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Is a mechanic certificate worth it?

Old 04-21-21, 03:11 PM
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runaway42
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Is a mechanic certificate worth it?

I've been a bike (and ski) mechanic for a little over one and a half years and I'm wondering if getting a certificate is worth it. I know it's not like getting a degree and wont get me a job on it's own, I just kinda want to elevate myself. This is definitely the career path I intend to go down and maybe eventually my own shop. Currently the certificate I'm most considering is the first part of the Professional Bicycle Mechanics Association certification "program". Do any techs have any experience with this certification or others? If so what was your experience with testing and after you completed it and received your certificate? And lastly, would you recommend it to others?
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Old 04-21-21, 04:09 PM
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Might pull more weight with a manufacturer if you have a certificate and other education. For employment at a LBS, I've no idea.
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Old 04-21-21, 04:57 PM
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In the long run this one will make you way more money.

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Old 04-21-21, 06:18 PM
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I don't see where a certificate could hurt your career. You might learn something along the way. Might help with insurance premiums.
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Old 04-21-21, 07:26 PM
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It is not a bad thing to have certainly and always looks better to a shop. Though your best learning is through working and learning on the job.
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Old 04-21-21, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
It is not a bad thing to have certainly and always looks better to a shop. Though your best learning is through working and learning on the job.
thatís pretty much what I was thinking. Iím currently working under a tech who our employer sent to Barnettís. Just really wondering if any working techs did the certification. I think Iím gonna do it regardless.
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Old 04-21-21, 08:34 PM
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You might get more response from the Bicycle Mechanics forum. If it were me, I'd go for the certificate; it certainly won't hurt, and probably will help.
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Old 04-21-21, 10:42 PM
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Worked in a shop that sent a kid off to Barnett's, not certain why. Basically the kid learned everything they taught him well enough to get a certificate of some sort. Still came back without the sense God gave him and an inability to figure out the best way to fix something. But it gave him a leverage point for demanding better pay from the shop owner since there was no agreement to sending him which the owner had to pay. So it might get you better pay if you have one by establishing a base skill level.
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Old 04-21-21, 11:41 PM
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Moved here from General Cycling
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Old 04-22-21, 09:41 AM
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I think it can open doors in the future. Say 5 years from now you want to move to another city or state. Having that certificate + experience will definitely help your resume when applying to another shop.
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Old 04-22-21, 10:09 AM
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Do we know where the OP is? From what my coworker says England has a qualification program, not sure if the word "certificate" is the correct term.

Education outside of the usual hard knocks schools (bike shops and your coworkers) can be very beneficial on a number of reasons. One might be a shop's insurance rates although I suspect this is a minimal savings if any. Another and bigger (perhaps biggest in the short term) is the customer confidence in the shop's professionalism and skill sets. Having those pieces of paper posted on the wall next to the service counter is very common practice in many other industries (think of your Dr's examination rooms and all the copies of their medical docs {bad pun}) or the auto dealer tech writer/mechanic. Typically one's ability to do the work in an efficient and less damaging manor is enhanced with education and this should warrant more pay. But do remember that the shop owner likely didn't have access to such educational options back in their day and will sometimes think it's not worth more pay, or be able to even pay more even if they would like to. Having the owner on board is essential if this aspect is your goal.

There are a number of free but for your time tutorials available from Shimano, Trek (if you're a dealer) and other companies. Generally these are tied into purchasing discounts and not more pay. The various true go to a place and attend a course (Barnets, UBI as two US examples) can be pricy for both the course and travel/living cost during the sessions. Again having an owner who values this is a way to share the costs.

I have worked with very few who have attended this type of education but those who did generally thought well of their experiences independent of any pay benefits. I will make a comment about applying for a job after having attended a school. It will be somewhat discounted as the most important aspects of a shop wrench are their ability to listen, ask the right questions, mesh with other staff, represent the shop in a positive light, be reliable and presentable. These qualities are not typically taught bu a school but by one's upbringing. When I was that owner (1986-2000) two young men applied for a job. Both seemed to feel they were above the other job applicants I had interviewed and one even went so far as to complain to me during his interview about why his school certificate wasn't his ticket to the job. It was obvious to me that both would not make good employees and this is what being hired is all about, being a good employee.

Remember that the bike shop world is still a passion driven ownership one more often then not. Very few owners went into the business because they though they would make a bundle and many only survive because of one (or more) of these reasons: 1- They inherited the business, 2- they own the building/property, 3- they have outside money to live on (like a spouse who has the 401K and health ins.)

I know some of my reply is not what the OP was asking about but as a lifer in the LBS world this needs to be known by those who are thinking about long term choices. Andy
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Old 04-22-21, 06:24 PM
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Just like Andy says certification does help a bit, but you must have a dedication and enthusiasm for the work. I have certifications in another discipline, and for me it was a nine year journey. The end result is that I am the world's only professionally certified golf Club maker/ Club fitter. I am ranked in the top twelve at what I do world wide and have quite a bit of status in the golf profession. My three walls of certifications and Clubmaker of the Year awards taken with me to Starbucks will get me a five dollar coffee. So yes certifications do count, but more in status and a bit more of credibility or even street cred. Monetarily it only matters if you can leverage it. As a golf professional I have the luxury of setting my own price rates which are relatively higher than the normal pro. But the certifications are what allow me to charge more for my services. So I would say that certifications do help, but continued certification and more of them will help you in the future, think like the automotive SAE certifications. HTH, Smiles, MH
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Old 04-22-21, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Mad Honk View Post
Just like Andy says certification does help a bit, but you must have a dedication and enthusiasm for the work. I have certifications in another discipline, and for me it was a nine year journey. The end result is that I am the world's only professionally certified golf Club maker/ Club fitter. I am ranked in the top twelve at what I do world wide and have quite a bit of status in the golf profession. My three walls of certifications and Clubmaker of the Year awards taken with me to Starbucks will get me a five dollar coffee. So yes certifications do count, but more in status and a bit more of credibility or even street cred. Monetarily it only matters if you can leverage it. As a golf professional I have the luxury of setting my own price rates which are relatively higher than the normal pro. But the certifications are what allow me to charge more for my services. So I would say that certifications do help, but continued certification and more of them will help you in the future, think like the automotive SAE certifications. HTH, Smiles, MH
thank you! That was very insightful. I definitely want the certification more as a way to show how I take the profession seriously, this is not a ďI have no other optionsĒ career for me like it is for some Iíve worked with. Thanks for giving me a some more inspiration to keep on keeping on
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