There’s currently no official certification for independent maintenance professionals in Canada (as yet). I believe this lack of CMP certification is the major reason why a lot of companies are not using independent contractors for maintenance and power generation related work. BEMAS is hoping to rectify this situation by developing and offering an officially recognized test known as ‘Certified Maintenance & Reliability Professional (CMPR).’ The CMPR is comprised of two separate tests – one for mechanical issues and another for electrical problems. I’ve put together a separate article to explain the difference between the two tests.

The first difference between the two exams is their scope of focus. Maintenance or reliability professional, by necessity, is required to be skilled in all areas of mechanical and electrical maintenance. The scope of the CMP exam includes everything from general maintenance to repairing refrigeration units. That is why many people mistakenly think they need to obtain a CMP certification before pursuing careers as maintenance or reliability specialists. In fact, while the CMP is recommended for anyone working in the maintenance field, it isn’t a prerequisite for working as a specialist.

The second difference between CMP and CMPR is the amount of time and effort required to successfully complete the exam. A regular maintenance professional can complete the exam in as little as two to three hours, whereas a CMPR requires a more extensive curriculum and can take up to eight hours. The time investment is also partly offset by the potential pay increase once a CMPR certificate is awarded. Certified Maintenance & Reliability Professionals (CMPR) certification programs pay their candidates about one hundred dollars for a maximum of eight hours of testing, although there is flexibility regarding additional hours of study. Candidates who successfully complete the CMPR program are then required to take a national reliability examination, which consists of two sections, each consisting of forty-five questions.

The National Certification Board for Mechanical Contractors (NCBM), a non-profit association that sets standards for contractors nationwide, has developed a set of nationally recognized requirements for qualifying for certification. These include passing the NCDI test, which measures contractors’ knowledge and skills on mechanical issues. Applicants must also show that they understand the principles of CMMI and have completed a minimum of five hundred hours of education and practical training. Because of the strict standards of the NCBM, only those who pass the NCDI exam are considered for certification. Candidates who successfully complete the exam and pass the practical portion are then evaluated by state boards for certified maintenance practices certification, which assesses contractors on both theoretical and practical aspects of CMMI.

To be considered for either the NCDI or CMMI certification, candidates must demonstrate a thorough understanding of mechanical principles and practices, as well as good technical and communication skills. A candidate’s technical competence must be backed up with thorough, accurate, and up-to-date knowledge of applicable codes and policies. Communication skills must be demonstrated in the form of clear and effective communication, which includes a clear understanding of engineering principles, applicable standards, and business ethics. By developing a combination of these three tools, any candidate can become a Certified Maintenance & Reliability Professional.

One way to obtain further knowledge and preparation for the CMMIs is through state testing boards. The state testing board for CMMI states that its goal is to “inspect the condition of the operations and systems of a facility during periods of normal and consistent operation.” Applicants must pass a three-hour exam prior to being considered for certification. Candidates wishing to pursue a career in this field should be prepared to take the exam multiple times, as each examination focuses on a different subject area. The subjects covered in the CMMIs include refrigeration and heating maintenance, plumbing systems, electrical maintenance, and industrial mechanical methods. A candidate’s reading and writing skills are also evaluated during these exams.

The subjects covered in the CMMIs are designed to test a candidate’s knowledge of refrigeration/heating, plumbing, electrical, mechanical, and industrial mechanical theories and practices. The subject’s description notes that each examination is divided into three main sections, which include reading, writing, and listening. Candidates will be required to demonstrate their knowledge in each of these three subject areas before being considered for certification. It is important to note that the technical maintenance portion of the exam may not always be performed by an experienced technician and should be submitted in the format of a hands-on manual with complete instructions.

As part of the application process, candidates will be required to pay a fee. The fee is non-refundable, but the test provider is obligated to provide training and technical support should the candidate choose not to take the exam. If a CMMI certification is obtained then a CMMI bracelet may be ordered which contains a photograph of the person performing the exam. This identification will enable other technicians to verify the person’s certification. Each individual state has different certification requirements, so applicants should check with their state licensing board to determine whether the CMMI certification is required.