There’s a lot to know when it comes to being an energy advisor. When Natural Resources Minister Seamus O'Regan made the Greener Homes Initiative announcement back in May, he mentioned that a person already in the industry could get trained in a week. While that’s technically true, it’s not real life! There’s a learning process that goes along with the training.
This is the second article in a series on the business of being an EA, giving a better idea of what it will take to become an energy advisor.
Is there a Fast Track for Energy Advisors?
Not really. Becoming an EA is a three to six month process for most Service Organizations (who oversee file submissions to NRCan). There’s also a two-step exam process before you can get out in the field.
The Foundation Exam tests your understanding of the residential construction and renovation industry, math skills, plans reading skills, and understanding of building science.
The Energy Advisor (HOUSE) Exam tests your understanding of the EnerGuide for Houses Rating Service, the technical requirements of the role of the EA for both new construction and existing houses, administration and quality assurance protocols. You can’t take the Energy Advisor Exam without passing the Foundation Exam.
You don’t have to do any training for the Foundation Exam - you can challenge it if you’ve got a strong industry background, but you cannot challenge the Energy Advisor Exam. Classroom-based training or preparation for both exams can range from 5 to 10 days. If you’re taking our on-demand exam prep, we recommend that you allow a month to get through the Foundation level materials and at least six weeks to get through the Energy Advisor (House) materials. There’s a lot to know in order to pass both exams.
After passing both exams, you’re a candidate EA, and now you have to complete a minimum of 5 probationary files to become a registered EA. Some Service Organizations require a larger number of files with oversight from a senior EA before you’re allowed out in the wild by yourself.
What Does it Cost for Training?
Rates for classroom and virtual classroom training vary. You can expect to pay anywhere from $1,500 to $3,400 for a Foundation and Energy Advisor Exam Prep package. The wide range is because there is no single curriculum for training organizations to follow. Some offer fewer options than others, some offer a menu of training services, some offer a full meal deal. Blue House Energy’s on-demand courses come in somewhere in the middle: $2,140 for both exam prep programs in a bundle.
Carla Harder can answer all of your questions BHE on-demand Foundation and Energy Advisor Exam Prep!
Get in touch with her using this form:
Consider that you’ll need a few weeks to do the training, study, and pass one exam and then train, study, and pass the other. And then you need to be affiliated with a Service Organization so you can do your probationary files and get out into the field.
After Training, Then What?
Unless your Service Organization supplies equipment, you’ll need to bring your own. The biggest piece of gear you’ll need, both physically and financially, is a blower door unit. That can cost upwards of $5,000.
Infrared camera: $1,500 - $5,000 (depending on if you want to take training and add thermal imaging to your service offering)
Tablet/ iPad: $500 - $1,000
Ladder, trouble lights, extension cords, tarps, tools: $1,000
Insurance for site work: $2,500
A working car: priceless
So with training and gear, your investment looks like $10,000 to $20,000, depending on what you already own, what quality IR camera and tablet/ iPad you go for.
It’s a fair chunk of money.
How To Make it Easier to Become an Energy Advisor
Coming up with funds for training and specialized equipment before you have income from the actual job is a huge challenge. Blue House Energy offers a financing program for the training, but the equipment is something we don’t offer.
Happily, Blue House Energy has teamed up with EATools, out of London, Ontario. EATools offers financing for a Retrotec blower door + our training as a package! Buy through them and get the same excellent technical support as all Blue House Energy learners. Spending money is always a challenge, but at least now it’s not an insurmountable obstacle.