While many industries suffered in 2020, the RV industry was about as busy as ever, taking advantage of the number of people wanting to travel without the risks associated with planes and hotels amid the pandemic.

Even though manufacturers shut down for weeks during the spring, each of the following months for the rest of the year surpassed the same month in 2019. And while December’s shipment numbers have yet to be released, 2020 is already a better year than 2019, with a total of 390,030 wholesale shipments through November.

One consequence, it appears, is that RV service technician became the third-fastest growing job nationwide in 2020, according to the compensation platform PayScale’s year-over-year report created through crowdsourced data.

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About 80 percent of RVs produced in the U.S. are built in Indiana, according to the RV Industry Association. The vast majority of those are built in Elkhart County, often called the RV capital of the world. For a little more than a year, Elkhart has also been home to the RV Technical Institute, which trains RV service technicians.

SHORTAGE NOT A NEW PROBLEM

Even before 2020, there was a shortage of service technicians, according to RVTI President Curt Hemmeler.

“It is the third-fastest growing job, obviously driven by the tremendous amount of RVs that have been selling, not just in the last year. We’ve had a continuous trend which was really what started the initial investment in RVTI,” he said. “But it was definitely accelerated this past year, as I believe we just recorded the fourth-biggest (shipment) year on record.”

According to Hemmeler, there are roughly 15,000 RV service technicians nationwide. He estimated that there is still a demand for more than 20 percent more for the industry to be able to keep up.

The Elkhart Truth is a daily news organization based in Elkhart, Indiana, that covers Elkhart County in northern Indiana. As a digital publisher, the content on this site has a paywall feature implemented. To read THIS ARTICLE in its entirety and access other content on the publisher’s website, a subscription is required.