By Kasia McBride, Marketing Manager, NGVi
Professional certification refers to a voluntary process of skills and knowledge assessment, administered by a third party organization, to determine whether an individual can demonstrate a specific level of competency in a particular job role. It is based on industry-recognized standards, defined by specific conditions, and is meant to establish a baseline of competency. Assessments for the purposes of certification have emerged as key elements assuring competency across many industries.
As technology evolves, gaps between an employee’s base education and any industry-specific requirements widen over time, unless there is continued education. Many factors combine to draw professionals toward specialization. The need for skill advancement to keep pace with technology reflects a drive for greater efficiency, better performance, lower cost, and is essential for any sustainable business. For the NGV-specific transportation industry, where vehicle technicians, fuel system inspectors, and other operational personnel must acquire and maintain specialized skills and knowledge, certification promises to raise the bar on acceptable standards of performance.
There are many reasons why organizations pursue professional certification for their employees.
1. Greater peace of mind/Improved risk management
For many companies, certification gives employers a guarantee that their employees have sufficient knowledge and mastery of a full range of skills required to do real-world and complex job duties responsibly.
CNG fuel system inspectors, for instance, who handle detailed inspections of high-pressure fuel systems, have a huge responsibility to detect damage which could otherwise lead to life-threatening situations. Certification is the most prudent way for organizations to ensure their technicians demonstrate the required knowledge and competencies to perform their job correctly.
Technician certification by third party industry experts assures that organizations can more confidently rely on their workers with a high degree of consistency and safety, while also protecting the company from potential liabilities associated with vehicle failures and security risks.
2. Reduced operating costs
Although many employers recognize that employee development is important, they often view it as an expense rather than an investment. Research has shown that employees with a professional certification are more productive. That’s because certification better prepares them to deal with day-to-day challenges and gets the most out of new technologies. Certified vehicle technicians are able to diagnose a problem faster with more accuracy. This, in turn, eliminates service failures, resulting in fewer mistakes and a greater number of vehicles in service daily. Because employers tend to promote employees they trust, certification status enhances career potential.
By certifying their vehicle technicians as proof of their comprehensive capabilities (like correctly detecting fuel system component failures or damage) organizations can minimize serious economic impacts, such as vehicle downtime, or lengthy maintenance cycles. This can save organizations thousands of dollars per vehicle.
3. Improved stakeholder relationships
Having certified employees who have been verified by a third party organization translates into better customer relations and greater customer loyalty. It shows customers that the company holds its staff to the highest quality standards. Fleet customers, for instance, who often rely on the knowledge and skills of vehicle technicians, can feel more secure knowing their fleets are in certified hands.
Employees benefit also. Certification gives them recognition of competency, shows commitment to the profession, motivates them, gives them peace of mind and confidence, helps with career advancement, and provides them with a sense of pride and professional accomplishment.
4. Public Safety
CNG fleets that routinely operate in populated residential areas are responsible for thousands of lives every day. For fleets such as transit, refuse, or school districts, obtaining professional certification for their technicians is especially important. These technicians have an enormous responsibility, because service mistakes, improper installations or undetected damage to the CNG fuel system could result in dangerous incidents, affecting not only the safety of fleet employees but also the general public.
5. Business credibility
Professional certification is an independent confirmation of credibility. This is instrumental for organizations to effectively demonstrate what mastery their staff has attained in their field within the organization, with business partners and with their customers. Certification provides assurance that the individual possesses the required competencies and is, therefore, a source of credibility.
Why NGVi’s Certification for CNG Fuel System Inspectors Is Important
NGVi launched its CNG Fuel System Inspector Certification program in September 2016, and since that time has certified more than 100 technicians. The main goal of NGVi’s CNG Fuel System Inspector Certification program is to help organizations ensure that their NGV technicians have demonstrated the adequate level of competency and knowledge required to conduct successful CNG fuel system inspections, according to all federal codes and standards, as well as industry best practices.
Since 2008 when the NGV industry recognized that inspecting all high-pressure fuel system components was the only way to provide maximum risk management, industry best practice recommends completing an entire CNG fuel system inspection in conjunction with federally required cylinder inspections.
CNG fuel system inspections require detailed knowledge of manufacturing codes, installation codes and inspection codes—all of which change and are updated regularly. Qualified CNG Fuel System Inspectors must be able to thoroughly inspect all components of CNG fuel systems, correctly document their findings, assess any damage, and determine the proper course of action.
Because these inspections are complex processes during which damage are often not easy to identify for those unfamiliar with the components involved, proper training and certification is essential and must be a fundamental part of every effective safety program for NGV fleets and dealerships.
As a rigorous, independent assessment, NGVi’s CNG Fuel System Inspector Certification was developed based on a detailed job study of tasks technicians must apply during an actual inspection. Because of the practical, real-world application of knowledge, certification gives technicians the opportunity to demonstrate skills accurately and safely, and at the same time, it offers their employers an extra level of assurance and confidence in technician competency.
There are professional certifications available across a wide variety of fields and industries, but the greater technological advancement, the greater the need for ongoing employee certification. In the transportation industry, especially among NGV fleets that routinely operate in populated residential areas, certification of CNG fuel system inspectors just makes sense.
For more information about NGVi’s CNG Fuel System Inspector Certification program, visit our website at www.ngvi.com.