ATLANTA - A market research survey conducted last year by The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), showed a strong interest by members in providing certification. More than 80 percent of members indicated that ASHRAE should offer certification to individuals who complete a series of courses/seminars in a specific area of study.

In response to member and market demand, ASHRAE is exploring a certification program that will focus on areas of the building environment such as commissioning, health care facility engineering, building operation, and sustainability.

The association is also pursuing partnerships with other HVACR related organizations. "By offering certification, ASHRAE will make our members more valuable to the industry," said Terry Townsend, P.E., ASHRAE president. "Certification from ASHRAE will add professional credibility to their work, as well as providing educational resources to better enable them in designing and operating buildings that are more efficient."

In support of certification, ASHRAE will expand its existing educational program, known as the ASHRAE Learning Institute.

"The Learning Institute will continue to provide fundamental courses for those looking for lifelong learning and professional development," Townsend noted. "But we also must provide more specialty courses for those eager to keep up with the latest technology."

In addition to the new certification program, expected to launch in summer 2007, ASHRAE is working to make it easier for members to keep up with their current professional development hours to maintain existing professional registration.

"We are looking at tracking educational course attendance to qualify for professional development hours," Townsend said. "We must make it as easy as possible for our members to educate themselves so they can get ahead in their careers."

Publication date: 08/07/2006