MECP in the As the only nationally recognized certification program for the mobile electronics industry, MECP intends to reenergize its efforts in the coming year and encourage more technicians to seek higher certification levels. WORDS BY ROSA SOPHIA
One of the goals for 2019 and beyond is to increase the number of certified technicians, and to re-energize the program as the only certification standard for the industry, according to Kris Bulla, a consultant for MECP. Currently, there are four different certifications available—Mobile Product Specialist, Basic Installation Technician, Advanced Installation Technician and Master Installation Technician. More than 2,700 individuals are presently certified, with most certifications in the Basic category, according to data from MECP and the Consumer Technology Association. “The Basic Certification is for someone who has little to no experience in the bay, someone who is looking to become employed in a job that requires certification, and wants to continue working in the bay and needs the education,” Bulla said. “Advanced or higher is the level where we want everyone to be.” More is expected of each level, Bulla added. “A Master Technicians could run or manage a shop if they don’t already, or they might have the opportunity to move into a manufacturer or a distributor position with this type of certification. The Basic and Advanced guys in a shop where a Master technician works will typically
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go and get help from them if they can’t figure something out.” It’s important to continue moving up, Bulla said, and the goal for the coming year is to increase efforts to encourage technicians to move beyond the Basic level. “I think that understanding that Basic is an entry-level certification will help them understand that they should be higher than that after a year or more in a shop environment,” he explained. When it’s time to renew a certification, the entire test has to be taken again, Bulla said, adding, “Part of the advantage of the higher-level certifications is the four-year certification length, versus the two-year Basic level.”
Rewriting the Basic Certification Guide in 2019 The guide for the Mobile Product Specialist certificate was recently rewritten and launched as of the first of October, 2018, according to Bulla. “You can purchase any of our Study Guides to study, or use them as reference manuals on day-today installations. “For the Mobile Product Specialist and Basic guides, the books are just about all you’ll need to study and prep for the test,” Bulla said. However, the Advanced and Master levels require experience in the bay that the guide doesn’t necessarily cover.
Bulla noted that the general routine is to rewrite or revise the books about every four years. Jayson Cook, a store manager at Columbus Car Audio in Columbus, Ohio stated that he recently purchased the new Mobile Product Specialist study guide. Having been a salesman for 20 years, Cook stated that he is glad a certification is available for salespeople. “I need to spend some time on that,” he said of the study guide. “I like that they’re doing something for salespeople in the industry, because I don’t think salespeople get enough credit.” Bulla stated that the Basic guide rewrite will start in 2019. “I have already reached out to get some Subject Matter Experts. These SMEs are people across the industry who have a specific expertise in one or more areas, and we utilize them to write parts of the study guide or exam. That way we always have the most knowledgeable in the industry producing the content for these guides and exams.” Rewriting a complete guide can take about eight to 12 months, Bulla noted, and MECP will begin the efforts on the Basic guide right after CES in January. “A new Study Guide comes out a month before the exam. For those who have already been studying and are ready to go on the previous guide, this gives them