Construction Code Inspectors (NCPCCI).
The International Code Council also offers paper-and-pencil examinations typically on the second Saturday of every other month at the following locations: Meadville, Williamsport, and Bethlehem. There are specific registration deadlines for signing up for an exam, usually about 40 days prior to the date of the test.
ICC’s Birmingham, Alabama, office is responsible for all paper-and-pencil exam registrations. To register for a paper-and-pencil exam, contact their office at (866) 422-7233 ext. 5524 or visit their website at www.iccsafe.org.
Pearson VUE administers the ICC exams in computer-based form. Pearson VUE has testing sites at the following locations: Allentown, Bala Cynwyd, Erie, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, and Scranton. To register for a computer-based exam with Pearson VUE, contact their office at (800) 275-8301 or register online at www.pearsonvue.com/icc.
Prometrics offers certification examinations separately from the International Code Council; although the content is generally the same, the titles of the examinations are different. Prometrics' computer-based exams are available at the following locations: Allentown, Clarks Summit, Erie, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Monroeville, North Wales, Pittsburgh, and York. To register for a Prometrics exam, contact them at (800) 864-5309 or register online at www.prometric.com.
How Do I Know Which Exams To Take?
A construction code official may attain certification in residential categories, commercial categories, or both. Those who attain commercial certification are also granted reciprocity in residential certification categories. The following tables illustrate which exams are offered by whom and the certification categories to which they belong.
Pearson VUE offers the following exams:
Examination # and Name:
|Residential Building Inspector||B1 Residential Building Inspector|
|Residential Electrical Inspector||E1 Residential Electrical Inspector|
|Residential Mechanical Inspector||M1 Residential Mechanical Inspector|
|Residential Plumbing Inspector||P1 Residential Plumbing Inspector|
|Residential Energy Inspector||79 Residential Energy Plans Examiner/ Inspector|
|Building Inspector||B2 Commercial Building Inspector|
|Fire Inspector||66 Fire Inspector 1 OR 67 Fire Inspector 2|
|Electrical Inspector||E2 Commercial Electrical Inspector|
|Mechanical Inspector||M2 Commercial Mechanical Inspector|
|Plumbing Inspector||P2 Commercial Plumbing Inspector|
|Energy Inspector||77 Commercial Energy Inspector OR CE Commercial Energy Inspector/Plans Examiner w/ASHRAE 90.1|
|Accessibility Inspector/Plans Examiner||21 Accessibility Inspector/Plans Examiner|
|Building Plans Examiner||B2 Commercial Building Inspector and B3 Building Plans Examiner|
|Electrical Plans Examiner||E2 Commercial Electrical Inspector and E3 Electrical Plans Examiner|
|Mechanical Plans Examiner||M2 Commercial Mechanical Inspector and M3 Mechanical Plans Examiner|
|Plumbing Plans Examiner||P2 Commercial Plumbing Inspector and P3 Plumbing Plans Examiner|
|Energy Plans Examiner||78 Commercial Energy Plans Examiner OR CE Commercial Energy Inspector/Plans Examiner w/ASHRAE 90.1|
Prometric offers the following exams:
|Certification Category:||Examination # and Name:|
|Residential Building Inspector||1A Building 1&2 Family Dwelling|
|Residential Electrical Inspector||2A Electrical 1&2 Family Dwelling|
|Residential Mechanical Inspector||4A Mechanical 1&2 Family Dwelling|
|Residential Plumbing Inspector||5A Plumbing 1&2 Family Dwelling|
1B Building General 3B Fire Protection General
|Electrical Inspector||2B Electrical General|
|Mechanical Inspector||4B Mechanical General|
|Plumbing Inspector||5B Plumbing General|
|Building Plans Examiner||1B Building General 1C Building Plan Review 3B Fire Protection General 3C Fire Protection Plan Review|
|Electrical Plans Examiner||2B Electrical General 2C Electrical Plan Review|
|Mechanical Plans Examiner||4B Mechanical General 4C Mechanical Plan Review|
|Plumbing Plans Examiner||5B Plumbing General 5C Plumbing Plan Review|
State Administered Exams
|Building Code Official (BCO)||BCO Certification Examination||Pennsylvania Construction Codes Academy|
|Elevator Inspector||Qualified Elevator Inspector Test (or equivalent)||Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry|
What Books Do I Need for My Exams?
Different code references are required for different disciplines. For a complete list of required references, see the International Code Council’s Candidate Bulletin for Code Professionals; you can download a copy at www.iccsafe.org.
How Do I Get My Exam Results?
Written exam test-takers are notified by mail four to six weeks after their examination date. Those who take computer-based exams receive their results immediately upon exam completion.
Remember: Passing an exam does not automatically certify you to perform inspections or plans review. Be sure to submit an application with those results to the Department of Labor & Industry for state certification.
How do I renew my certification?
Once you have obtained the required number of continuing education credits (or passed a new exam) you must submit a Certification Renewal Application with the Department of Labor and Industry. See the following booklet for detailed instructions.