Many of the icons in the security industry have spent time in the classroom as NTS instructors, teaching the next generation of professionals what they need to know to succeed.
We wanted to find out what links these great NTS instructors – the qualities that the top instructors all share – so we asked Dale Eller, ESA Director of Education & Standards, to share his thoughts.
To be a great NTS instructor, you need to have hands-on, technical competency. You can’t just have book knowledge – you need to be field smart, says Eller.
"Unless you've lived it, it's a little hard to teach it," he says. "If you haven’t walked the walk, you can’t talk the talk.”
A successful NTS instructor has to know more than simple product knowledge, adds Eller. You need to know what works, what doesn’t and why – from an in-the-field perspective.
Sharing their experience in the field makes the material more relatable and easy to understand. "It's the perfect blend of technical knowledge and war stories," says Eller.
As in all teaching situations, an instructor needs to successfully present the information to the students. For NTS courses, which are based off of PowerPoint presentations, that means speaking to the audience – and not just reading off of a screen.
"You have to be a comfortable public speaker,” says Eller. The best presenters, he says, do it in a way where everyone in the room thinks they are talking just to them.
Additionally, the students in the class are likely to come in with different backgrounds and knowledge levels, so you need to be prepared to teach to a wide-ranging audience.
"They need to be able to comfortably present technical topics to an audience that has a diverse experience level," Eller says.
A Passion to Grow the Industry
Finally, Eller says that the best NTS instructors have a passion for improving the industry.
"The best way to improve the industry is to teach those who are following you the mistakes you made, so they don’t repeat them in the future,” says Eller. "The best instructors are the guys who do it not because of the money, but because it's the right thing to do."
NTS is always looking for subject matter experts interested in teaching, including experts in access control, fire, intrusion, sales, video and business. Currently, NTS is developing a "Train the Trainer” program with the intention of launching it in 2012. If you’re interested in becoming an instructor, contact NTS at 866-636-1687 or NTS@esaweb.org.