Interview with Rusty Hudnet

Steve Mickley interviews Rusty Hudnet, the Certification Director for AIBD.

Recorded 2020-05-12

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Steve: [00:00:00] Good afternoon and welcome to Let’s Talk Certification, a live recording of a podcast program hosted by the American Institute of Building Design. I’m Steve, chief staff officer, and I’m happy to be here hosting this month’s show. Every month a guest CPBD shares their approach to how they prepared for the Certified Professional Building Designer exam.

[00:00:24] Normally that would be somebody who’s recently taken the CPBD exam. But today we’re going to go down a different path. This month we have a special treat. We’ve got Rusty Hudnet, who is a soon to be AIBD’s first Certification Director. He’s working on getting his Certification Director Certification.

[00:00:45] That’s a lot of certified. But, at any rate, we’ll be talking about that. So, there’s plenty of time for you guys to ask questions. Just use the question box, or if you want to raise your hand if you’ve got a microphone. We won’t be using webcams today, but, you know, feel free to raise your hand and we’ll try to work you into the conversation.

[00:01:05] The final edited version of this podcast will be available on our website, That’s with an S, podcasts, plural. Unfortunately, this isn’t the kind of program that qualifies for continuing education credits, although I’ve been told that every now and then people pick up something that is educational in the discussion.

[00:01:27] So the last thing before we begin, I have to remind everyone that the opinions expressed during this broadcast are those of the participants and not necessarily those of the AIBD. Although we do have all staff members on here today, and as always, we must be mindful of the AIBD antitrust statement found in the institutes book of rules.

[00:01:48]Rusty, thanks for taking time out of your schedule today to talk about how to become certified.

[00:01:55] Rusty: [00:01:55] Well, thank you for having me. I’m glad to be here today.

[00:01:59] Steve: [00:01:59] So you and I have been working together for a long time. Why don’t you kind of tell everybody your history and how you became a building designer and how that evolved into an AIBD administration director.

[00:02:14] Rusty: [00:02:14] Well. I came on board helping complete the construction documents of a lot of the homes you designed back around 1998, I believe, as soon after I got out of high school. And continued that job for roughly about 10 years or so, I believe, until around 2008 when the housing market kind of, it went in the tubes and forced me to change my path.

[00:02:42] So, I reached out and learned a few other trades to kind of help and expand my employment opportunities, even though I really hated doing so it was necessary.

[00:02:54] Steve: [00:02:54] Okay. I understand. And one of those was air conditioning, wasn’t it?

[00:02:59] Rusty: [00:02:59] Yes. I was a shop foreman of a manufacturer of Marine air conditioners, which we did work for the coast guard and the U S government as well as, you know, fishing fleets and things like that.

[00:03:13] So, it was really a new venture into something I knew absolutely nothing about. But sometimes that’s the best way to teach somebody is when they don’t know anything about it.

[00:03:23] Steve: [00:03:23] So then, what has it been now, three or four years that you’ve been with AIBD? Doing all the operations?

[00:03:30] Rusty: [00:03:30] October 12th will be five years.

[00:03:33] Steve: [00:03:33] Wow. Time flies. I had mentioned in the intro that that you are taking this certification course on managing certification programs that’s offered by the Institute of Credentialing Excellence, ICE, which is the association that AIBD belongs to as an association. It’s a group of, international group actually, of certification testing bodies and people who support that, like Proctor-U and ARI and all the vendors that we work with. So how’s that going Rusty? You and I haven’t talked about it recently, so it’ll be good to get an update myself.

[00:04:14] Rusty: [00:04:14] Yep. I still have more to do. It is quite long, and it recommends taking each course about three times before you can even pass the quiz at the end to certify that you’ve completed that module, I guess is the word they’re using. So I’m taking the eight, the IC Academy’s credential credentialing specialist training, which is really quite extensive. I really wasn’t expecting to dive in at that point. What they’re doing is teaching me how to analyze and research and development, of the certification that we’re going towards.

[00:04:53]Which AIBD or the NCBDC has pretty much already kind of done all of this legwork. So what I’m kind of seeing so far at this point is why things are the way they are when I’m going through certification and the board sign offs and things. So it’s really opening my eyes to why things are the way they are today and why things are done a certain way.

[00:05:19] So, I’m looking forward to getting into the latter part of it. I recently went through the part that was administration related and it was a little bit easier for me because that’s what I’m actually doing. So that part sunk in a little bit quicker than the beginning parts of it. So I’m looking forward to moving on to the end and getting this done and possibly looking forward to going through the courses again.

[00:05:48] So I can do it a little more relaxed and not have a pop quiz at the end. But it’s quite enlightening to see the way things are done and why NCBDC is doing the way they are, the things they’re doing.

[00:06:03] Steve: [00:06:03] Gotcha. Yeah. We are doing our best to follow the ANSI ISO 17024 policies and standards.

[00:06:12]I’m still striving, and hopefully by the end of this fiscal year, June 30th, we’ll start the application process to have some assessors come in. And I think that’s the goal we set. Or is that the time limit that they give you? To finish up the courses sometime in June.

[00:06:28] Rusty: [00:06:28] I believe I started it in February 5th or something like that.

[00:06:33] And they give you six months, but they’ve been sending out a lot more emails about extending the timeframe because they know of the difficult times and changes everybody has done and may or may not be able to focus as much time as they wish on it. So my goal is to not extend the time, I want to get it done and move on to the next phase of certification.

[00:06:57] But, they’re leaving the door open if there’s a short falls along anybody’s path, which is kind of standard in today’s times.

[00:07:06] Steve: [00:07:06] Right? So is there anything going along that you just kind of had an aha like, Oh, well I didn’t realize that.

[00:07:15] Rusty: [00:07:15] Not really. It’s just some of the terms that I hear in the board meetings and things like that.

[00:07:21] I’ve always wondered why they were done that way. And this is kind of clearing my head of why there’s so many layers to get something done. You know, they try to isolate it to where no one person can influence pretty much anything with our certification. So, and that’s kind of the way it’s always been kept in my head was that It’s not a one man show. It’s all of us together deciding this.

[00:07:48] Steve: [00:07:48] Yeah. The recent exam that we had, I think we had like somewhere between 50 and 60 different individuals that worked on the development of the writing and reviewing of the questions that we now ask. And just recently we went through a review of the existing exam to make sure that everything’s performing well and the questions are still relevant.

[00:08:10] We had a whole new group of volunteers that handled that. And we’ve got another meeting coming up Thursday with yet another set of volunteers. So we may be reaching 60, or 70 people that have participated. Starting in July, I just got a contract from our psychometricians that’s a word that takes a little while to start rolling off your tongue.

[00:08:29] And, we’re going to start a new annual program with them starting in July, where we write a certain number of new test questions every year so that we can make sure of a number of things. First of all, that the test is always fresh. Number two, we can take some questions off the test and begin building that practice exam that we’ve been wanting to have for awhile.

[00:08:52] And number three, prepare ourselves in case there’s ever a security breach, and we need to throw another test out there real quick.

[00:09:01] Rusty: [00:09:01] Yeah. It never ceases to amaze me the contributions our organizations volunteers can add and sometimes on short notice.

[00:09:08] So that’s always impressive to see.

[00:09:11] Steve: [00:09:11] Yeah. It’s amazing. We send out an email blast looking for five volunteers and we get 20. So we always have to turn some people away, which is a tough thing to do. But, you know what? They keep coming back. So we appreciate all the loyalty that we’ve got in the industry out there.

[00:09:27] Cause they’re not always AIBD members and they’re not always CPBDs. I think only about 50% of the people that have helped us through the process have been actual CPBDs. So, there’s some limitations though. If you do volunteer and you’re not a CPBD what is it, two years that, you’ve got to wait before you can apply for the test?

[00:09:45] Rusty: [00:09:45] I believe that’s what I recall. I haven’t seen that recently, but I believe two years is what you have to wait to take the CPPD exam or process or submit an application.

[00:09:58] Steve: [00:09:58] Right, right. Yeah. I don’t think it’s every task that we have our volunteers doing. It’s only certain tasks, and I’d have to pull out our policies and procedures that might be in the candidate handbook.

[00:10:07]How do people get ahold of that candidate handbook, Rusty?

[00:10:10]Rusty: [00:10:10] You go to and slide down towards the bottom of the page and there big red letters that say, “get my CPBD handbook now.” Click on that, supply a little bit of contact information and you get to download a PDF that you can reference any time you need to.

[00:10:32] Steve: [00:10:32] Very good.

[00:10:34] Rusty: [00:10:34] I believe that two years is only associated with the exam. I haven’t seen a instance yet that makes you wait and unless you’re involved with the actual exam itself.

[00:10:47] Steve: [00:10:47] Right? Yeah. I think it’s like reviewing the questions or something to that effect.

[00:10:52] Rusty: [00:10:52] Direct knowledge of what’s there. I believe.

[00:10:56]Steve: [00:10:56] You’ve seen hundreds of applications come in, what’s some of the most common errors that you see?

[00:11:03] Rusty: [00:11:03] Well, one of the biggest things I believe that delays anybody from submitting is just overthinking the submittal process. It’s not a huge event to supply the information that we need. Since most people going for the CPBD exam have been in the design profession for usually quite a while.

[00:11:26]Just getting the information submitted is the first step. Whenever anything’s missing, I come back and let you know. I won’t let you go without knowing what is missing or what’s causing it not to be approved. That’s the one thing I would tell anybody to just get over and supply the information the best of your knowledge.

[00:11:49] And I will do the rest from there and let you know what we’re looking for at the end. So really just taking the step and getting in there. It seems to be the most common error is not getting in and doing it. Any other errors we can work through, but that error I can’t do anything about.

[00:12:11] Steve: [00:12:11] I remember back in the nineties my application set on my desk for like three years.

[00:12:17]But back then it was a two day or three day long test, 10 different parts. We’ve narrowed that down to three hours, 175 questions and all multiple choice. And the old days, I had to actually design a house to get certified.

[00:12:32]Rusty: [00:12:32] A timely submittal helps because I have seen letters of verification for employers that they haven’t worked for a super long time, or they haven’t had the signature on the form for a little while. And sometimes getting responses back can be an issue. So, holding on to a package causes its own problems, but, it is what it is at that point. But, that would be one thing I could recommend is trying not to sit on it for too long and letting those dates get outdated to where people forget what they may have wrote for you.

[00:13:07] Steve: [00:13:07] Gotcha. So what is the process? How do people verify their experience and what kind of documentation do you receive?

[00:13:15] Rusty: [00:13:15] Well, first, completing the required, areas of the submittal help, just kind of connect the lines, draw, give dates and times and job tasks and everything like that.

[00:13:27]A lot of times people use the letter of verification that’s supplied with the application that comes in the CPBD handbook. It’s a nice little template to supply all the information needed for us to verify. So emails, phone numbers, addresses, all that is right there and a description of what’s been accomplished in your work time frame there.

[00:13:53]Another thing, some people feel like only their employer can sign a letter of verification, but it can be anybody to an engineer or a contractor or anything  that’s been with you through your time as a design professional. Self-employed people have the options to supply W2’s.

[00:14:13]Which, another mistake I see is people not redacting out their social security number when they do submit W2’s. I do my best to touch that and do it for them on my end, but it sure would be helpful to not have that information supplied to me, but, I do my best to keep everything as safe as I can with that information and black it out immediately when I see it.

[00:14:36]So really, we just have to be able to span a six year window, from one end to the other six years. There is a minimum of three years if you’ve gone to school and have the transcripts and/or the diploma to back up your education towards that minimum requirement. But, that’s one problem I see every once in a while.

[00:14:59] Not very often, but someone that’s pretty much right out of school and all they have is the education. The education just isn’t enough to get our minimum requirements. So that’s causing an issue here or there. But not very often are those people going for the certification.

[00:15:20] Steve: [00:15:20] So do you ever do it?

[00:15:21] Does anybody ever get turned down?

[00:15:26]Rusty: [00:15:26] I believe I might have one person working on it now that may have been a little preemptive in submitting an application, because I think they are in that realm of not having the practical experience outside of school. He’s still inside the window, so I can’t say yes, someone has been denied yet because so far I don’t think I’ve denied anyone that has supplied all the needed information.

[00:15:51]Most people doing this pretty much know what they’re going for and can supply the information.

[00:16:02] So far? No, I have not denied anyone. They might not have gotten through the first time, and I’m awaiting things. Since April, I’ve taken 14 registrations, 13 complete applications, and I have three in draft mode, and only two needing more information. All the others have been approved and they’re ready to take the CPPD exam on their terms when they decide that date and time.

[00:16:30]So far I’m doing pretty good since the new online application has become available.

[00:16:36] Steve: [00:16:36] And how long does it take to get approved once you’ve submitted?

[00:16:41] Rusty: [00:16:41] Well, depending on workload and when one submitted, I try to get them approved and go through their application within a day or two and at least get feedback back to them, if not full on approval.

[00:16:55]With my job becoming the first certification director, it’s opened up some of my time to be ready to move as soon as I see things happening with certifications where before it was a little bit more strung out because of so many tasks that I had. Sometimes I had to come back around before I could get onto it.

[00:17:17]The way we’ve been doing things recently, it’s given me time to focus and prioritize. The CPBD applications are at the top of my priority.

[00:17:30] Steve: [00:17:30] What’s the fastest have you kept track of, like your personal best?

[00:17:35] Rusty: [00:17:35] One day.

[00:17:36] Steve: [00:17:36] One day. All right.

[00:17:38] Rusty: [00:17:38] Yeah. No, I’ve had one day. I can’t tell you how long the longest has been.

[00:17:43] There’s been a couple that have been out there and are close to their one year window, but I have reached out to everybody in our applicant file and touch base with them and heard back from a few of them. So, I’m trying to get them in before they reach their application expired date because they’ve let it go for awhile without getting back to me.

[00:18:05]The last few I’ve contacted expire at the end of next month, so they have a month and a half, but most of them all they are doing is lacking a letter of verification or something I can use to prove their six years of experience. So they’re not lacking that much. They just need that last little push over the hill.

[00:18:25]They’re in that three year window to prepare for the exam. So that’s what I spent most of last week doing, is going through and reaching out to all applicants that I have on file right now.

[00:18:38] Steve: [00:18:38] And so once you get approved, you’ve got three years to take the exam or pass it, I should say.

[00:18:44] Rusty: [00:18:44] Yes, you have three years to complete and pass the exam.

[00:18:49]If you were to fail, there’s as many retakes as necessary inside of that three year window.

[00:19:00]Steve: [00:19:00] Yeah. Before you mentioned something about drafts. That’s something new. We’ve never had drafts before. It used to be that we would require that you turned in like a paper and pencil application or a PDF version of the application. But we’ve gone online April 1st and, how’s that working out?

[00:19:20] Rusty: [00:19:20] Yeah, it’s doing pretty good. As I mentioned, 14 registrations, 13 applications. I did mention the three drafts. Those are people that have not submitted their application, but they began gathering the information and uploading it. So until it gets submitted, I don’t have much interaction with a draft.

[00:19:40] So, I do recommend trying to gather all the information and doing it all at once, but, there is the availability to be in a draft mode. So we will take note of how those drafts progress and see if that’s helpful to have the draft option.

[00:20:03] Steve: [00:20:03] What you’re referring to is you pay your fee online and it gives you access to an online, like a portfolio type webpage where you fill in the blanks as far as your experience and everything. And there’s places where you can upload either your letters of verification or copies of your business licenses or college transcripts, whatever you need to to upload.

[00:20:29]But you can work on that at kind of your own pace. So that’s what you mean by a draft mode is people that have started the process but haven’t quite uploaded everything. And then, once they hit submit, that’s when you go to work?

[00:20:42] Rusty: [00:20:42] Yes, sir. And I’d have to check my emails, but I believe I’ve even reached out to those three people in draft mode to ask if there was anything they needed, any information on or what was holding them up.

[00:20:57] So, same thing, they’re on my list because their name is there and they’ve already shown enough interest in the certification that I’m going to keep reaching out to them until I get an answer.

[00:21:10] Steve: [00:21:10] And that’s a really cool opportunity that we didn’t have before. If you were filling out a PDF application or a paper one and mailing it to us, you wouldn’t know that my application sat on my desk for three years, but now we start the process and we have the ability to have that interaction with people who start it, but don’t quite finish it immediately.

[00:21:30] Rusty: [00:21:30] Yeah. It’s kind of interesting to have that heads up information that we didn’t have before.

[00:21:39] Steve: [00:21:39] So Bill Murray has written in and said, he thinks that you did his application in one day. So, way to go, Bill for having all your paperwork in order. So, Eric writes, is it still a requirement to submit three sets of working drawings.

[00:21:56] Rusty: [00:21:56] No, it is no longer a requirement to submit working drawings. That was taken off the board a couple years ago. I don’t remember the actual date, but, that hasn’t been being done for a while. That speeds the process up quite a lot because that was the biggest holdup with the old way of submitting an application.

[00:22:18] The review of those plans was quite extensive and hard to get done.

[00:22:26]Steve: [00:22:26] Fenelon Diaz says that they’ve been approved to take the tests and one of the biggest concerns about the CPBD is how valuable is it for the city building permits? Is this certification worth something for city reviewers and getting permits for construction?

[00:22:45] Rusty: [00:22:45] Well, the certification is not related to licensure, therefore, the cities cannot recognize it as a registered design professional. So, the biggest state that recognizes it is Texas and Florida. They have quite a lot of municipalities that recognize it. There’s also some other HUD single family loan program. 1924 dash A. Austin, Texas has an expedited permit process for architects, engineers, and CPBDs as well as Kansas City has an expedited permit process for architects, engineers, and CPBDs. Woodland, Texas, they have a few neighborhoods that require that also or use that as being able to apply for building permits in their neighborhoods. So, those are the communities and programs we’re aware of at this time. So there may be others out there that we are just unaware of without being there ourselves.

[00:23:47] Steve: [00:23:47] Yeah. I know there’s a couple in Palm Beach County, Florida that those communities have long been since built out. So there may be some remodeling work that CPBDs are doing. There’s some communities in Orlando, but I don’t recall the names. I remember working with one of our members in cashiers, North Carolina. I think it might’ve been somewhere in the mountains of North Carolina where there was a golf course community that we had the opportunity to go in and pitch the certification and they accept both architects and certified professional building designers as a approved people that can submit plans. That particular action is more of a function of AIBDs legislative committees, our people that we do for lobbying, we have an attorney that we have on call that’s the former in house counsel for National Kitchen and Bath Association that when we get in a situation where a city saying that you’re not allowed to prepare plans in their community, we put Ed on their tail and he’s a bulldog when it comes to getting the lobbying done for us.

[00:24:53] Rusty: [00:24:53] Some more information on that because it’s a question I hear quite a lot. So it would be nice to have a little bit more complete information on where it’s recognized in that way.

[00:25:06] Steve: [00:25:06] Yeah. Well, theoretically though, it’s not recognized as a substitute for architecture or engineering in any municipality.

[00:25:14]Everybody depends on the state laws, which exempt single family, two family, and in many cases, some townhouses from requirement of being licensed to design those particular buildings as long as they don’t exceed certain size or height limitations.

[00:25:31] Charles says that he was late getting on, but he’s wondering when the practice test is going to be done.

[00:25:37] And, all I can say is that if I could foresee the future, I’d be at the racetrack, not in this position, but, we’re working on it. We worked on creating our existing exam that we’re delivering now for what was it Rusty, like three or four years, starting with a job analysis.

[00:25:58]We started with a job analysis. And then we created an exam blueprint and that exam blueprint, you can find starting on page 39 of the candidate handbook where it lays out, I think it’s 140 some different knowledge areas and sub knowledge areas that our subject matter experts identified as the information that you should know as a building designer with six years of experience.

[00:26:25] And so that’s really the extent of what we have available right now for preparation materials. But writing a practice exam, according to the ANSI ISO standards, is identical to creating an exam that we’re going to score with a couple exceptions.

[00:26:43]First, we don’t have to do another job analysis and an exam blueprint.

[00:26:47] We already have those. So we went right into the item writing and review process.

[00:26:52] The last thing that’s going to expedite it when the time comes is that the real exam we had to do what was called standard setting. And standard setting is when you get a certain number of people that go out and actually take the test and then the psychometricians go through and analyze the questions.

[00:27:09] And at that point we had like 225, 235 questions. I think it was, out of the 235, lots of them were thrown away as either being way too easy, way too hard, or just dumb questions.

[00:27:23] And those were all decided by a group of subject matter experts that we had that reviewed all 235 of them, one at a time and rated them themselves as to how relevant they were to our industry.

[00:27:37] So like you said, Rusty, no one person has done this and no one person is going to create our practice exam either because it’s gotta be as real of an experience as we can make it.

[00:27:49] The questions have to be written in the same manner, so that when you get to taking the actual exam, there’s no surprises.

[00:27:57]They will be different questions, but they will be written in the same manner and delivered in the same manner and tested and reviewed in the same manner.

[00:28:07] So, hang in there. I’m still hoping for this year. 

[00:28:11] Although it’s not a practice test Rusty, you take the real exam and if you don’t pass, what happens?

[00:28:21] Rusty: [00:28:21] Well, first I’ll contact you. Usually within a day I get alerted, when the exam is completed. And if you have not passed, I will supply you an exam breakdown of your results so that it helps kind of direct your studies for the retake exam into the areas that you actually need to better yourself.

[00:28:46] So that has been a huge benefactor in getting people to take the exam quickly after failing. And so far, I don’t believe I’ve given anybody those results twice.

[00:28:59] Usually the second time around, they do better and their score goes up. So that’s obviously showing that it’s helping because it lets the applicant or the candidate focus on what they need to learn and not just refocus on learning everything again.

[00:29:18] So, I think it’s been a huge decider in getting people back in the system rather than prolonging it by going and trying to relearn things that they’ve already passed.

[00:29:32] Steve: [00:29:32] And so how do you communicate that to someone?

[00:29:37] Rusty: [00:29:37] Well, usually the fact that it’s coming or what do you mean?

[00:29:42] Steve: [00:29:42] No, you’re saying what you send them as the breakdown will tell them where they need to study.

[00:29:46] How do they know that? What are you sending them and how does it communicate where they need to study?

[00:29:53] Rusty: [00:29:53] It’ll be a breakdown of the sections of the exam, just like it’s listed in the handbook, except it’ll give percentage weights towards that section. So you can see if you’ve done 85% correct in that section, or 25%, and it lines up with certain sections of the exam.

[00:30:14] So, you know which area you should be focusing in on. If it’s building design or office type stuff, running an office. Wish I had one broke down that I could look at, but I don’t have one on my hands here to kind of look at, to remind me of what terms I should be using.

[00:30:34]Everybody has loved it and thanked me very much when they receive it. So, it’s definitely important information to keep the candidate moving forward.

[00:30:46] Steve: [00:30:46] What if somebody has taken the test, but they did it and they failed before we started that procedure? Is it too late to go back and get that information?

[00:30:57]Rusty: [00:30:57] I don’t believe it’s too late. If it was required, I can attempt to go back and get it.

[00:31:03] I’ve been back into 2019 recently to gather some results for someone that requested them.

[00:31:11]In, was it April? I believe, with the online ability, we instituted the policy to supply it without asking to anyone who fails.

[00:31:22] So, I haven’t had many requests for going back in time to get that information. But, if it was requested, I would do my best to provide it or provide a reason why I can’t.

[00:31:37] Steve: [00:31:37] And then what percentage do you think passes; do you keep track of that statistic?

[00:31:44]Rusty: [00:31:44] Not really. As much as I want every one to pass, I really wasn’t concerned with the percentages of passing.

[00:31:52]Once again, just trying to stay neutral and treat every person as one.

[00:31:58] I don’t worry about the CPBD program as necessarily a whole as I try and focus on that one person and that one application at a time.

[00:32:09] So, I kind of just focus on what’s happening now and then worry about what happens next.

[00:32:15] Steve: [00:32:15] Larry has asked a couple questions here.

[00:32:18] There are several architectural firms that do not do residential drawings. I’m not sure how that replies. You may have to expound.

[00:32:29]Rusty: [00:32:29] Most architects don’t seem to want to do residential houses, and that’s why we as a building designers have a profession.

[00:32:40] Steve: [00:32:40] Good point. But Larry, if there was a question there, you may have to reformulate that and send it in. But also he asks is the score 70 overall or per section?

[00:32:51]There’s not really a percentage. You’d have to dig in to the Candidate handbook. But the candidate handbook gives you a number of questions. Rusty, do you recall what it is? It’s like 95 or 97 out of the…

[00:33:03] Rusty: [00:33:03] not off the top of my head. I know it comes off of the way the questions are weighted can affect it.

[00:33:10] So one question might be weighted a little bit more than another question. So you might have to get two questions right compared to one question so that’s kind of hard to say what you’re looking for.

[00:33:25] Steve: [00:33:25] Yeah. That’s all broken down in the candidate handbook though.

[00:33:27]It’s not a percentage. I mean, you can easily take the number that the handbook says and divide it by the number of questions there are and come up with a percentage.

[00:33:36]But when the counsel did the standard setting process, the standards required that there be a fixed number of questions that need to get answered correctly, rather than a percentage.

[00:33:48] And when you pass or fail, you just are told that you passed or failed at the moment when you hit submit.

[00:33:56] But then, like you said, Rusty, you get that report, then you know what areas you were weak in .

[00:34:03] Again, if you’re really good at math, you could probably figure out what your score was, but it just breaks down each of the sections by percentage of correction answers.

[00:34:11] Rusty: [00:34:11] The minimum number of correct answers to pass is 97.

[00:34:16] Steve: [00:34:16] Yeah. You must have just pulled out the handbook.

[00:34:18] Bill threw that question in there too, so that’s the magic number you’re searching for is a 97.

[00:34:26] So I’ve taken the exam, I hit submit and it told me I passed. What happens next, Rusty?

[00:34:32]Rusty: [00:34:32] Well, I will contact you by email and give you a congratulations and a letter that kind of dictates what is next.

[00:34:42] It will have the CU requirements that will have to be obtained for that year. Which is also outlined in the handbook.

[00:34:51]Most of any of my correspondences during this process won’t come out of the blue. They’ll be referenced in the handbook, so you’ll kind of know what’s coming after each step.

[00:35:02]The certification fee has to be collected of $165 for the year.

[00:35:08]Once that’s collected, your certification is turned active and you will receive a digital certification mark from me. There are options to order a traditional hand stamp, a rubber stamp for stamping every drawing.

[00:35:24] But I have found that most people today are interested in the digital certification mark, which can be applied to your title block and easily printed out on every page.

[00:35:36] Some people still like the hand stamp with whatever color they choose. And those can be ordered from me for $45.

[00:35:45] I will supply a order form with that letter that’s supplied after you pass the exam so you can reach out at any time and request it.

[00:35:55]There is an embossed stamp that you can order. It’s $140. And it’s similar to the squeezy stamp that you’d see an architect or an engineer use.

[00:36:05] But anytime anybody’s interested in any of this, even if it’s not right after they get certified, all they have to do is reach out to me and I will get them the information they need to complete the order.

[00:36:16] So, I’m very reachable. I have a phone number and email address or you can call me at, NCBDC phone number at eight eight, eight seven two six, seven, six five, nine or as always, just contact AIBD’s toll free number and Amber will get you to me one way or the other.

[00:36:45] Feel free if you have a question, contact me and I’ll do my best to help you in within the allowable means.

[00:36:53] Steve: [00:36:53] The rubber stamp, even though I’ve worked in 11 different States, which is pretty cool that I didn’t have to get reciprocation to do that. But, even though the seal itself is not a licensure or, really it’s, for me, it was just a marketing tool, but it was more than that.

[00:37:13]I used it as a means to thwart copyright infringement. The little box that I would create on my border to put my stamp in and I would signature sign it. I don’t think the policies require that you have to use your certification mark just because you are certified.

[00:37:32] But if you do use it, I think you have to sign and date. We’d have to look up the policies on that. But, I would use red ink and I would stamp it in red and then in the fine print, the copyright warning area and the bottom of that little square and my title block would state copyright 2000, whatever. If this stamp is not in red, then these plans may have been illegally copied and that was a great opportunity to use it. It does add that security with the hand stamp.

[00:38:06] Larry wants to know if he can get both, the rubber stamp and the embossed seal.

[00:38:15] Rusty: [00:38:15] We can make that happen.

[00:38:18] Steve: [00:38:18] All right. I think we’ve kind of gone through all the questions that I had jotted down, Rusty. Is there anything that I’ve missed that you want to make sure that everybody know?

[00:38:30]Rusty: [00:38:30] We were talking about how we promote certification. We start by promoting you as a CPBD in our weekly email, the MondayMINUTE, which I’m sure anybody on the podcast is familiar with. So, we send that out once a week on every Monday. The recent CPBDs are listed in there for a few weeks so they can get their recognition with our contact list that way. We have directories that if anybody contacts us looking for information on a designer in their area, we direct them to and they can click on find a certified designer. They can search by zip code or their state or the CPBD names, and they can also verify that their CPBD number is current and they’re still keeping up on other requirements.

[00:39:23]I love directing people towards the directory because I know they’re getting in contact with people involved with our organization.

[00:39:31]Steve: [00:39:31] I’ve heard that we get phone calls from building officials, plan reviewers that are looking at the directory.

[00:39:38] Rusty: [00:39:38] Yep. Sometimes they’re just looking for some information and just trying to confirm a stamp or anything they’re seeing, and they can see their initial certification date and when it expires, so they’re able to validate that that person is indeed certified at that moment if they’re submitting plans that require that certification

[00:40:01] Steve: [00:40:01] Larry, wants to know if the stamp will fit and inch and a half by inch and a half area on his border. I would imagine the digital one would cause you can shrink it to fit whatever size you need. But I don’t recall. Do you remember what size the rubber stamps are?

[00:40:17] Rusty: [00:40:17] The hand stamp itself is, I believe, two inches by two inches.

[00:40:22] But what the way the image is put on there, it may make it inside that timeframe. I don’t have one with me, so I can’t look at it and guess, but I believe it will be very close to fitting. If I ever get into the office again, I could look at one, but, at this moment, I believe it will fit, but it’s going to be close because the stamp itself is two inch by two inch.

[00:40:48] And when you look at the stamp, it’s inside of that size. So, that’s really all I can say without having a stamp in my hand.

[00:40:56] Steve: [00:40:56] Gotcha. And we never have that kind of stuff on our hands cause this virtual COVID type scenario that we’re experience, AIBD has been working in that fashion.

[00:41:08] We’ve been offering the exam online now for what, two or three years? Even the old style eight part exam was offered online for a little while before we got to the version that we’re offering now.

[00:41:20] But also, when you order a stamp, Rusty sends that out to a vendor who makes the stamp and sends it directly to you so we don’t handle it.

[00:41:29] Same thing with your diploma.

[00:41:31]We forgot to mention to them about the diplomas. Rusty, tell them about that.

[00:41:36]Rusty: [00:41:36] Once you’ve been approved and everything is said and done, certification fee accepted, it’s every first and 15th of the month I put out an order for CPBD diplomas.

[00:41:49] So anybody that has passed the exam in that timeframe, their CPBD diploma will be printed and mailed directly to them. It usually can take four to six weeks. I haven’t heard of it taking any longer than that. So it’s not that long to get your diploma so you can put it on your wall and get some recognition for it.

[00:42:17]It used to be quite extensive to get that job done and we’ve streamlined it quite well and made it a little easier to do one or two diplomas at a time rather than we used to try to collect 10 or 15 to make it not so costly to get printing done. And now we’ve streamlined that, made it easier to get them to you in a timely fashion.

[00:42:43] Steve: [00:42:43] And you’ve got some fancy frames that have an AIBD embossed logo on them too, that you can offer.

[00:42:52]Rusty: [00:42:52] Yeah. I do the Framing for Success flyer. There should be a flyer coming with your diploma when you receive it.

[00:43:01] If you happen to not receive it with your diploma, please feel free to reach out to me and request it and I will get you the needed information.

[00:43:09] Our supplier of the diplomas originally requests when they need a new batch of flyers to supply, and I have not seen a request for awhile, so I’m assuming they still have enough information to pass along that you guys should be receiving it.

[00:43:24] Steve: [00:43:24] Yeah, and I believe that the homepage there that you let everybody to before I believe we’ve got a photograph there of a proud CPBD hanging their frame on the wall. So you can kind of see what all that looks like.

[00:43:38] Rusty: [00:43:38] Yes, you are correct. There is a nice picture there with the frame on the wall.

[00:43:47] Steve: [00:43:47] James writes in are their press release type announcements about the CPBD certification from AIBD that can be used?

[00:43:59] Rusty: [00:43:59] Besides the Monday Minutes? I’m not sure. Well, that’s something else that the question is asking.

[00:44:06] Steve: [00:44:06] Yeah, that’s a good question. I don’t think we do, but that’s an awesome

[00:44:09] Rusty: [00:44:09] idea.

[00:44:10]I’m not aware of anything that we could do or where we would do it.  That’s something to work on in the future, I suppose.

[00:44:19]Steve: [00:44:19] James stay on us for that. We’ll make a to do in Basecamp and get that done.

[00:44:24]We’ve got press release templates that we use for those that win either an ARDA award or a BDA award. So, I’m sure we can quickly come up with something that addresses a certification.

[00:44:34]Great idea, James. Thanks for bringing that up.

[00:44:37]I think we’re running out of time here, Rusty. The hour seemed to really go fast once we get talking about certification.

[00:44:43]Rusty: [00:44:43] The last thing I believe I had was how do I get CPBD after my name in the roster.

[00:44:49] I have the first step to get the CPBD after your name. It’s a go to and download the CPBD handbook.

[00:44:58] If you already are a CPBD and want a designation added, you can log into your AIBD members center and add CPBD and your designation.

[00:45:08] If you need any help with that, feel free to contact me and I can help reset your passwords or get you in there if you’re driving down the road and pick up the phone and call me and want it added.

[00:45:25]Once again, I’m real reachable and love taking care of your guys’s requests. So, feel free to reach out whenever you need to.

[00:45:37]Steve: [00:45:37] All right. Well, thanks Rusty for taking the time to share with us all the policies and procedures and processes that you go through to become a CPBD, but then giving us your perspective as far as the stuff you’ve seen and what it takes to be able to get through the process most efficiently.

[00:45:59] Rusty: [00:45:59] Yeah. Well, the most efficient way to get through the process is to get started. I’m here to help you guys do that.

[00:46:05] Steve: [00:46:05] I like that. And you were the one that coined the phrase in our office, the sooner you get behind, the more time you have to catch up.

[00:46:13]Since taking over certification, you’ve done 180 degrees on that mindset.

[00:46:17] So good job.

[00:46:20] Rusty: [00:46:20] Trying. And this at home thing is a new chore for me, especially with a little one at home during the day. But, I’m trying to expand my horizons.

[00:46:31] Steve: [00:46:31] Yeah. Well, the whole world is doing it from home, so, don’t stress out about that. I think everybody’s going to be a little more forgiving going forward, for the kind of surprises that come up working in that kind of environment.

[00:46:44] Rusty: [00:46:44] I hope so.

[00:46:47]Steve: [00:46:47] I appreciate you guys attending. Hopefully you found the information useful. We got a couple of minutes for a last second question if they come in, but I’m seeing some thanks being entered into the question box, so you’re quite welcome.

[00:47:01]We’ll do this again. Hopefully we’ll have a guest next month. We do our best to line up a recent CPBD that’s willing to talk about what they went through.

[00:47:10] So, hopefully it’s one of you guys that’ll be testing in the next 30 days, and you can contact me, right away and say, Hey, I want to be a guest on the show.

[00:47:20] I know Larry will be. He’s been working at this for quite some time. I think you’ve got it scheduled, don’t you, Larry? For some time in may. Or, in June, I forget, but, at any rate, with that, remember to go to

[00:47:34] You can go back and listen to some of our past recordings. Also gets you to all of our on demand education. gets you directly to all of our conferences.

[00:47:51] So, one more time, Rusty. Thank you very much. And everybody have a great afternoon.

[00:47:58]Rusty: [00:47:58] Thank you all.

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