AUSTIN, Texas—It took eight years to reach fruition, but the Texas Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association finally launched its tire technician certification program last October. It has held several classes since and as of late January had certified about 70 technicians in the state. Executive Director Kay Knapp said the program, similar to one used in Florida, ``has really taken off.'' Most of the students are experienced tire techs, but the two-hour training class and test assures they use proper repair methods and acquaints them with new technologies and materials.
The classes, conducted by representatives from various tire repair materials suppliers, includes hands-on instruction for up to 10 students, a film and a test. Students who score at least 70 percent on the test receive a certificate of completion and a patch for their uniforms indicating they are a TTDRA-certified technician.
``It establishes a pride in being a professional,'' said Ms. Knapp. The program is also a proactive approach to industry self-regulation that could dissuade the state from enacting potentially unfavorable regulations, according to Ms. Knapp.
The TTDRA plans to offer two or more classes per month. Long-range plans include a test in Tex/Mex language for certain regions of the state and a consumer education campaign on tech certification and proper tire repair.