How to help new energy pros migrate into our new career as fresh students right out of class


My name is Ronald Stevens I'm a student enrolled in the BPI program at Consumnes River College in Sacramento California. I just passed my written exam, I'm now in the process of learning the final phases of my field exam. I have 6 weeks of class left and I'm really excited about my future. I welcome any tips and advice that will not only help me navigate my way into my new career; but also, help me to be a true professional and thrive.   

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Congratulations!  Assuming you are a CA resident, are you willing to relocate within CA or to another state?  It's important to know, because the work is paid for in different ways in different states.  Over the next six weeks, learn how it works in the place(s) you might work.

I'm confident others have other things to say about this.

What else do you know about and do in/around building(s)?

Hi David,

 Yes I'm a California resident attending school at Consumnes River College in Sacramento. I'm studying now for field exam over the next six weeks. I'm taking my BPI Residential Building Auditor & Envelope.

Thank you for your advice  

Congrats & best of luck - the biggest issue many of us have offering advice is we have no idea what you are interested in, who your ideal employer is, and a whole host of other items to get some context. With that said, I guess the best advice that applies accross the board is to remember that your learning has just started. Never stop learning or even questioning what you think you know.

One piece of advice is to have an idea of the cost of the recommended repairs to the home you test.  That is one question that all homeowners want to know.  If you do plan on staying on only the audit side find some local reliable companies that do the retro fit work and be able to refer them to customers.


I regularly teach students like you and I advise them to get a job in the industry as quickly as they can so they can gain experience AND learn about the industry.  As long as it pays the bills don't fret too much about whether it is the ideal job.  Too many people just do "desk time" at a job because they think the job is beneath them.  They lose a valuable opportunity to make themselves and the job better while they “wait” for their prime opportunity. You will need time in the industry just to figure out what the ideal job for you is.  In the meantime, soak up everything you can, volunteer for the tough projects, take home sticky problems and try to solve them, become an expert in whatever it is the job requires.  If you do these things you will stand out when the ideal job comes around and you will know how to recognize opportunities in the industry that no one else is seeing. 

One example: I know a foam installer that came from a manufacturing background.  He had no prior building science experience or training; he just needed a job after he got laid off from a paper mill. Luckily, he is sharp as a tack, personable, and soaks up information like a sponge.  He turned into one of the best foam installers out there because he learned how foam really works, how to troubleshoot and fix the equipment, and a ton of building science.  He also amplified his natural salesmanship skills when he was on the job, often landing more work for the company.  He installed foam for about 6 years and it was a pretty good job for him. Then he became operations manager for the foam company.   Where did he go from there?  A foam manufacturer snatched him up from operations manager and over the last 3 years he has been enticed away from one company to the next because he knows more about foam and the foam business than almost everyone.  Last I heard he is making around $200,000 a year.

If he has any BPI or LEED certifications I’d be surprised.  It’s not the certifications; it’s the knowledge, experience, and extra effort that matter.  If you realize that you will see just how much fun and opportunity exist in this industry.  Good luck.    

P.S. I know, I know, some may argue that foam is not a sustainable solution for the green economy.  In some ways I agree, but you are missing the point if you get hung up on that.   

Ronald, welcome!

I would take Jon's advice and run (hard) with it.

I really could not have said it better myself. I am a relatively new entrant to this side of the field, and I can concur with everything Jon has laid out for you.

Best of luck (and NEVER stop learning, especially in this industry)!


Patrick thank you,

That was very powerful advice and yes I'm very greatful all the advice I can get.



Most appreciativly humble and greatful

Ronald L. Stevens

Wow Jon,

Thank you so much that's the best advice I've heard yet and what an awsome testimony. Sorry to get back to you so late been a little busy lately trying to get ready for field audit exam. I value what you have said to me sincearly ..... Thank you again so much.


Ronald L. Stevens

p.s don't hesitate to stay intouch

I have passed the written Building Performance test and now want to get some further OJT on the field work so that I can pass that test. I spent too much time on my last attempt so feel I just need to practice. While I can do this on my own home and perhaps some friends I am looking to act as a "helper" to observe where I can streamline for the test. If someone is in the SF Bay Area and can be available please send me an email at

Hello Jeff,

Like you I have passed the written test and I'm taking the field exam in about 4 weeks so I too, am trying to get help outside of my class to get more hands on  on the field exam. I'm in sacramento wish we could connect.



Ronald L. Stevens

Some of the most knowledgeable trades people I know volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. You could help your community while gaining valuable OTJ experience and make connections with hi integrity contractors. To really "get it", you have to have lots of hands on experience.

Hello Bill,

Thank you for your advice. I have made contact with Habittat for Humanity and I am going to be working with them very soon




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