Whether you’re in the market for a chimney sweep or you’re thinking about becoming one yourself, you’ll need to understand the process through which a chimney sweep becomes certified. Such certification proves that these individuals have been properly trained to install, maintain, clean, and even repair chimneys.

Chimney Sweep Association of America (CSIA)

The CSIA requires candidates interested in obtaining CCS (Certified Chimney Sweep) credentials to pass two tests. Candidates will need three books to study and test. Currently, these include:

· Successful Chimney Sweeping, 2011 edition;

· NFPA 211, 2013 edition; and

· International Residential Code, 2006 edition.

The CSIA requires all first-time test takers are required to attend either a review session (sessions are held throughout the country) or attend a six-day hands-on program through the National Chimney Sweep Training School. Once these requirements are met, students must take two tests within one year of attending the review or program. The tests are proctored, and they can be taken in-person on paper or online.

· The first exam is based on the Successful Chimney Sweeping and NFPA 211 textbooks. The closed book exam must be completed in one hour, and it consists of a variety of true or falls and multiple choice questions.

· The second exam is based on the International Residential Code textbook. It is an open book exam and candidates are given 90 minutes to complete it.

The CSIA requires individuals to recertify annually in order to maintain their credentials. Requirements include a mix of CEUs, or Continuing Education Units, reviews, exams, and a fee. Sweeps who earn 48 CEUs during the year following certification do not need to attend a review or take an exam.

Certified Chimney Professionals (CCP)

The CCP is an independent company that provides credentialing for chimney sweeps. It offers three different certifications, and most sweeps prefer to obtain one of these credentials along with their CSIA certification.

· Certified Chimney Professional – Candidates must study a manual understand fire codes and safety, and take an exam that consists of 100 multiple choice and true or false questions. A score of 70% is required to obtain this credential.

· Chimney Reliner Certification – Candidates for this credential must study only from the CCP Reliner Manual provided by the company. The exam mimics the Certified Chimney Professional exam; there are 100 questions and candidates must score 70% to pass.

· Certified Master Chimney Technician – The Certified Master Chimney Technician is the highest available credential, and only sweeps who have eight years of experience along with six years of active certification can obtain it. There is no exam; candidates must only prove their experience through test scores and certification badges, and they must prove that they have business liability insurance. Certification (and annual recertification) has a $99 fee.

When you hire a chimney service, it is always a good idea to ask about credentials. This way, you can rest assured that you are hiring an experienced and knowledgeable individual to maintain, repair, or clean your chimney to keep you and your family safe.