I get asked frequently about technician certification and there’s a lot of misunderstanding and confusion out there in the tech community about it. So I wanted to offer some thoughts that may help you think more clearly and realistically about this topic.
The number one question you should ask yourself about any certification is, “What does it mean?”
Does it mean that someone simply paid a fee to take and pass a test? If so, is the person certified in this way a better technician as a result? No, all this type of certification says is, “We certify that this person was good at taking our test.”
The other meaning of certification is that a person has completed a structured and specialized course of study and instruction and has demonstrated high comprehension of the information throughout the training course(s). This is the meaning of certification as traditionally used by colleges, professions, other skilled trades, and at the Master Samurai Tech Academy.
Merely taking and passing an exam has no possibility of producing a competent technician. It may vouch for a tech’s prior experience and training but, without knowing what the exam is actually testing for, you don’t know what exactly is being validated.
On the other hand, successfully completing a detailed training course taught by industry-recognized experts is a proven method of producing skilled technicians.
Specific appliance technician certifications of various kinds have zero consumer recognition. Customers may like to know, in a general sense, that you are certified (by someone) but they have no knowledge of or interest in the specific certification and what it really means.
You know who is interested in the single exam-type certification? Let's be honest: it's techs trying to impress each other. This goes right to the next question you should ask yourself about appliance tech certification...
Are you wanting certification so you can have initials after your name and a patch on your uniform, thinking this will impress customers? Here’s a newsflash: customers don’t give a rip about initials after your name and a patch on your uniform.
You know what customers do care about? You getting it fixed right the first time without swapping parts like a monkey and hoping to get lucky.
Or are you wanting certification as a testament to your real acquisition and mastery of technical and troubleshooting skills? Who cares about this? I'll tell you...
- Any employer would care about this in their technicians and prospective hires.
- Owner/operators whose livelihood depends on successful repairs would care about this type of certification.
The last question you need to ask yourself is “What do YOU want out of certification?”
Do you want to sport initials after your name and a patch on your shirt to impress your friends and yourself? Or do you really want to be able to troubleshoot and repair appliance problems that other techs have tried and failed to fix?
Do you want to be the guy with initials after his name but can’t fix the tricky problems any better than the guy without initials? Or do you want to be the go-to tech who can think through problems and that other techs seek out for help?
I’ve offered you some of my thoughts on this issue of certification to hopefully help you think clearly about what it is and what it is not. I hope that this will help you make a decision about certification that’s consistent with your career goals. Let me know what you think.