Below is a short news article I wrote for tED Magazine on the topic of NALMCO’s new controls certification. Reprinted with permission.

The interNational Association of Lighting Management Companies (NALMCO) has launched the Certified Lighting Controls Professional (CLCP) designation. With no prerequisites, the CLCP is open to all professionals in the building, information technology and electrical industries.

LEDs are highly friendly with lighting controls. A majority of LED lighting is equipped with dimmable drivers. As a digital device, the LED source is inherently compatible with digital lighting controls. Advances in wireless communication, simpler and cost-effective products, and new interest among utilities are resulting in growing demand for networked and other lighting controls.

Networked lighting controls have several barriers to adoption such as an array of system approaches, IT involvement and lack of standardization, but one particularly worrying barrier is a potential skills shortage. Advanced lighting control systems may be becoming simpler, but they are still sophisticated, creating a potential education gap among specifiers and installers. This education gap applies to an extent for all controls, not just networked controls.

Of particular interest are skills related to consultation on product selection, protocols and integration; knowledgeable installation; startup/commissioning; and operations and maintenance.

The industry has responded with several initiatives. In California, the California Advanced Lighting Controls Training Program (CALCTP) has trained more than 2,500 electrical workers on lighting controls. The program has expanded to include other states and Canada under a national version of the program (NALCTP). Meanwhile, the DesignLights Consortium is developing a training program to support utilities implementing rebates based on its new Qualified Products List for Networked Lighting Controls. The National Association of Independent Lighting Distributors (NAILD) is developing an online education program. And the Lighting Controls Association provides Education Express, a free 24/7 online education program covering lighting control technology, application, design, energy codes and commissioning. Five courses are prerequisites for CALCTP/NALCTP training. (Full disclosure: This article’s author is the author of the NAILD and most of the Education Express courses.)

NALMCO saw an opportunity to develop a national certification signifying a high degree of generalized knowledge about lighting controls. The CLCP is based on the Lighting Controls Association’s Education Express curriculum. Students demonstrate completion by passing an online test at the end of each required course. The student then takes a separate 100-question online test, which is automatically graded. Passage earns certification for three years. The CLCP recipient must maintain certification by completing eight hours of continuing education each year.

CLCP demonstrates a high degree of generalized knowledge about lighting controls. It is available to any electrical industry professional at