I attended the RV Technician Course put on by the National RV Inspection Association (NRVIA) and the RV Inspection Connection (RVIC) and I promised I would give a review of my experience so here it is.
First let me say that regardless of your experience level with RVs, this course can be a great fit for you. If you are looking to learn more about the workings of an RV or extend your current knowledge, the curriculum is designed to be flexible for both sides of the experience spectrum. Some of the people in my class were on their maiden voyage in their new RV, and there just for the knowledge, and some were more experienced with the intention of starting their own business as an RV inspector. The course is certainly in place to assist entrepreneurs in starting their own RV inspection company, but again, if that is not your thing then you can just join for the knowledge, which is what I was doing.
The course had two parts each day. In the morning, and I mean EARLY morning (7AM), we started with a 2 hour session with Steve Anderson, the owner of Workamper. His sessions were about how to start your own business, and to offer advice and motivation to do so. If you were at the course just for the knowledge of RVs with no intention of starting a business, then you can just sleep in and skip this part. What we really enjoyed was that if your spouse came along for the trip, then they were welcome to attend the morning session each day, even if you only paid for one person to attend the knowledge part of the training. Here is what I really liked about Steve Anderson’s presentation:
1) Motivational – I already own a business and this course had me wanting to go start another business! Well, not exactly, but Steve implemented videos and discussion to stimulate interest and thought around the idea of starting and growing a great business that you can run on the road.
2) Business Education – The thought of starting a business can be exciting. To the contrary, starting a business can be overwhelming, and then understanding the legalities of running a business can be a real downer. Steve introduced us to Mark Kohler, an accountant out of California that really took the stress out of all of the legalities of business. He was a great speaker and for a fee can get your business set up and offer advice on business tax advantages.
3) Clear Path to Success – Steve did a great job connecting the dots between having a vision for a business and taking the steps to make it a reality. Often times the distance between a vision and making it reality can be too overwhelming to even take the first step, but Steve walks you through that first step, and beyond.
The only thing I would change on the morning sessions with Steve was the actual time we started; that 7 AM time frame was kicking my tail. Every morning when I walked into class with my 20 oz. Red Bull, Steve and I would have a good laugh about him being a morning person, and me not being a morning person. Overall, great sessions, and good interaction.
The knowledge portion of the classes started right after the morning sessions with Steve. Our sessions were taught by Terry Cooper, otherwise known as the Texas RV Professor. Terry is a Master Certified RV Technician with an entire career of experience working on RVs. WOW, this guy knows his stuff. Terry has a natural gift for teaching. As soon as he gets in front of the group you can just see his educator side coming out. Terry spent 5 days teaching us about the main systems in a RV: Electrical, Propane, Water, RV Appliances, and Exterior. There were so many elements I loved about his teaching style:
1) History - We learned a great deal about the history of RV components. It was great to know how a certain company started or maybe how a company design came together. If Terry knew some history about the topic we were talking about, then he would share it. I think knowing the history of anything can give a greater appreciation of the present.
2) Hands on – This course is known for being hands on, and it exceeded my expectations. First, all of the components that Terry taught about had an actual sample part that we could pass around the room and look at. Whether it was a used anode rod or a hot water heater thermostat - he had it. Beingable to put our hands on these parts was a great help. In addition, we spent a lot of time working on RVs in the park. For example, one day we went to a RV and broke down the water heater. We all got to be a part of each step of the process, and so for those that learn best by doing, you can check the box.
3) Trouble Shooting – Terry told us that 80% of the issues that you have in a RV is something you can likely fix, and a great deal of it has to do with electricity. For each component of the RV Terry would tell us about the most common issues you will encounter and how to troubleshoot and fix it. Terry always had a good story about customers he had dealt with in the past, some of the issues they would bring to him and how easy the fix was.
Some additional advantages of the course:
You get to keep all of the workbooks that you used in class.
You get an opportunity to work on different types of RVs. We worked on 5th wheels, Class As, and even an Airstream.
There were 2 great socials at night to get to know people better.
You get a one-year membership to the NRVIA. This gets you access to videos and other training materials.
As far as the negatives, there are not many. The days are long; we started at 7AM and usually went until 5PM. By the end of the week, you are zapped. There is not a lot of time for enjoying the area you are in, but then again, that is not really what you are there for. I was in the Human Resources profession for 25 years and have attended many educational courses; I thought this one was put together as well as any of them.
When you have completed this class, you are a level 1 RV Inspector. There is a test, and yes, I passed it. A level 1 inspector is kind of the junior varsity team and does not allow you to do full scale inspections. To become a level 2 inspector and be able to perform all inspections, there is another 5 day course to get more into the specifics of inspections and the software used to do the inspections. If I go to part 2, I will give an update on that as well.
I learned so much at this course and had a great time; consider this an endorsement. I have gone through the course and I highly recommend it to those wanting to learn more about their RVs and gain the knowledge to be able to address most issues you will encounter with your RV.
Well there you have it, I hope this gives you an idea of what the course is like. If you are interested, then you can sign up for a 2016 course at www.rvtechcourse.com, and tell them that TechnoRV told you about it. You will not be disappointed!