Some training programs issue a certificate upon completion of a training course. The certificate may be from a manufacturer, trade association, public institution, or private trainer. While the certificate may add to your résumé, it only holds value if the industry or public recognizes it as high-quality. If you receive a certificate for listening to a manufacturer’s two-hour sales pitch, it won’t be as valuable as a 40-hour course in which you had to demonstrate your learning in a training lab and pass a formal assessment.
Certificates also differ from the professional certifications offered by third-party organizations. Subject-matter experts and an independent, standardized application and examination process makes professional certification a more objective and precise measure of qualifications compared to a typical training program.
Offering a certificate program that has been reviewed and approved by an independent organization can give training programs some recognition in the industry. The Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA), for example, developed a certificate program for professional solar site assessment. They opted to have their program accredited under the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-IREC program. This third-party certification makes the MREA training program attractive because it gives participants a certificate with value in the industry.
Check out the IREC database of certificate and other training programs at bit.ly/IRECtraining.
Manufacturer-sponsored trainings can be great for learning the details and operation of particular equipment.