The chimney sweep industry is basically an unregulated industry and training and certifications are designed to self-improve chimney sweeps in our industry to a higher level. One day, this industry will be regulated and those with professional training will have an easier transition into these requirements. I happen to like the organized training inside our industry but there are a few things I do not like. One thing that I very much dislike is the CEU (continuing education unit) and how they are issued for some course of study and disallowed for another courses of study. There is too much politics in our industry and it will be the downfall of major educational organizations. The second reason why I hate CEUs is that the reason why chimney sweeps renew certifications by CEU is because they are afraid of retesting and failing the original certifications. These individuals were taught to memorize instead of understanding. They memorize what they need to pass the certification exam and after passing the exam, forget everything they learned. They have the certification to post on their website and credentials to brag to customers but have lost the fundamental reasoning for the certification.
Chimney Sweep International has four levels of certification. The training for each level of certification is likely either free or very inexpensive. The reasoning is to provide the best training at the lowest cost. Training through our program will definitely overlap other existing programs and thus training at low costs are always beneficial. Even if you do not use our certifications, feel free to train with us. Sweeps luck to you.
Apprentice Sweep Certification: This is the basic level of certification for our program. Our testing and training program is designed to ask and train on different levels so our students do not become overwhelmed. The Apprentice Sweep Certification questions are designed for basic understanding of the chimney sweep industry. Chimney sweep process, inspection, tools, safety, basic codes and NFPA 211 standards are introduced. The Apprentice Chimney Sweep would be designed for helpers and repair individuals in our industry.
Journeyman Sweep Certification: This is the second level of our chimney sweep program. The candidate will be required to speak with our professional engineer before testing to verify they have an adequate knowledge at the Apprentice level and if adequate knowledge is demonstrated then testing at this level can begin. The Journeyman Chimney Sweep certification exam is more detailed and difficult. Detail of NFPA 211 three levels of chimney inspections are required. Complete understanding of chapter 10 section of the IRC code is required and a good understanding of the NFPA 211 is required. Chimney design, thermodynamics, and draft is tested. Deeper levels of OSHA requirements and safety are tested. Passing the Journeyman Sweep Certification results with a certificate of completion signed by a Virginia Licensed professional engineer. This level of certification requires monthly very light maintenance. Each month, we will email you 10 review questions with answers. Your requirement will be simply to re-test these questions for free and keep yourself sharp.
Master Chimney Sweep Certification: The master chimney sweep program is the most difficult program we can design and verified through video conferencing to verify identity. Since we train our students with the questions, the pass percentage requirement is very high (likely between 95-98%.) The Master Chimney Sweep questions are designed to basically trick our sweeps. Typically, the questions are conflicting codes verse standard questions and other very complexed reasoning questions. Successfully passing this level of certification comes with signed certification of completion by a Virginia Licensed Professional Engineer. This level of certification requires monthly maintenance and monthly phone questions by our professional engineer. This should not be difficult to maintain. We will email you 10 monthly training questions and quiz you on your understanding of these questions.
Certified Master Chimney Sweep: The certified master chimney sweep is conducted either in person, through skype or other means of verification. Questions for this certification will not likely be revealed on our previous training but would be answerable through our training. Many questions are not multiple question but fill in the answer for review. This is the highest level we can test and at this level, all our certified master sweeps will be the ones forming new questions for our program and we should self-test each month.