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A question of qualification

Tim McElwain
Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,504
How do you who post here feel about the qualifications of those who do seminars and conduct training in our industry not having a degree?



Should those who do training have a license in each state they conduct training in?



Should those who do seminars in different states pay a special seminar tax to each state?



Should all vocational trainers have at least a Masters degree in education?



Should all curriculum used in both private and institutional training faculties be certified by the state.?



For the most part are all the training seminars and other training priced fairly?



Should manufacturers of equipment charge for training on their products?



A lot of questions I realize but these are issues coming up recently in various locations. 

Comments

  • Al Letellier_21
    Al Letellier_21 Member Posts: 402
    trainers

    Tim, I personally believe that if those things were required, there would be a lot less training and the quality of that training would suffer tremendously. Having a degree doesn't make one a better teacher. And not all great mechanics or technicians make good teachers. I don't have a degree in anything except the school of hard knocks and common sense, and I love to teach. I am a certified continuing education providers but all that requires is course approval and a $$fee to whoever......

    I also believe that there is a lot of swing in the rates charged for training. I don't mind paying for it if it is reasonable and worthwhile and I have found most "schools" done by the manufacturers to be reasonable as well....I can think of only one training session that I paid for that was a total waste of time and $$$, and I'll refrain from saying where.

    Our industry needs its experienced people to train. A "certified" teacher with no field experience would leave out a lot of critical information and practical applications.

    Going the route you outlined here would be a detriment to our industry.

     
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,839
    Tough nut to bust...

    Tim, I see your concerns, and have heard back from attendees of product related "seminars" that were appalled by some of the things the "instructor" were saying.



    Personally, I think it would be one helluva job to regulate that part of this industry. At Red Rocks, as long as you can prove the required time in the field, you can become a "certified" instructor. It has been a long time since I went through the process, but as I remember, their requirements were more stringent than the States required documentation for getting a chance at taking the Journeyman Plumbers license.



    I honestly do not think the States are qualified to make a determination as to whether or not a course would be considered up to snuff. If they can't define snuff, how are they going to to certify...



    I've taught in one capacity or another all over the US, and have never been asked by anyone (other than NJ) to prove qualifications, and theirs was obviously fairly simple.



    As for pricing, define "fair" for me if you will. THe only close reference I would have is NCI compared to your operations, and I do not feel there is a whole lot of comparison there, because you bring so much more to the table in the way of true field experience than JD does. No offense to JD, but his class is laser focused on CO prevention, and yours is so much broader, so it really isn't a fair comparison.



    I do know that instructors like yourself are "priceless"...



    As Al pointed out, requiring a Masters degree in education will cause most trade schools to become empty as it pertains to instructors.



    As for manufacturers requiring payment for education, I guess it all depends on whether or not a true certification is involved. If yes, then yes, there is a value to their services. If it is just product orientation, then no charges should be done.



    Please do share your perspectives on this subject.



    Respectfully,



    ME
    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    Masters degree in education?

    I am not qualiied to answer most of the questions you asked, and as you know, I am not a heating professional. Both my parents were professional teachers at the university level. My father was acting head of the French department at the University of Buffalo, and my mother taught art history and music there. She also had a certificate to teach French in the Buffalo high schools.



    You know the old saw: those that can -- do. Those that cannot -- teach. ?

    Well at the university level, there is a parallel one: Those that cannot teach, teach education courses.



    I also taught a course at Bell Labs, where I used to work, in computer architecture: how computers are designed and why they are designed that way. When I had to pick a textbook, I studied a bunch of them and picked one that just came out. It looked ok by skimming it and reading the table of contents and the index. It was written by two guys who taught computer science at a university in the US. The had BS, Ms, and Ph.D. degrees in computer science. The book was just awful. It turned out those guys were professional students. They took the courses, passed the tests, and got their degrees, but they did not know anything. They had no practical experience at all. They had never held a job except teaching.



    My opinion of college degrees (I have one) is that about all they show for sure is that you have the patience to get along with an education-related bureaucracy. You may have learned some facts; perhaps a whole lot of them. But they do not guarantee that you can think, that you can teach, or that you have any practical experience in the field. I am not saying that a college education is worthless, but it should not be overestimated in its practical application. I took two years of electrical engineering and three years in mathematics. I made my living in engineering for many years, but the stuff I learned that was really helpful I picked up in summer jobs doing engineering under the supervision of professionals. That was more like an apprenticeship than formal classwork. It seemed to me I learned more in 3 months each summer working than I did the other 9 months of the year in the school setting.



    If I were to try to select a teacher for a class in something I knew little about, I do not know how I would do it. In some fields, perhaps a degree is important, but i would be more concerned if it were in the subject matter, not in "education." Too many people have education degrees and think this qualifies them to teach anything. But they usually cannot because they do not know anything about what it is they are to teach.



    There are some people here that clearly know their stuff. I know who I might select if I had a steam system for example. I have no idea if those guys have college degree or not, and it would not matter to me.  There is no way to tell if they would be good teachers or not. On the other hand, having read his book, it seems to me that John Siegenthaler has both a degree, a professional license, and knows how to teach.
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,214
    A few ideas I have on training.

    I would prefer the trainer has skill rather than paper, but I would prefer a licensed trades man teaching as opposed to a licensed teacher who drank the manufacturers Koolaid.

    I think if training is charged for it should not be a sales pitch, but a genuine training class. I would like a rebate for training when I purchase the product to install it, but if the training and product are good would still purchase the product if I had to pay for the training. I would like online training I can do when I have the time, like the fact I have now until bed time to study and I could study while waiting for the boys to wake up tomorrow morning.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,508
    Tim...

    ... I'd keep it simple.  The list above is stifling.  Start with a very experienced trades person. Make sure he/she understands some science and have him or her read "How To Teach Technicians".  The students will all benefit and have fun while doing so!



    Yours,  Larry
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,255
    I wonder

    where these questions came from?



    We know who the good trainers are, and whether or not they have degrees or are licensed in every state, county, city, town etc. is way down the list. It really isn't even a consideration. As for the course itself, I would only say that it should conform to whatever Codes are in force where the course is held.



    But it sounds to me like someone- not you of course, Tim- might have an agenda here.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,504
    The questions came from

    a group I was invited to sit down with from a couple of different states from various professions including vocational trainers, teachers, politicians, and several others.



    I posted these questions because other than two vocational trainers and myself everyone felt that all instructors, teachers etc should be licensed in the state in which they teach, have at least a bachelors degree in education (preferably a master or at least working toward one), fees charged should be determined by the state in which the training is conducted, and the list goes on. Seminar presenters would have to register with the state in which they want to conduct training especially if it is relative to any licensed technician attending.



    The claim is a lot of people conducting training who are not qualified and presenting mis-information especially as to codes that may apply in the area they are conducting their training in.



    This gathering was only designed to gather information and in no way was to change the present system. It was not a public forum but was by invitation only.



    It is interesting to me to see how people who are outside of the vocational/job related/ training venue see most of us who conduct training or in fact those who attend such training sessions. One gent actually thought that when you attend a factory training session that was sufficient to qualify you to install their product. I do not know about that one as I have attended those sessions and saw a certificate of qualification given to one fella who slept most of the time in the classes.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,255
    edited July 2011
    I kind of suspected

    politicians were involved. The suggestion to license instructors (which of course would involve license fees) and tax seminars was a pretty good indication. It's all about the Benjamins..........



    Did they say where they're getting their information regarding "mis-information"?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,504
    The mis-information

    is related to non licensed Massachusetts instructors teaching in Mass. Mass has their own code so outside instructors may not be familiar with Mass Codes. This could also happen where different areas have different codes.



    The problem with groups like these is that a few months later legislation gets introduced which can affect how we do our business and in this case who can conduct training.



    When I had to be certified by the state I had to submit a curriculum. The people who determined that my curriculum was acceptable was a carpenter and two construction masons. I am sure they know all about gas technical training. The good thing was I took a lawyer with me to the meeting.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,255
    I'm going to link two other boards to this thread

    Alan's and George's. I think the more people who know about this, the better.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,504
    Here is my feelings on the questions posed:

    ·                                 A question of qualification

    How do you who post here feel about the qualifications of those who do seminars and conduct training in our industry not having a degree?



     

    It is my experience that the degree is not the real issue but the knowledge and experience of the teacher that really counts. Education with a degree awarded is a wonderful thing and I would never criticize education. It is rare however when all things come together, knowledge, experience and a degree.





    Should those who do training have a license in each state they conduct training in?

     

    If the class being taught is related to the license then by all means a teacher with the same license is a plus. It would however be impossible to police every instructor who comes into a state as to having a license in that state. The issue becomes as to the state awarding CEU’s for the course or for the seminar. This was a big part of the discussion in the group. Many times outsiders have more knowledge and experience in a subject than anyone available to teach in that state.





    Should those who do seminars in different states pay a special seminar tax to each state?



     

    The politicians in the group jumped all over this one. They felt that seminar presenters charging say $150 for each participant and a group of say 50 that would bring in $7,500 that was a fair profit and no tax should be levied. However they felt a cap on profit should be applied and a fixed tax levied. The tax would be policed by requiring every seminar presenter to pull a permit before presenting. A 1099 type form could be used in this case for accountability. There is that dreaded 1099 thing again.





    Should all vocational trainers have at least a Masters degree in education?



     

    Of the three of us from the vocational side participating in this forum I was the only one with a degree. The problem in many cases for hairdressing or automotive etc is that most do not have an educational degree. This has caused some issues with some boards of education here in the New England area. In fact in several cases of instructors in vocational venues those instructors did not have a high school diploma. They were however some of the best instructors in their field. I do not think a degree is necessary in this situation.





    Should all curriculum used in both private and institutional training faculties be certified by the state?



     

    This I think should be classified as to the institution involved. If a license, degree or certification is the end result then curriculum approval is necessary. I for one would strongly disagree with this if those approving my program or curriculum are not of the same professional persuasion as the presenter.





    For the most part are all the training seminars and other training priced fairly?



     

    This came back as a later discussion after the one above on taxing. I brought up $1,000 a plate dinners for politicians that are often put on. My complaint the food was not very good and the presenters were not very good. In that case I did not get much bang for my buck. This is ridiculous in my estimation, the truth is if you charge too much for what you give folks will stop coming. If you charge too little you will not be in business ling. Let the free enterprise system take control of this one.





    Should manufacturers of equipment charge for training on their products?



     

    Those in this forum had real problems with a manufacturer charging folks to come and get a sales pitch about their product. If you know that is what you are going to get (ask in advance) and you pay for the presentation then that is on you. The problem is if you do not charge then folks will say they are coming and then not show. When they pay they tend to make sure they come. I am all for some coupons given out or price reduction on product as an incentive for your coming and paying to come. If the training is on site at the factory and they provide hotel and accommodations then by all means you must have to pay.





    A lot of questions I realize but these are issues coming up recently in various locations. 



     

    This forum was informal and by no means was anything set forth as to changes in the way things are done now. I have from time to time had to present curriculum and have been asked about my degree but not often.



     

    The politicians in the group seemed to be looking for ways to make money and not really concerned about the overall quality of presentations.
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