Candidates are now being recruited to take part in the piloting of the new tests supporting the newly adopted RV Service Technician Career Ladder (pictured).
In support of the revised career ladder, staff has revised the general certification test, developed a registered technician test, and developed five specialty certification tests in the areas of body, chassis, electrical systems, appliances and plumbing.
A mix of non-certified, certified and master certified candidates is needed to assist in piloting each of the seven tests for the new certification process. Individuals willing to take part in piloting the new tests should contact Nancy Jo Bell-London in the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s (RVIA) Education department at (703) 620-6003, ext. 355 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are no registration fees associated with taking the pilot tests. After the tests have been piloted, NOCTI (National Occupational Competency Testing Institute), industry experts and staff will gather for a cut-score meeting to review the tests and determine passing scores. Candidates who pass the tests will be awarded their certifications. There are no penalties for not passing a pilot test; and already-certified candidates will maintain their current certifications.
The new RV Service Technician Career Ladder provides technicians two paths to certification; the certification that exists today (left path) and new specialty certifications (right path). The specialty path provides a way to recognize and reward those individuals who may only work on segments of the RV and not the whole RV.
In addition, a level of “registered” technician is provided at the beginning of either path to give recognition and reward to those entry-level technicians.
Master certification will be achieved by either the proper score on the general certification path (left path) or maintaining a current certification in all the specialty areas.
Pricing, test availability and re-certification requirements will be determined once the tests have been developed, piloted and approved. The target date for the launch of tests and training materials to support the career ladder is October 2011.
Editor’s Note: The following column was written and provided by Mike Molino, president of the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) and appears in the December issue of RV Executive Today under the headline, “Why Aren’t There More Certified RV Technicians?”
The past chairmen of RVDA are helping the staff and boards solve some big industry problems. Many of the past chairmen met by conference call to tackle a big question: Why aren’t there more certified RV technicians?
All agreed that dealers want qualified employees. No one disagreed when one of the past chairmen made a definitive statement about certified RV technicians. He said, given a choice between hiring a certified technician or one not certified, he believed that every dealer would choose the certified technician. If that’s the case, why isn’t there at least one certified technician in every RV dealership?
It is difficult for the group of past RVDA chairmen to answer those questions. It’s like asking the choir of a church why so many parishioners don’t come to church every week. The choir comes to church. RVDA leaders employ certified technicians. Both groups can only speculate about why the others don’t participate.
Where have we been? Let’s review some background. About 22 years ago, dealers, manufacturers, and suppliers under RVIA and RVDA met with a goal of improving the competence of RV technicians. Trying to solve the technician competence gap was a logical first step in improving industry professionalism. RVDA and RVIA invested the time, energy, and money necessary to develop technician testing and certification.
RVDA and RVIA staffs adapted RV employee testing and certification from programs in other industries, e.g., the automotive industry which has the “ASE Certified” program. RV industry experts (dealership technicians, service managers, dealer owners, and technicians in the service departments of RV manufacturers and suppliers) developed a curriculum (DACUM) with standards and tests.
By passing the test the job holder/candidate demonstrates that he/she has the knowledge required to do the job. How the person got the knowledge is not very important. There is no requirement to attend any specific training course.
The RVDA-RVIA RV Service Technician Certification Governing Board administers the program. RVDA and RVIA name six members each to the board. The Chairman is always an RVDA dealer. The vice chairman is always an RVIA member. Find more on technician certification at www.rvtechnican.com.
Many dealers have taken advantage of this program to improve the knowledge of their technicians and the efficiency of their service department. Most will tell you, it more than pays for itself in the first year or two. Improving knowledge improves efficiency. Faster diagnosis and fewer come-backs improve the bottom line. One dealer told us, there is at least a 30% difference between certified technicians and those who are not certified.
There are not enough certified technicians to meet the needs of the industry. Chart #1 (at left, top) shows the growth of certified technicians from 2005 to August 2010. Don’t get lulled by the growth, however. Chart #2 (at left, middle) shows the total number of RV technicians employed in 2008 and 2009. The 2010 number won’t be available until May 2011. The chart also shows the number of those technicians who held certification through August 2010. Roughly 1/4 to 1/3 are certified.
How many should be certified? Many dealers find so much benefit in having their technicians certified that they mandate 100 percent participation. To stay employed, a technician has to be certified or working toward certification.
Chart #3 (bottom) shows where the currently certified technicians work. It also gives an indication that non-dealers value certification more than many dealers. Does that mean they are taking work from dealers? We report; you decide.
The past chairmen will send some recommendations to the RVDA chairman soon. Other industry leaders, such as Richard Coon of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), are also working on recommendations. We expect the industry to soon have requirements for technician certification. Dealers who get their people trained and certified now will be way ahead of the “power curve.” They will also see improvement in the bottom line of the service department and in the true bottom lines of customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Thanks for your support and may God bless you all.
The new industry research examining the RV service technician position has completed the field portion of the project with data from survey respondents now being tabulated and compiled, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) has reported.
RVIA’s RV Service Training Council (RVST) is conducting the study to determine the current need for RV service technicians; identify how to best communicate with future RV service technicians; and evaluate the impact of the RV industry’s training and certification programs on service delivery and customer satisfaction. Final results are expected the end of the year.
In conducting the research, the Boone Group, a full-service market research and competitive intelligence firm serving associations, businesses and publications, sent print and electronic questionnaires to three different groups: RV dealer principals, RV service technicians, and RV owners. To encourage completion of the questionnaires, research participants for each survey group were entered in a raffle for a 46-inch flat screen TV.
Those winning the TVs in the raffle drawings held on Nov. 8 were Dave Mestek, master certified technician at Blaine Jensen RV Centers of Salt Lake City, Utah, in the technician category; Joey Shields, Pan Pacific RV Centers of French Camp, Calif., in the dealer category; and Rolfe Mullins of Loudon, Tenn., in the RV owner category.
“We’re looking forward to receiving the final report on this research,” said Bruce Hopkins, RVIA’s vice president of standards and education. “It will provide a benchmark for the industry and be a vital resource in better understanding the service area workplace and the expectations of technicians.”