I'm curious about why training and certification in our industry is so expensive. If everyone was getting grants, I could see how $1600 for a few days of training might be a doable proposition or if the market was more robust and the earning potential, without being allied with a Ulitility program, great.  But grants are few, our industry is new and not understood and the utility programs are open only to a select few. My wife is a certified Occupational Therapy Assistant and her costs for training and certification are typically 1/3 or 1/4 of mine. How is our price structure justified?

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Hi Andrew, It's not. At the start there was a rush to create 10,000 auditors in two weeks, (I'm exaggerating), we needed to "SAVE ENERGY" at all cost, and if the process created extra jobs, training, certification, verification, 1,000 different software packages, a hundred different standards, all the better, it put more people to work and distributed the flood of government money that followed.

Aha, but times have changed. There is no more extra money and we MUST stop printing it. We have stumbled into a windfall of abundant energy, who would have ever guessed (seriously). We have achieved our goal of more auditors than we need. If we sorted out all of the codes and certifications, I would bet we could find ONE standard and one certification that would be more than sufficient and recertifying for the inevitable improvements wouldn't require repeating the entire process every three years.

We have slid into a tar pit where the people making the rules must keep coming up with new rules to justify their jobs. When can you envision someone standing up and saying Hurray! we now have everything we need it for the next 20 years? The path we are currently following will only reach that moment after all of the funds have disappeared and that will only be due to a lack of money and not some logical conclusion that we have sharpened our pencil down to the eraser and it is time to stop.


I was trained in late 70' "to save energy" when Jimmy Carter was pres.  Then when the change at top happen all funds dried up, in just 6 weeks all ended.   We trained some 4560 people in past 5 years and just 5% are in the trade now,  Most did not have back ground or drivers lic.  Lots could not pass back ground cheack. 

National cost per day for many types of trainings run between $250.00 to $300.00 per day. Here in NYC that $1,600.00 includes $750.00 in certification exam fees. Pretty good deal considering the cost of living here.

As an instructor for Building Science Thermography classes, I fully understand the cost involved in providing competent training and can attest that $1600 does not cover much if a minimal number of students attend. I've spent a decade working on course material, attending courses, workshops, field experience..., just to become a competent instructor. What you may be seeing for you wife are courses with 20 or so students, which can and should support lower fees per student. 
We will lower per student fee when a venue can guarantee a good turnout, providing incentive to signup a large number of staff, colleagues or contacts from a group at lowered rates.
I feel for all those who must attend multiple training courses to become certified. Though it does come back to how can you claim competency without that extra "certification". It's difficult even with my credentials to provide proof of competency with some services or organizations that require specific certifications that I do not have. 

I look at a 32 hour class of 10 individuals at $1600. Thats $16,000 for less than one week of instruction. A full class for several of our class trainings. More students, more money. Scott, how does that $16,000 get broken up? Once the training material is created, the classroom constructed or rented, the students fed, the teacher paid, how can $16,000 be spent over the course of 4 days without a massive profit margin for someone?

First off, there is nothing wrong with profit & it is needed by everyone including your business to not only survive but to grow

With that - $7500 fees (going with BPI numbers stated earlier) / $8550

Where was this being held - lets be nice & say $500 a day for food & hosting - $2000 / $6500 (sure some can be cheaper...)

Instructor - what's a "fair" rate? shoot lets go cheep & say $400 a day - $1600 / $4900

Oh wait he isn't from around here, so travel & room - $1400 / $3500 (Maybe he is, sweet that saves some)

Producing books, shoot let's treat it like a text book where they make up for time & effort in  cost - 10 @ ? 50/75/100 --- lets split it $ 750 - $2750

Now those are just hard costs, how about all the behind the scenes costs aka Overhead for office staff, web site fees, marketing, phones, electric... if they are lucky they might still have a few bucks left to bank away, but most are racing to attract & they feel that is based on $ charged & test results so I don't see that much profit left 

Yes, clearly as Sean outlined, actual cost for providing classes are high and usually not realized by most. He has listed out many of the costs involved. Not considered is the instructors time; traveling, getting the course materials ready, planning the class, correcting tests, evaluating course work, following up on questions... A good instructor requires a tremendous amount of time to provide a good class. That time is not available for paid work, such as field investigations, consulting or other business I need to keep afloat. It would be great if the bottom line were as simple as subtracting the venue fees and incidentals, then dividing the price per student for profit. 

Andrew, I too have paid for many classes some much more then the $400 per day. Costly, maybe, but usually well spent for necessary education from the experts.
It would be nice if my tax dollars or a large corporation's profits were put back into my classes so I too could reduce the fees I charge. It would be scary to think where we all would be without education that always comes with a price tag, hidden or not.

Another problem is many conventional schools/colleges get huge subsidies from the government. If they brought building science to the local community college class cost would drop dramatically. Certifications and other government regulations don't help keep costs down either.

Building science, insulation, and HVAC contractors need to start working as a team. Builders could hire one company to handle the design, insulation, air sealing, and the installation of all of the above. It would start in custom homes and commercial buildings, then efficient building practices would trickle down to spec homes and remodels.

Hi Andrew, I understand your concern. At NYSWDA's training center our trainings on average are $200.00 per day so a 5 day course such as BPI Building Analyst is 1000.00 plus testing fees. We feel that this price is reasonable and affordable in light of the current economic conditions.

last 4 yr we trained some 1500 mostly BPI and base WX sealing and attic/wall.   less than 5% are still doing BPI / field work or support.  When I was going to air port the cab driver took the 6 week training  and 6 week field work all for wages when the cash ran out went back driving for more $/hr.   I wish more support was done after the training 6 mo or so - then may be 20% would have stayed / better pay is a must.   Still more training is a must.   If you are paid just $10 hr its hard to pay $1000 for a week.   We did both night 6-10pm  8 to 12 AM and put out a lot of kids in the field but the work was not there.   With funds running out I see less done.    We need to put more time selling comfort and less on pay back/ROI and work  with other fields.  


The way I see it, the average wage of an Energy Auditor does not justify the class prices, even if the teacher's salaries and the surplus for the certification agencies give no flexibility. If a person can stick it out, great. Then the next step is educating the public and creating value that lifts the average wage of the auditor out of the $30k's where it is now.



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