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Hearth & Home April 2019

New Possibilities in Industry Education

Since 2002 the National Fireplace Institute (NFI) has provided the hearth industry with a comprehensive and credible certification program. An industry-wide survey from 2016 provided crucial information about how the hearth industry has changed and what NFI should do in response. Consequently, there have been several changes to the program over the past several months.

The first was the introduction of a new certification, the Hearth Design Specialist. NFI manuals and exams have always focused on the installer and service technician, but this new certification focuses on the sales personnel. Many of the critical decisions are made during the sales process. It is too late to make major changes by the time the installer gets the job. The Hearth Design Specialist certification gives the sales person the technical knowledge they need to guide the customer through these decisions for woodburning, gas or pellet appliances.

The data also shows that approximately 60% of the topics an installer or service person needs to know, is the same regardless of the fuel type. Woodburning, gas and pellet technicians need to understand concepts about roof safety, ladder safety, combustion, clearances and such. To reduce the redundancy in the manuals and exams, a new Core Knowledge manual and exam were created to cover these topics. Then new and more concise manuals and exams were developed for the Woodburning, Gas and Pellet certifications. The new format makes it easier and less expensive for those who want to be certified in more than one fuel type since they will no longer have to cover that common knowledge more than once.

The new manuals are available in a printed or Protected PDF format. The new exams are administered at HPBExpo, many HPBA Affiliate or industry events, at any of the 300+ PSI/LaserGrade test centers, and online. You can take the NFI exam any time of the day or night from the comfort of your own home or office as long as your computer has a webcam and microphone.

Once you are certified, it is also easier than ever to maintain that certification without taking the exams again. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) have been awarded for all 300+ classes in the HE@RTH Online Training program. Many classes are recordings of presentations at HPBExpo over the past few years on a wide variety of topics. Technical, safety, business, barbecue and outdoor living classes are all included. While classes can be purchased ala carte, the most economical way to use the system is with a 12 month subscription. HPBA members can purchase a subscription for $249. Member companies can purchase a 5-pack of individual subscriptions for $449 or a 10-pack for $698. You can earn all the CEUs you need to renew your NFI or CSIA certifications from the comfort of your own home or office.

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The HPBA Journal is intended to provide in-depth information to the hearth and outdoor products industries. Statements of fact and opinion are the responsibility of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the officers, board, staff or members of the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association.

Copyright ©2019 by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission of the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association is prohibited. Direct requests for permission to use material published in the HPBA Journal to

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