By Chris Dougherty
Certified RV technician
In 1984 the RV industry, led by our friend Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor, developed some of the first formal testing methods for RV technicians. The idea, according to Gary, was to have a baseline to determine how much a technician knew, a platform to determine how new technicians were to be trained, and a basis for developing a training curriculum. The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) along with the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) took that idea further and created a formal certification program for the RV industry. It’s still a work in progress and always will be. As technology and our industry changes, the information technicians must know will also change.
Recently, I was honored to have been invited to serve on the RVIA committee to completely revamp the RV Service Technician (RVST) Standard to which RV technician training in the coming years will be based, including textbooks and test questions. The group, which met in Dallas, included 16 RV experts and professionals from all different segments of the industry — from RV manufacturers and suppliers to dealers, educators and independent technicians. For four days we went through the 125-page document line by line. It was a challenging task, but well worth it.
The people there were among the most progressive people in the industry. They were not compensated for their attendance, by the way — it’s a volunteer position.
The economic downturn hurt the program, and many certified techs had to leave the industry. In addition, many shops could not afford to maintain the training or certification.
As the economy improved, RV industry training has also improved. Many certified techs are coming back, but still many are not. Many businesses and individuals just don’t see the benefit of having trained and certified techs work in their shops.
A certified technician is an assurance that he or she has demonstrated a certain skill level of their craft and can perform to that level. This is a plus for the dealership, knowing that time won’t be wasted on the shop floor figuring everything out, and that jobs will more likely be done correctly the first time, with fewer customer returns and more satisfied customers. For the RVer, the certified tech is the best friend he or she can have to make sure that their RV is cared for in the best way possible, and that a job will likely be done the right the first time.
There isn’t currently a list of certified techs and shops available, so you need to call your shop and engage them in the conversation.
I encourage every RVer who reads this to seek out and use certified RV technicians. I encourage every dealer and service center principal reading this to get all your techs trained and certified. And I encourage every tech reading this to honor their craft and their profession and get certified.
I am a huge proponent, supporter, participant and booster of the certified RV technician program. You should be, too.