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The Professional Bicycle Mechanics Association Wants to Standardize Certification

Bike repairing. Spare parts and tools.

The Professional Bicycle Mechanics Association (PBMA) is taking steps to develop a universal professional mechanic certification that would be recognized throughout the industry.

The PBMA, which was incorporated this year, expects it will take several years to develop such a standard.

“There are cycling-related certifications that already exist, but those are typically small, very segmented and tend benefit the issuer of the certification more than the certification holder,” said PBMA’s president, James Stanfill. “Our goal is to create a single baseline minimum standard of professional certification that will be recognized throughout the industry.”

Stanfill said the PBMA envisions a standard that would be more advanced than a bike-assembler certification. It would identify a competent pro mechanic and would include requirements for maintaining the certification through continuing education and experience.

The National Bicycle Dealers Association has been in the process of developing an entry level mechanic training and certification process for several years, and this summer the NBDA purchased the long-standing mechanics school, Barnett Bicycle Institute. Stanfill said the PBMA hopes to work with the NBDA and other groups on developing its program. He said once the certification is established, various mechanic education programs could choose to “teach to the certification standard or beyond that standard.”

more from PBMA…

Professional Bicycle Mechanic Certification Project
– Call to Action –

The purpose of this Call to Action is to begin the process of developing an industry standard minimum acceptable baseline for the position of “professional bicycle mechanic” with the potential to expand the title with additional endorsements and levels of proficiency.

The PBMA is inviting representatives from throughout the cycling industry to partner with the Association in building out a coalition to develop an initiative for establishment of a Professional Bicycle Mechanical Certification. Through its membership, the PBMA has rapid access to data from mechanics across the industry. This data details work history, training opportunities and experiences, and general employment information from a wide spectrum of current professionals.

Actionable Goals:

  • Development of a “minimum standard” for what the professional title “Certified Bicycle Mechanic” embodies.
  • Development of industry standards to which bicycle mechanical schools, manufacturer technical departments and cycling educators can target curricula.
  • Development of a vetting program for those mechanics who already have knowledge & experience and wish to “test-out” of the initial program.
  • Development of opportunities for and organize regional learning and certification opportunities.
  • Outline the eventual development of tiers of certification for the individual, service manager/writer and service center within which the individual professionals work.
  • Development of a system of certification educational development and continuing maintenance:
  • Development of a system for qualifying each currently available program and element of mechanical training
  • Establishment of a scoring system to quantify how those programs and elements are rated as either a Continuing Education Unit (CEU), additional certification or simply as credit for attendance.
  • Establishment of CEU guidelines for quantity and quality over a renewal period and decide the length of the recertification period.
  • Establishment of a standardized requirement for CEU durability and registration.
  • Assure that overall development and implementation is an industry-wide collaboration, involving representatives of participating stakeholders.

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Preliminary Information and Proposed Timeline

Preliminary Data:

Feedback from current bicycle mechanics, shop owners, industry groups and other industry professionals strongly indicates a need for a defined standard that is collectively recognized by both the entire industry as well as the consumer. The PBMA is facilitating this process by gathering specific data that will assist in the development of this program by means of:

  • Online surveys, social media polls, and person-to-person interviews with individual stakeholders
  • Discussions and focus groups with industry, manufacturer and related organizations
  • Discussions with training and tech seminar attendees
  • Collaborations with mechanical schools, individual educators and industry experts

Proposed Project Timeline:

Present – Interbike 2017

  • Collect, compile, and analyze data from current mechanics and industry professionals.
  • Identify trends and gaps in technical and professional education for mechanics.
  • Host introductory regional technical seminars and forums

Interbike 2017

The PBMA will facilitate meetings with all of the industry stakeholders. The goals of these meetings shall be:

  • Communicate the trends that the coalition has identified from its year-long study of mechanics, currently available training options and potential voids in that body of knowledge.
  • Provide a response forum for our professional membership to be involved in the process.
  • Creation of a communication structure to allow rap id evolution of concepts and best practices.

​2017 – 2018

  • Development of proprietary messaging that all channels of the industry can use to communicate about certification and professionalism in the Bicycle Mechanics’ world.
  • Conduct in-person evaluations of training programs, personally experience and evaluate online training programs.
  • Identification of certified CEU programs
  • Formal assessment of how fast technology changes in the industry.

2018 – 2019

  • Refinement of bicycle mechanic certification levels and process
  • Deploy the first round of certifications.
  • Test out certification requirements and CEU opportunities during the initial deployment.

 

PBMA

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