RV technicians searching for options to take certification tests are often limited to online testing sites, but the options could expand.
A school in Florida, with the help of RV Industry Association’s Technicians in Training representatives, will help test a live-proctor, paper-and-pencil exam method, according to RVIA and school officials.
RV Training Center in Clearwater, Fla., will host the June testing, which will correspond with the hands-on training center’s next graduating class.
The exams are typically offered online, and require either an RV Dealers Association or RV Industry Association employee to oversee the testing. With the expansion of RVIA’s Technicians In Training program, a ground representative in Florida is available to oversee the brick-and-mortar testing.
“We’ve arranged with (RVDA and RVIA) to have it done at the end of each of our classes, so if any dealers in the industry have someone who’s been studying for the test and they want to take the test here, we’ll have a proctor here to administer the test,” said RV Training Center’s Bill Romito.
If the tests prove successful – and popular – RVIA Director of Education Sharrone Lee said that the Association might work to expand the brick-and-mortar exam sites.
“Depending on the outcome, it is possible that we could expand the test offerings using our field representatives as proctors. But we will have to see how this works,” Lee said in an email.
The testing is part of a greater effort by industry members to stem the shortage of certified RV technicians in the country, which amounts to a certified technician for every thousand RVs on the road, according to Romito.
“The RV industry has grown so much since the Recession, when a lot of people got out the industry because the dealers slowed down and had to cut back, or lay off,” Romito said. “People got jobs in other fields, and are very slow coming back to the industry, which left a real gap in service technicians.”
In recent years, the RVIA and RVDA have revamped their training and education efforts, with the RVIA adding field-training reps through its TnT program, and the RVDA forming the Society of Certified RV Professionals, in addition to other efforts.
In some cases, third-party organizations such as Romito’s offer aspiring technicians a combination of by-the-book certification training and hands-on training.
The RV Training Center offers four, 10-week training courses per year that are capable of moving a technician through all the necessary training and test-prep.
The courses are capped at about 20 students per course, but Romito said the demand is high enough that his organization will begin offering two, 20-week night courses each year.
“(The night courses) will give the techs in the field the opportunity to still be able to work in the day,” he said. “The dealers won’t miss them out of the bays, and they’ll still be able to get certified training in the evening.”