A recent survey posted on Bicycle Retailer and Industry News (BRAIN) asks the question “Retailers, do your mechanics have certification?” Presently the US cycling industry does not have any formal certification process, nor is there any system in place that vets a mechanic into a certain class or skill set.
In the US, Barnett Bicycle Institute, United Bicycle Institute and others have training programs and issue certificates and diplomas. A number of manufacturers also offer ongoing training programs that provide certificates upon completion. However, none of these are actually certifying a mechanic, instead they are merely providing proof to an employer that the person has successfully completed the documented training.
A major goal of the Professional Bicycle Mechanics Association (PBMA) is to help define what certificated training means to an employer and eventually issue professional certification levels as a member benefit. In the U.K. there are cycle mechanic trade schools and those conduits are a major part of entry into the industry. They have a government implemented system in place that is recognized by the cycling industry, the bicycle dealers but also, and most importantly, by the general public. We are hoping to create programs and systems that could eventually lead to a similar system for the cycling community here.
Does every mechanic need to be certified? No, certification only simplifies the process of professional education. With time, many top level mechanics will want to hold certification, shop owners and industry professionals will recognize it as a significant checkpoint when interviewing or hiring. It will mean that the mechanic is truly dedicated to their craft, makes time to better themselves through continued education, has acquired specialized skills (examples such as suspension service or wheel building) and is seeking to be associated with the very best in the industry.
The PBMA is dedicated to promoting, developing and advocating for the Professional Bicycle Mechanic. This will include not only focusing on each of these tasks within our industry but also educating the public on why utilizing a professional mechanic and a professional shop will be every more important in the future.
Professional Bicycle Mechanics Association
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