There are those in the collision repair industry who feel that vehicle manufacturers often oversell the value of OEM certification. At the other end of the scale, you’ll probably come across shop owners who say certification is not for them. But an automaker training certificate is a valuable addition to a body shop employee’s resume, and it definitely enhances their employment prospects.
People might find it difficult to find a job in the automotive industry unless they have something to offer in the way of qualifications or experience. Shop owners looking for a candidate with experience will most likely take a chance on a candidate with National Emissions Standard for Hazardous Air Pollution (HAPs) 6H certification.
HAPs 6H registration, certification and training requirements are aimed at reducing exposure to toxic air emissions from vehicle service and repair operations.
HAPs 6H training can help automotive industry newcomers get their first foot in the door. Under next year’s environmental, health and safety regulations, new rules for automakers define the do’s and don’ts for repairing a vehicle.
“As well as improving one’s resume, HAPs 6H training forces you to learn about your work-related health and safety,” said Barry Thomas, president and CEO, BECCA Inc. “You might find that much of the knowledge gained about environmental pollution can be applied to your job and help you improve your fellow workers’ well-being.”
It’s also likely that the employee will need to learn things that are not applicable to their current role, which is not necessarily a bad thing as these skills might make it easier for them to transition to another company or a different position within their current company.
OE Certification vs. HAPs 6H Certification
OEM certificates almost always have a limited shelf life. HAPs 6H certification is valid for a set period of five years, while OE certifications typically expire based on the release of new equipment and software. Updating skills on a regular basis to keep up with new technology is simply a fact of life when working with advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS). If you have OEM certifications, then a certain amount of additional effort will be required for you to keep your qualifications up to date.
OEM certificates are often closely matched to typical job specifications, but they are not a substitute for real-world experience. Also, OEM certificates are typically based around the product of one company, but more often than not, the day-to-day job will involve working with products from many different manufacturers. As an example, an accreditation program might teach about how a particular scan system works, but a shop might be using products and tools from many different companies.
As mentioned, OEM certificates often have a limited shelf life compared to more traditional vo-tech training. Although OEM certificates might have a limited shelf life, they can be more relevant to specific job skills than a degree. If a tech already has a trade school certificate, then they might still want to consider HAPs 6H certification as it’s a good idea to have a mix of regulatory hands-on and classroom qualifications. Some research into the local job market will help determine which qualifications are a best match for career objectives.
“The first thing you need to decide before attaining repair certification from an automaker is your career objectives,” said Tony Molla, vice president of the Automotive Service Association.
One should ideally pick a career that they find interesting, as a person spends most of their time at work. It’s very difficult to have a successful career if you dislike your job or find it boring. Some newcomers are tempted with the prospect of high wages promoted by placement companies as their key to fortune.
The next step is deciding what qualifications will help you attain your career objectives. One way to do this is by browsing the jobs available at local dealerships and body shops. This will give you an idea about the types of jobs available in your area, the salaries and what companies are asking for in terms of qualifications and experience. Keep in mind that recruitment agencies often inflate salaries to attract candidates. Also, repair shops are sometimes willing to take on candidates that match most but not all of the criteria. Have realistic expectations, though, as your first job in the automotive business is unlikely to be as a programmer (if that’s your ultimate ambition). It’s more likely that you’ll start as a helper and progress to a repair specialist as you gain experience and training.
HAPs 6H certification is useful for both newcomers and experienced professionals, enhancing your career prospects and giving you some of the knowledge that you need to succeed. At the same time, OEM certification is not a golden ticket to success, and it can take a number of years in addition to your HAPs 6H certification before you reap financial benefits.
However, it is still advised for newcomers to choose a career in the automotive industry. But it may take a significant amount of time and effort to gain the knowledge and experience to move into a high-paying position.
Picking the right career is an important decision and should not be taken lightly. If you decide that a career working in the automotive aftermarket is right for you, it can be very rewarding, and you should follow your career goals. HAPs 6H and OEM certification is one option you should consider adding to your resume.
HAPs 6H Registration
Free HAPs 6H online training is available from BECCA Inc. and includes online self-instructional modules relating to subjects such as planning/regulation development, monitoring, mobile sources, basic Clean Air Act topics and more. HAPs 6H registration and training requirements are aimed at reducing exposure to toxic air emissions from vehicle service and repair operations. The HAPs 6H Campaign helps shops work toward compliance with EPA’s Auto Body Rule.
Steven E. Schillinger is a registered electrical and environmental engineer, licensed to certify companies subject to the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP).