Masters of Code: Billy Staten achieves the gold standard of code certification
It’s considered the Ph.D. of building safety codes certification. The Master Code Professional (MCP™) is the highest level of designation the International Code Council offers and is the “gold standard” for demonstrating proficiency in the code profession. The Code Council has certified thousands of individuals, but only a small select number have attained this high level of achievement: just over 800 MCP professionals worldwide. Their achievements are a benefit to the code enforcement profession as well as their communities.
To obtain this level of certification requires and demonstrates a commitment to the profession, diverse knowledge of codes and a high level of self-initiative. Billy Staten, Deputy Building Official, City of Bend, Oregon, is the latest to join the elite group of Master Code Professionals. In this exclusive feature for the Building Safety Journal, we asked Billy to share his experience on obtaining the MCP designation, highlights of his professional career and any insights or advice he has concerning the industry.
Billy Staten, CBO, MCP
Deputy Building Official
Building and Planning
International Code Council member for 15 years
Bend Chapter of the ICC
BSJ: What led you to pursue and obtain MCP certification?
Staten: Achieving an MCP has been a long-time goal and I had earned numerous certifications but wasn’t sure I would achieve that level of professionalism or dedicate the time in the few remaining. I really got serious about it some years ago when an admired former Building Official sent me an email with no text, just a picture of his recently attained MCP certification, which was the push I needed to make that mental decision.
BSJ: How did you study and prepare for the many exams you took as a part of your MCP designation?
Staten: Being a plans examiner and inspector for years, I was naturally and constantly applying most of the related codes and very familiar with their content. Even so, I utilized ICC’s online courses, flashcards, and study guides for each exam. All of these resources are deliberate in their ability to teach you how to search and apply code sections to problems. I can boast that I’ve never failed an ICC certification exam. Of course, the biggest advantage was my best friend and wife, Sonya. She spent countless hours quizzing me and helping me study. Without her support and encouragement, none of this would have happened.
BSJ: What does achieving the prestigious MCP status mean to you?
Staten: An esteemed MCP and a good friend told me “You can get a college degree in four years, but it will likely take 10 years or more to achieve MCP.” Dedicating that amount of time and energy says it all. An MCP is a significant and essential designation that symbolizes a promise to the success of this industry and more importantly my personal pledge to public safety. It has been both inspiring and humbling.
BSJ: How would you describe the value or benefits that have come with the recognition of your MCP status?
Staten: Invaluable. Studying for each exam certainly facilitated an expanse of my code knowledge and achieving the MCP designation has already presented improved trustworthiness from our customers as it has demonstrated my commitment to Building safety and successful economic development. The notoriety has been pretty cool as well; people I’ve never met have made contact just to say well done.
BSJ: What advice would you offer to those who are considering pursuing an MCP designation?
Staten: Don’t just study to pass tests, apply what you are learning in your career. This will lead to a better understanding of the entire realm of codes. Pursuing MCP will absolutely take you out of your comfort zone, it’s not going to be easy so focus on one certification at a time. ICC sets students up for success, use all the resources and have confidence in yourself.
BSJ: How long have you been in the industry?
Staten: 30+ years.
BSJ: What major changes have you seen?
Staten: Technology. New products, new construction methods, electronic plan review, our jurisdiction has even begun utilizing drone inspections. Codes are more technical, the industry is certainly trending away from “prescriptive” construction and moving towards AM & M’s (keeps the whole process interesting for sure). I love seeing all the changes in the built environment, because of not only the substantial quality and safety provided but also as it forces us to acquire more knowledge.
BSJ: What excites you about the future of your industry?
Staten: This industry is strong and continues to progress, not only in the development of code and certification requirements; we are endorsing more interest in the Building Inspection Technology programs several colleges provide. Students are graduating with two-year degrees, multiple ICC certifications, and cooperative work experience. I love when our jurisdiction hosts an intern, they are the future of our industry and always immensely eager to administer what they have learned.
BSJ: What is one piece of advice that you would give to those starting out in the industry?
Staten: Building safety is a tremendously challenging and satisfying career path; I do not know one colleague that doesn’t love what they do every day. To know that you are investing your life in the safety of your family and community is priceless. Take your time; build knowledge, gain experience and skills. Set your goals high – and go for it.
BSJ: Building safety is the focal point of our mission here at the Code Council. What is the importance of building safety to you? How has ICC helped you in your career and commitment to public safety?
Staten: I have spent the greatest part of my career seeking to prevent a preventable event. I am passionate about what I do and ICC has always aligned with my goals, is a tremendous ally and I am thrilled to be a member. Rather than waiting for a catastrophe, we perform a significant role in saving lives, protecting property, and reducing recovery costs. ICC provided the path for me to meet those goals.
BSJ: Obtaining all those ICC certifications is quite an accomplishment. What are you going to do now that you have achieved this goal?
Staten: Do what I do every day; apply all that I have learned into safeguarding my community! But first, Sonya & I are going to Cabo for a week.
BSJ: Thank you, Billy, and congratulations. You have definitely been an encouragement to us all in your pursuit of excellence.
To earn the Code Council’s elite MCP designation, a candidate must first pass 10 core Code Council exams plus a number of elective Code Council exams. Typical Master Code Professionals hold 17 or more Code Council certifications. The Master Code Professional designation requires certified individuals to complete an additional 60 hours of Continuing Education Units every three years to maintain active status.
“The Master Code Professional certification is the pinnacle of all Code Council certifications, representing a level of effort, knowledge, and dedication that elevates not only the individual achieving it but the code official profession as a whole,” said Code Council Chief Executive Officer Dominic Sims, CBO.
Master Code Professionals are typically responsible for all technical and management aspects of code enforcement with duties that range from the management of a code enforcement department to the supervision of inspectors and plan reviewers.
“Congratulations to Billy on achieving this important and significant accomplishment,” said Michelle Porter, director of the Code Council’s Assessment Center. “I challenge and encourage all code professionals to strive for this level of achievement, and look forward to congratulating more Master Code Professionals in the future.”
To learn more on how you can join this elite group and let us help you open the door to increased professional challenges and career advancement, click here.