The Institute’s New Curriculum
The RV Technical Institute's (the Institute) curriculum development team has mapped out exactly what will be required of techs moving forward and what training should look like. The team consists of 16 subject matter experts from the supplier, manufacturer, dealer and independent technician realms of the RV industry.
“Years ago, we had a skill-based program for assessing whether technicians were properly trained. It’s more time consuming and expensive, but what we have heard from dealers, techs and suppliers over the past couple of years is that it’s still the best way to evaluate the necessary skills,” said Sharonne Lee, senior director of education.
“Knowing how to fix a furnace is one thing but being able to troubleshoot the electrical systems to conclude that the furnace is fine and that something else is causing the problem is another thing entirely,” Lee stated. According to Lee, there will still be a written test to measure a person’s knowledge, but both methods are needed to test the real-world application of the knowledge.
Lee provided the example of RV Propane leaks: “The existing test asks trainees to identify the name of the specific chemical added to propane that causes that distinct propane smell. Knowing the name of the chemical may be interesting but it is irrelevant to the matter at hand: techs need to know how to identify the smell and determine what the smell means, not what the name of the chemical is.”
The Institute’s approach will apply this practical application to all its future-state curriculum and credentialing processes. In addition, moving forward, the RV Technical Institute will build vendor and supplier training into the methodology for more advanced credentialing. The institute will provide theory-based training as the initial building blocks in the program. The next levels will involve the more involved supplier-specific training from vendors. This will allow technicians to become a generalist or specialize in a specific area such as appliances, low voltage, attachments, etc.
“Right now, we need to build service. We need to train existing technicians and recruit new people into the field. Our only goal for the moment is getting the service piece perfected. While there are opportunities for the institute to expand in the future to other types of training, the primary focus of the institute is service technician training,” said Lee.
As to the specifics of the Institute’s curriculum, Level 1 (Pre-Delivery Inspection or PDI) and Level 2 (Theory of Operation and Troubleshooting) will be divided into 7 courses, which will be further divided into 37 Modules.
Meanwhile, as noted, the current TnT supplier component training program will become Level 3 (RVTI Supplier Component Specialty Tracks).
Here is the anticipated schedule for curriculum development:
- Level 1: Late November 2018
- Level 2: Late April 2019
- Level 3: May 2019
Once developed, RVTI will pilot test the new curriculum then roll it out to the entire industry both directly as well as through regional training partners.
The Future of RV Tech Credentialing
As for credentials and certifications, the team is developing a bridge program that carries technicians that have already been trained into the new program. The details are still being worked out but those who have achieved registered status, master certified or another level of training will be given a matching credential under the new structure. The TnT program’s existing credentials will be modified and brought under the new umbrella of credentials created by the Institute.
In fact, TnT training is still available. Details about upcoming training sessions can be found here.