The Right Stuff: The AED Foundation Launches Technician Certification Program and Certifies First Six Technicians

The AED Foundation officially launched its Technician Certification Program in an announcement given by AED Senior Vice President and CFO Jason Blake at the AED/EDA 2017 Workforce Development Summit in New Orleans in September.

The certification program, which is the first of its kind for the construction equipment industry, recognizes heavy equipment technicians for their expertise and gives dealers an objective way to measure their technicians’ skills and knowledge – which can help attract customers and increase their confidence in a dealership’s service operations, according to The AED Foundation Vice President of Foundation Operations Steve Johnson.

“Other industries have had certification possibilities for technicians for a long time, but there simply hasn’t been a certification available to recognize technicians who work on construction heavy equipment,” he said. “The Foundation felt there was a need for something that shows people that these technicians have the skills and knowledge to do the job, that they’ve kept up with current technology, and that they’ve taken an assessment offered by an objective third-party organization to gain a professional credential. For dealers, the certification program provides an objective measure of technicians’ qualifications – that’s something that’s marketable to customers and it can help raise the technical bar at dealerships.”

Chicagoland-area dealership McCann Industries, Inc. was the first to put its technicians through the certification program – all of whom passed with flying colors – and company President and CEO Jim McCann was quick to tout the program’s potential benefits for both dealerships and the industry as a whole.

“McCann Industries supports the mission of The AED Foundation to advance professional education and workforce development in the equipment industry,” he said. “We recognize the increasing challenges of drawing diesel technicians to our industry. Any way we can advance the careers of these technicians, we support. At McCann, we pride ourselves in having great technicians – these individuals bring a set of skills to our organization that’s indispensable. The AED Foundation certification gives us something concrete to hang our hats on and point to that clearly backs up McCann’s belief that our technicians are solid in their knowledge base.”

Six of McCann Industries’ technicians completed the program, which includes a 160-question technical assessment focused on core construction equipment technical standards: diesel engines, electrical and electronics, hydraulics and hydrostatics, power trains, air conditioning and heating, and safety and administration. All came away with different thoughts on the experience.

“The credential gives me the proof that I have the skills and knowledge it takes to serve the company and customers – and any and all certifications can only help you grow as a technician and build a well-rounded resume,” McCann Technician Nick Hamstra said. “Being at the forefront of the industry and paving the way for growth and innovation was one of my favorite things about being one of the first to go through the program.”

Technician Mike Hillier agreed: “It was really cool being a ‘test pilot.’” He added, “Technician experience will help you successfully navigate the certification assessment.”

Technician Craig Cisek praised the long-term benefits the certification will provide him and other technicians who complete the program. “Lifelong experience benefits you as a technician, but it is nice to be recognized as a technician with the required knowledge. Certification benefits you through the rest of your life. If you have an aptitude, the construction equipment industry is a great career choice.”

Several of the technicians stressed the difficult nature of The AED Foundation Technical Assessment. According to these newly certified technicians, it requires a great deal of practical knowledge and experience, so those planning to complete the program should study, and study hard.

“This certification is not easy,” said Technician Dave Cichowicz. “For example, I have no A/C ability and there were several questions I needed to study for. It’s not easy and takes industry knowledge, but it will benefit technicians – and any OEM training you can get will help.”

Technician Steve Shanesy concurred: “Practical experience is necessary. It is a challenge, but years of experience will help.”

For those who have the experience, gaining the credential is a welcome recognition of all their hard work and service, according to Technician Pat Peterson.

“It takes experience, and entry level people will have difficulty. My advice: Rely on your experience and knowledge, and keep trying, because there is a lot of information.”

McCann hopes that, by highlighting the many positive aspects of heavy equipment technician careers, The AED Foundation Technician Certification Program will benefit the industry as a whole, and he encourages other dealers to take the steps necessary to certify their technicians through the new program.

“We clearly support The AED Foundation Technician Certification Program and encourage dealerships to reach out to The AED Foundation staff to start the process of technician certification within their organizations,” he said. “The more focus we can put on highlighting the positive aspects of diesel technician careers, the better it will serve our industry as a whole.”

For more information on The AED Foundation’s Certified Technician Program, visit The AED Foundation is also on Facebook and Twitter.

To learn more about McCann Industries, visit McCann Industries is also on Facebook and Twitter.

Call out: How to Get Your Technicians Certified

Technicians can complete The AED Foundation Technician Certification Program in one of two ways.

Those who have already taken The AED Foundation Technical Assessment can buy the certification and upload the test results sheet, and those who have not yet taken the test can do so by purchasing the certification package. The assessment has a hurdle rate of 70 percent (meaning that you must receive a score of 70 percent or greater to pass) and technicians have two chances to pass.

Those who pass will receive a certificate in a wooden frame, as well as a wallet card, hat, lapel pin, two shirt patches and two tool box decals.

The certification program is available for $150 per technician for AED members or $300 per technician for non-members. Those who have already passed The AED Foundation Technical Assessment can purchase an application for certification for $85 per technician.


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