- THE MAGAZINE
OK, so what’s the difference between IICRC-approved certification courses and other courses being offered in the industry? And why should anyone care, for that matter?
Well, a lot of hard working volunteers do care, and every IICRC registrant should also. After all, certification provides not only technical competence, but also a huge marketing advantage for sharp business owners and managers.
Boring huh? But wait, don’t turn the page just yet. I think you may find this information quite informative as well as interesting. Developing a new certification category goes through at least fouteen major steps, which combined, make for a quality program that you or your technician will benefit from at some point in your career.
1. Industry Need - Believe it or not, the IICRC Board and leadership listens to what’s going on in the industry. The Board is comprised of 16 trade association shareholders, who serve as the voice of their membership in IICRC affairs. IICRC representatives attend a minimum of 10 major conventions annually, which provides attendees with an opportunity for CECs and where IICRC representatives get feedback from those who stop by the booth to “chat.”
IICRC representatives also conduct an annual manufacturer liaison seminar in Dalton, Georgia, where we receive feedback from allied industry affiliates. A example of this took place about three years ago. The recognition of the impact that rug manufacturing was having on carpet production in Dalton resulted in the development of the Rug Cleaning Technician (RCT) designation. Students also give us feedback through standards workshops, and in over 500 IICRC-approved schools conducted annually in all geographical areas of the country and throughout the world.
2. Proposal - Once the potential need for a new certification category is identified, a proposal can be brought to the IICRC Executive Committee (EC) by any materially interested party (MIP). MIPs may include, but are not limited to: approved schools or instructors; industry professionals; product manufacturers; trade association leaders; government entities, or allied industry affiliate (Carpet and Rug Institute, American Furniture Manufacturers Association, Property Loss Research Bureau, U.S. EPA, etc.).
3. Need Evaluation - Next, the IICRC EC considers and questions the MIP. Careful consideration is given to any proposal. The presenter is questioned about motivation, registrant needs, the potential market, costs, etc. Then the EC evaluates the proposal’s potential for success with current and future IICRC Registrants.
4. Task Force - If the EC considers the request for new category development valid, a Task Force (TF) is created and a Chair is designated by the IICRC President, along with committee membership recommendations, as appropriate.
The job of the TF is to investigate and determine if the proposed course is valid and appropriate for development as an IICRC Certification Category. Ultimately, the TF Chair will make a recommendation to the EC as to whether or not the request is valid, and whether or not the President should create a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) for category development.
5. Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) - If approved by the IICRC EC, the President creates the category TAC and appoints a Chair or perhaps co-chairs. The President and EC may even recommend committee members who can represent all sides of the issue (more MIPs). The membership may include representatives of Certified Firms, product manufacturers, academics, or other specialized experts. Balance is the key.
6. Job Task Analysis – Now the real work to create a quality program begins. The TAC creates the Job Task Analysis (JTA), which includes: mission statement and course objectives; instructor requirements; facility requirements, if other than general classroom and related facility requirements contained in Instructors and Schools (I&S) Policies and Procedures; insurance requirements; hands-on requirements, if any; student pre-requisites, if any, and a course syllabus or outline. The TAC also writes exam items and distracters; lists primary references used to support exam information (standards, published documents), and it cites specific sources to document exam items.
For example, when the Applied Microbial Remediation Technician (AMRT) Category was developed, it took the AMRT TAC over 18 months to accomplish the project. Point is, this isn’t something that a couple of people throw together in a few weeks. It’s a carefully thought-out process that ensures quality programs in all IICRC Certification categories.
7. Instructors and Schools (I&S) and Exams Committee Review – During JTA development, the entire process is carefully reviewed by the IICRC Instructors and Schools committee for conformance to I&S policies governing instructors and schools. Further, the exam is given a psychometric evaluation to ensure that the format, grammar, and punctuation is accurate and appropriate for adult learners. Consideration is given to international compatibility (metric equivalents, compatible words) and to the needs of students who speak English as a second language.
8. Presentation to the IICRC Certification Council –Next, the completed JTA is submitted for peer review and critique at the semi-annual Certification Council meeting that precedes each Board of Directors meeting. The CC is comprised of all IICRC-approved instructors and other materially interested parties who represent a significant segment of the industry. The CC makes comments and recommendations for consideration by the IICRC Board.
9. IICRC Board Approval - BOD either approves or disapproves the JTA and exam, or it may refer it back to the TAC for further work.
10. Application to Teach – Now, interested schools and instructors can apply to teach the newly-approved course. The school is provided with a copy of the JTA and Exam by the I&S Committee. It develops a course manual and PowerPoint® program using the JTA as the minimum information that needs to be included. The school and instructor annotate the school’s course manual to the exam. Their application request is forwarded to the Instructors and Schools Committee for investigation and approval.
11. Background Investigation - The school and instructor, along with annotated course manual, are investigated by the IICRC Instructors and Schools Committee.
12. I&S Agenda – After completing the background investigation, a recommendation to approve the school and instructor is included on the I&S agenda at the next semi-annual Certification Council meeting. The School and Instructor also must present their request to teach an approved course at the Certification Council meeting and answer questions from that body.
13. Board Approval - If approved by the Certification Council, the I&S agenda is presented at the next Board of Directors meeting. Ultimately, the BOD must approve all schools and instructors to teach IICRC-approved courses.
14. Offer the Course to the Industry – Finally, after months or even years, the course is promoted and taught to potential registrants through local distributors, at Conventions and through private sponsors by independent, IICRC-approved instructors.
So there you have it. Sound a little confusing, time consuming and complex? Well, you bet it is. But this is the way that the IICRC seeks to ensure quality certification programs for all of its 46,000 Registrants world wide, and ultimately, to ensure a qualified, trained service provider for the millions of consumers they serve.