Once you have passed a certification exam, you are in. You never have to take the class again and pass the exam to get your certification. All that is required to maintain your certification is the collection of continuing education credits. These credits can be obtained from several sources. First, you can attend an industry trade show, such as an association event in your area. Just by meeting with vendors and fellow cleaners or restorers, the IICRC feels that you can receive enough information about new things. You may also attend one of several trade seminars at various industry events. Numerous university classes available through local outlets may qualify. Check before you begin these “outside the industry” classes by calling IICRC headquarters to see if they qualify. The latest CEC opportunity is available over the Internet, with at least two training courses available that have already qualified for continuing education credits.
There are so many ways to receive these credits without attending the actual certification class again. Of course, you can still retake a class to receive your credits. You will possibly pick up additional information that will make your attendance worthwhile at the same time that you update your educational arsenal. Keep in mind, however, that you are responsible for informing the IICRC of your attendance. Most cleaning industry conventions and trade shows send in the roster of attendees, but not all. You must take the responsibility of providing the information to IICRC. Forms can be obtained from headquarters office.
Another misconception that faces us in the industry about the IICRC is that we own the schools that offer courses in various areas of certification. This is not true. The IICRC owns the course outline for the material and the certification exams, but not the school itself. The IICRC does not receive any of the monies that students pay to attend the school. The IICRC only receives the money that the student pays to take the examination. These test fees are used to defray the costs of grading, printing certificates, issuing registrant ID cards, and maintaining individual technician files. A percentage of that fee is returned to the exam monitor for overseeing the examination process. With more than 20,000 certified technicians worldwide, it can be a monumental task for headquarters to keep track of all of us. Thankfully, we are fortunate to have an extremely wonderful and professional staff that cares about each and every one of us. I have seen these people in action and am always impressed by their efforts.
Finally, when an owner/operator passes a certification exam, they are not automatically listed on the referral line unless they have also applied to become a Certified Firm. There are several additional requirements that need to be fulfilled in order to become a Certified Firm. You must fill out the application, pay the appropriate fees, and agree to abide by the certified firm pledge that you sign on the application form. Each one of these requirements is essential to making sure that all Certified Firms are above reproach. The pledge states that you will continue with the certification process for ALL areas your company offers service. This is the most overlooked area of the certified firm program. Additionally, each technician in your company should be certified for each area of service that he/she is working in, meaning that a technician certified in carpet cleaning should not be called upon to provide regular service in water damage restoration. This is not in the spirit of professionalism that IICRC requires of its Certified Firms.
I hope that I have cleared up some misconceptions about how the IICRC functions. If you have additional questions about anything involving the IICRC, please call headquarters at (360) 693-5675. A friendly person will answer the call. You can count on it.