What TI training and/or certificates are absoultely needed?

Seriously thinking of getting into Thermal Imaging and Energy Audits.

What training or certifications are ABSOULETLY needed?

Level I Thermography Training? Noticed everyone offers this for $1750 that’s pretty dam pricey IMO but looks like it’s a minium.

John M.'s training - www.infrared-certified.com any weight with this training/certificate?

BPI Certified Building Analyst or HERS Rater? Heard this is very important…

Thanks again.

You can take our Energy Audit Class for free, to get a little taste
of what you are getting into.


Call me if you have any questions about IR training.


Call… 936-546-2435

Good luck.

Couldn’t agree more. Level I training is elementary and overpriced (understatement). The information it contains can be learned on the internet (or in your camera manual) for free, or by anyone with even half a brain. Of course you don’t get the fancy card though.

I’d like to get level III but I have to flush away company money on levels I and II to get there. Someone needs to package this training so its affordable to those that already have an extensive IR background.

$1700 x 3 = overpriced in any language.

Hmmm…I think I may have found a new calling in life;-)

Some people might think $350 for a home inspection is expensive compared to a $99 or $149 home inspection. However, I bet in this crowd no one would agree with that.

If cameras were $995 and Level I-III was $199 total, then we would have a different thread about people undercutting our IR inspections with $99 IR inspections. Nevermind the fact that the manufactures would have to have the cameras made in Taiwan and China, and the training facilities would go under and the quality of thermographiers would decline. Lost jobs, and lower quality goods that we could start another thread about how we needed it to work that day, but it broke for no reason with no service center in the USA.

Those that have been doing IR for ahwile know what I am talking about. It was great when the average camera was $25k+. The initial investment was great, but the payout was much greater. I have seen cameras drop in price by 1/3 in the past 5 years. I have also seen my rates go from $1000 for an average inspection down to $250-350. Since I only have to buy the camera once, but do many inspections, lower camera prices is a horrible thing in the grand scheme of things. Not to mention that being, basically, a monopoly in my area was amazing.

I honestly think part of our current economic situation is the fact that people want to charge as much as possible and yet pay as little as possible. That is a paradox that doesn’t work. The internet has drastically accelerated this effect. For you old time inspectors how often did you get beat up on price 20 years ago compared to now? It is just too easy to shop someone down to a 5% profit margin now a days.


I don’t disagree with you Jason but that’s how the free market works. The trick is to drive the market instead of allowing the market to drive you.

The reality of IR is that we can no longer pretend that its so magical or difficult to learn. An I-phone is far more difficult to figure out and likely has 100 X’s the computing power of even the best IR cameras.

Lets not even get into the PC…a device that is far more complex, and can do far more damage in the wrong hands.

Yet everyone owns one without any certification at all.

The price arguement for IR classes simply doesn’t fly with me any more. It shouldn’t fly with the rest of you either.

If you posed this arguement to an IT community they would flip out about the costs of their certifications and knowledge. Just a Cisco certification alone goes for around $5,000. That is just one device used in a network, by only one manufacture.

The other drastic difference is, how often does a computer damage really effect your business. Yet, just as one example, you will walk up on to a flat roof with an IR camera and take pictures. I guarantee anyone in here that isn’t at least level II couldn’t even begin to tell you the high level of litigation or why you should not be doing flat roofs at all. That is just but one application of IR, it is also the most profitable that I know of.

If you are just using your IR camera for HI’s only I will mostly agree with the fact that $1700 training is not exactly fully needed, but once you get outside of that arena it is a different story. The problem there is, HI’s are a very small ability of IR, that is somewhat profitable. The good money in IR is in the other applications. So eventually any one with a camera learns about them, then attempts them.


I don’t know Jason. My average inspection fee has risen from mid $300’s in early 2008 to mid $400’s in 2009 and there is still room to raise my prices. And I’m in a market where some competitors give it away for practically nothing and a basic HI can be found for $250.

There is IR money in home inspection. The trick is to NOT use IR as the vehicle…use it only as the engine;-)

Interesting point…I’ve never believed that IR was the best tool for flat roofs at all.

Yeah I agree 100%. I am just worried about the future. We are currently biding a job that is a $20k every three month IR inspection job. If cameras keep dropping and if training were to drop, I will have to drop my price as more competition enters. Stealing your I-phone analogy, if an I-Phone took good IR images, do you think bids like that would be around?

Not to mention the fact that my company also sells cameras and weatherization test & measurment equipment, among other things. The more people that can afford to buy cameras from me locally, the more of a conflict of interest it is for me to do the IR inspections. There is more money in the work than the cameras as it is already. Just last month we moved 3 TiR4’s in a week to customers that are in Tucson and Phoenix. So now I am passing along the residential work to those customers, because I felt like it wasn’t right to compete with them after selling them cameras.

On the flip side of this arguement, a good clamp meter is $300. And yet electricians still make good money doing diagnostic work with them, albeit no where near the $300-$500 an hour we can currently get for IR inspections). The question is, if clamp meters were $3000, what could they charge then? Power quality analyzers are $3500 on the low side and $40k for a hi pot. People that use those get a lot of money for their work. So who knows, only time will tell.

You think your training and equipment is expensive, google what an XRF is. Nifty device. I wouldn’t be shocked to see some form of digital camera/XRF/Infrared camera in a unit that will actually see through walls and create a 3D image of such, in the future.


Valid concern but I’m not convinced that this is always true. You’ve been around a while, have proven yourself, and appear to have your act together. Competition doesn’t necessarily erase that.

Heck…I started my business in July of 07 right as the market tanked. While everyone was running for the door, I grew a HI business from scratch in a state where you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a part-timer in the grill, and have raised my prices on average…once every 6 months.

Albiet, commercial clients are a different animal and are very bottom line oriented. I personally believe the real money in IR to be in residential work. So far, my business model has proven me correct.

I don’t think we’re too far from that…unfortunately.

I’d be willing to wager that we have yet to see the biggest breakthrough in IR …the ability of the camera to make decisions for us. Autofreakinmagically.

It will come. (actually its been around for awhile, but I don’t want the black helicopters circling my house so I’ll just shut up now)

It is the quickest and most efficient. Flat roofs really need a combination of technologies to be done correctly. Where the IR flaw comes in, is reflection. Because of the angle of attack and the long wave imager (you all have long wave), you get a ton of false readings and reflection comes from everywhere.

We quote flat roof inspections at .10 a sq/ft and generally do not have a problem getting them. 100k sq/ft = $10,000. We do it the right way though. We will either sub it out to someone that has a short wave imager, or rent one for the job. We then use a 3rd party that does nuclear and core samples to backup and/or locate findings. I also feel that IR video is a must for flat roofs, for documentation reasons.

Sometime after the first of the year I am planning on really pursuing more flat roof inspections. Central and Southern AZ, is the land of flat roofs.

I really feel as though flat roofs are the holy grail of infrared. It is still very expensive to do correctly, and because of the cost to savings ratio for the customer you can literally go anywhere in the country to do them, no matter where you are located.


It depends on how you define essential and for what purpose.

Point 1: The majority of typical consumer, residential clients do not care about what certification you have. Which makes John M’s. training a good deal. It’s practical for HI and doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg for what is really basic information about the law of thermodynamics and how it applies in a examining a building.

Point 2: The self appointed certifying organizations (BPI, HERS, etc) are interested in maximizing their return on providing training that acts as the gate keeper. Yet my experience says that the consumer does not know and does not care. What they want to know is what I can do for them.

Point 3: A valid certifying agency would offer an assessment that does not first require a specific training from an approved(by them) trainer. As example we all have drivers licenses. The state administers the test but does not specify where you gain the knowledge.

I have an M.S in Physics and worked with Thermal Imaging, way back in 1979, at the Universty of Chicago, developing this technology for breast cancer diagnosis (which it is used for today, based, in part, on my research and work). Medical Thermography is MUCH MORE demanding that just scanning for water leaks. BUT, I also had to learn building science. Not easy, but not hard, if you apply yourself and work hard.

Now, I consult to Architects (and they actually listen to me and PAY me for my expertise. Go figure :wink: ).

Now, I am using it, and teaching it, specifically with regards to home inspection. I took the Level I and II classes, but most of what was taught had no relation to what HIs do.

I had dun in these classes, actually asking the instructors about the physics of the thing (they had no clue, only what they were taught). But, I took the classes and took the tests and passed. Then I paid the money for the paper (nesessary).

Then, I thought of a better way.

I am in the process of getting a two day (16 hour class, with testing and field excercises) approved for Illinois (and Wisconsin and Indiana) state approved home inspector CE, as well as IR certification. Should be done in a month of two.

All are welcome. I don’t charge nearly that much.

Putting it on for Chicagoland and Wisconsin Chapters. Indiana, to follow.

Also, I have been asked to present a paper (Scientific and all :mrgreen:) at the Inframation Conference In Las Vagas on October.

Here’s the Abstact: http://deckerhomeservices.com/2009-082%20Decker.pdf

See you there?

Hope this helps;

I think that like most avenues of study, education varies greatly from provider to provider. In most instances, quality education is not cheap. For most home inspectors Johns’ course(from what I have read) will give you basic info enough to make images. Proper interpretation of these images requires a thorough understanding of the technology and the pitfalls.

If and I state again if, you do not have the education necessary to properly interpret the images and you make a mistake, watch out. If you have received your Level 1 cert and you do not have a Level 3 to help with protocols and as a backup for interp questions, watch out. Level 1 does not allow you to operate independently and sets you up for trouble if someone questions your stuff. Scott Warga has a blog on his web site that basically tells agents to question Level1 people as to who their Level 3 is.

So bottom line is — Do as you want but be ready to back up your education and knowledge if and when the time comes.


Why did FLIR-ITC create a IR certification course for building
science to answer the need of building inspectors? They
do not tell people to go back and take Level I after they
complete their building science course. What would you
say to them?


Don’t be fooled by what others are saying or what you are reading on someones website blog. Investigate and become informed and educated, so you can make your own decisions.

Scott Warga’s blog has a lot of hyperbole and misinformation. He is certainly entitled to his “opinion,” but there is a fine line between an opinion and describing facts.


The certification level that you obtain should include combined education and experience. I know of a level III’s that managed to make it there in a couple of months!

This is not the intention of the program. Any program that allows progression without work experience is not worth its salt (as far as I’m concerned).

ITC ($1,750 ea.)

Level I: trains the operator to use the camera and identify anomalies.

Level II: trains supervisors of level I operators and increase his ability to identify anomalies and supervise infrared programs.

Level III: is the person that writes the infrared programs and disseminates protocol to level II and below operators.

The program is designed as a “continuing education” process. You must do at least 25% of your job description performing infrared.

I suppose you can get through the course faster if your a quick learner, but you’re experience level suffers.

I took building science, level I and level II. All are redundant to a great extent. And actually I used my lower-level books in the upper-level courses. All the information is provided, but not necessarily covered in the same detail in each course. How much you actually learn is dependent upon the class participants.

As some “certified infrared trainers” will point out, this is not rocket science. You just have to push a few buttons on a camera! There’s nothing to it!

You may be able to learn one application, but when unknowns pop up or you’re asked to perform a service outside of your one specialty you will have no background to fall back on.

All this stuff that you have seen on the Internet is just an" introduction" and is in no way sufficient for a one-man operation. You have no boss or level III to write, initiate and supervise your program. You have to do it all yourself! That is where the program suffers the most. That is where all the bogus information comes from on the Internet. You have people that are not even qualified at a level I attempting to perform level III business practices without the experience or education.

Just my thoughts.

For those of you that “think” you know all that kindergarten level one stuff, would you like me to post a few questions from that course?

I know some outstanding level II instructors that know more than I can conceptualize. Your level is not important. What you learned and what you can do is.

I also know some instructors that haven’t gotten past TI kindergarten…

I also know that the VAST majority of Level III thermographers
cannot do a home inspection with an IR camera (according to
the Level III guys and instructors at FLIR-ITC that I have talked to).

Titles mean little in this business.

I would love David to impress us with hard questions. I am sure
we will all enjoy this.

Give us your best shot.