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Calendar

10/3/2016
ESA of Virginia (ESA of VA) Golf Tournament

10/5/2016
WAESA Fire & Security Alarm Symposium

10/7/2016 » 10/8/2016
First Annual ESA of Missouri Conference

10/8/2016
ESA of Missouri Annual Meeting

NTS Newsletter

NTS News

Launch of the Florida BASA FASA 14-Hour Online CourseOpen in a New Window

BASA/FASA, CEU, NTS, Nation Training School

ESA's National Training School and ESA of Florida are excited to announce the recently launched Florida BASA/FASA online course. This 14-hour course covers the required Burglar Alarm and Fire Alarm System Agent topics required by the Florida Electrical Contractors Licensing Board. The course is available at a promotional rate of $199 for members and $225 for non-members. This fee includes the BASA/FASA ID card. Using technology available through our partner, ProctorU, all components of the course can be completed online. All you need is a web enabled computer, web cam and microphone so that your identity can periodically be verified. For more information and to get registered visit the ESA BASA/FASA page.

ECLB Provider #0000856 / Course Numbers:FASAeb 0801688 & BASAeb 0801689 

 

Two New CEU Courses to Help You Stay LicensedOpen in a New Window

The ESA National Training School catalog of CEU courses expanded this month with the release of two new CEU Courses:Maintenance and Inspections Processes to Avoid Trouble and Basic Circuit Troubleshooting and Testing. Both of these CEU courses provide necessary tips on how to troubleshoot common alarm issues.  NTS News, CEU
 The 1-hour Maintenance and Inspections Processes to Avoid Trouble course provides checklists to aid in testing and inspections and shares NFPA requirements regarding life safety system testing methods and frequencies. The 2-hour Basic Circuit Troubleshooting and Testing class will provide a clear plan on how to fix what is found inside a faulty panel. These excellent courses will not only provide you with CEU credits approved in several states, but also a roadmap to prevent and solve common problems found in alarm systems. For more information on pricing, registration and what state agencies have approved these courses, please visit our CEU Catalog page.

 

ESA’s National Training School Loses a Friend and InstructorOpen in a New Window

NTS, John Frederic  On July 13, 2016, ESA’s National Training School (NTS) and the Louisiana Life Safety & Security Association chapter lost a dear friend and instructor, John Frederic. John passed away suddenly leaving behind his teaching partner and wife of 53 years, Mary Ann. 
 John taught NTS classes for many years as teaching was a hobby and passion for him. He loved to share his knowledge with others and was very dedicated to the NTS training program. In fact, he and Mary Ann taught a course the weekend before his passing and the feedback from the attendees included these comments: “Instructors were awesome!” and “Instructors were a joy”. Those were consistent comments from all the courses John taught as he truly cared about his students and wanted to ensure they grasped the concepts he was teaching. The ESA team extends our deepest condolences to Mary Ann and John’s family. We thank you for sharing him with us over the years and we pray the fond memories you have of him bring your peace and comfort. Rest in peace John. 

 

Do You Take Your Professional Development Seriously?Open in a New Window

NTS News 

Do you take your professional development seriously? Are you eager to learn but need some help with what the next steps should be?      

ESA is here to help you take your skills to the next level with our Certification Bundles. These bundles allow Members to save up to 10% on course fees when all required courses are purchased in advance.

 
 

This is a great option for those looking to attain a license in one of the states that accepts ESA/NTS Certified Alarm Technician (CAT) Level II, Certified Fire Alarm Technician (CFAT) or Certified Fire Alarm Designer (CFAD).

Not only will you save money, you will automatically be registered in the courses required to earn the certification.  Let us keep you on track and ensure you don’t miss a step while earning your certification.

Please email NTS@ESAweb.org or call 888-447-1689 to get started today.

NOTE:  Not all state regulatory agencies allow online courses for licensing.  Please check with your licensing agency prior to taking this course for licensing.

Click on your state for more information:  

Alabama

Arkansas

Iowa

Louisiana

Mississippi

Montana

Tennessee

Texas


 

Is It Certification Renewal Time Soon?Open in a New Window

 

Over 6,000 people earn an NTS Certification each year.  These are smart people, not only because they passed their certification course exams, but because they made the choice to get certified. Certifications provide noticeable acknowledgment of your core skills and knowledge.  It provides validity of your abilities to others, including your customers, supervisors, peers, and potential employers. What makes them even more valuable is they are earned and continuously maintained; therefore, you are continuously showing your customers that you are committed to keeping abreast of the latest innovations in the industry.  That holds true for NTS Certifications as well, once earned; they need to be renewed by showing proof of CEU credits.  So don’t let all of your hard work go to waste by letting your certification expire. Look at the expiration date on your NTS ID Card to find out when it expires then visit our website to find out how to renew your certification. If you have any questions, you can email nts@esaweb.org  or call 888-447-1689. 

 

 

ESA/NTS Gains Approvals in Several StatesOpen in a New Window

 NTS News, ESA  

ESA/NTS has made some major strides this past month in having our Fire and CEU courses approved by several regulatory agencies.  The Montana Department of Labor & Industry has approved ESA/NTS’s Certified Fire Alarm Technician (CFAT) Level II Fire certification to meet the standards of licensure for the fire protection program.  This allows ESA/NTS’s Level II Fire certification to be an alternative to NICET certification in Montana.  Visit the certifications page to learn more about the  CFAT certification, and the other certifications offered.

New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs approved many of the online courses ESA/NTS offers for continuing education credits.  The approvals include our CEU courses and the more in-depth online courses, including Electronic Access Control, Video System Technologies, Residential Fire Alarms and more.  The North Carolina Alarm Licensing Board provided authorization for many of the online CEU courses that ESA/NTS launched this past Fall to be used towards renewing a North Carolina alarm license.  For more information about state licensing be sure to check out the ESA State Licensing Guide – free to members! 

 

Simpler and More Streamlined NTS Certification Renewal ProcessesOpen in a New Window

ESA/NTS had a goal in 2015 to revamp the certification program so that renewing a certification was less cumbersome for certification holders. The first step was to change the renewal cycle to be two years rather than one, which meant fewer forms to submit and remember. This change became a reality in the summer of 2015. Recently the ESA Board of Directors approved the final change, which is to expand the types of training courses that can be used for CEU credits. Rather than two thirds of the CEUs needing to come from the courses on the NTS CEU Accreditation list, certification holders may submit CEUs from any training courses that align with the subject matter of their certification.

To learn more about the new certification renewal process visit the Certification Renewal website.

 

 

 

A Look At What NTS Has In Store For 2016Open in a New Window

As 2015 comes to an end, we wanted to share what ESA’s National Training School (NTS) has in store to support your professional growth in the new year. The popular Video Systems Technologies course will be dramatically updated to include the latest camera and storage technologies and will be available in the spring of 2016. In addition to the currently available Fundamentals of Networking course, we are also building another online networking course that will focus on networking for residential security systems, to be released in the summer of 2016.

To continue building our CEU offerings, in the winter of 2016 we will release eight online CEU courses that concentrate on troubleshooting electronic security systems.  Early in January the online CEU course, Introduction to the Digital Home, will be published, which provides details on the digital home and how the Internet of Things is impacting how security systems are integrated with other residential systems.

As you can see, NTS has a lot planned for 2016 and we look forward to keeping you informed and knowledgeable on the exciting advancements that will take place in the new year. NTS Is your best choice for education in 2016 and beyond. Happy New Year!

 

Tis the Season to Renew Your License?Open in a New Window

Many states and jurisdictions use the end of the year as the deadline to renew licenses. Some states approve an active ESA National Training School certification as a requirement to renew an alarm or fire installer license. To help you earn your certification we have created Certification Bundles that provide discounts as well as a deliver a clear path to gaining a certification. Our Certification Bundles will automatically register you in the courses and proctored exams required to earn certification. This process will use automatically triggered emails to keep you on track and ensure you don’t miss a step to earning the certification. To learn more and get signed up visit the Certification Bundles page.

 

New CEU courses to help you maintain your license and certificationsOpen in a New Window

ESA’s National Training School has released new continuing education courses that will help you maintain your

   
    

certifications and licenses.  This month we have released additional online CEU classes: Codes and Standards Refresher and Ethical Client Relations.  These 1 hour CEU courses will provide you or your employees with fundamental information to stay in compliance with recognized rules and regulations.  The one hour Codes and Standards Refresher course is designed to expand and refresh your knowledge of the codes and standards that provide regulation and guidance for the electronic security and life safety industry. The Ethical Client Relations one hour CEU course will provide rules for customer service, explain the three stages of where there exists opportunities to build a relationship with your customer in both a residential and commercial application, describe tactics that you can use when dealing with difficult customers, explain the importance of documentation and best practices, define common contract terms and describe how they impact the installer, and identify the four standards of the ESA Code of Ethics. Each course is just $25 for members of ESA.  To learn more visit the ESA/NTS CEU page.

 

NTS Certifications Now Valid for 24 MonthsOpen in a New Window

We have great news for those who hold an NTS Certification: certifications will now be valid for 24 months rather than 12.
   
    
The Education Committee and the ESA Board of Directors agreed to change the term of certifications so there is less paper work for certification holders to submit and maintain. How does this impact you? If you hold an active NTS certification it will still expire on the date found on your ID card. However, when you renew, your expiration date will be set to 24 months rather than 12. The crucial requirement of participating in continuous learning activities will remain the same, but after the two years expire you will submit 24 hours of approved CEUs rather than 12. For more information about this change view our certification information page.

 

Get Results Now And Then Get To WorkOpen in a New Window

We know that training is not only a way to improve your skills, but it is a requirement in many states before you, or one of your

   
    

employees, can begin working to keep people and property safe.  Our goal is to bring your company training that is relevant and that provides immediate results.  With this goal in mind we now offer computer based testing in most of our instructor led courses.  This process allows students to bring their own wifi enabled device to class and use it to take the final course exam.  This system allows test takers to get their exam results immediately upon completion of the exam.  Students who pass may also access an official course completion certificate and print it to share with their company manager or licensing agency.  For our customers who choose to take our online courses, we also provide an option for quick testing and results.  Through our partnership with PSI’s nationwide network of testing centers, online learners who complete the course can schedule their final proctored exam at a testing center that is located closest to them and at a time convenient for them.  To learn more about our computer based testing options please contact your local Chapter of ESA or call ESA’s National Training School at 888-447-1689.  To find a class near you visit our website.

 

ESA/NTS Announces New CEU course – Home Theater DemystifiedOpen in a New Window

For 30 years ESA’s National Training School has brought the industry core training for all channels of the electronic security

   
    

 industry. This year, we are expanding our offerings and adding CEU courses to help our customers maintain their certifications and licenses.

We have partnered with Bedrock Learning to bring a variety of home automation online training courses to the ESA/NTS’s learners. These courses are perfect for those companies that are offering residential services or are considering expanding into installing integrated home automation systems.

Home Theater Demystified is a four hour course that will teach you detailed step-by-step system design, installation procedures, along with video and audio calibration to maximize home theater performance. This on-demand CEU course can be taken at any time and can be completed at your leisure. For more information about pricing, course details or to get registered visit the course web page.

 

ESA's National Training School is Rolling Back PricesOpen in a New Window

In an effort to ensure that ESA members receive the most competitive prices, ESA's National Training School has reduced the price of our online course offerings by 30%! The new pricing structure for online courses now includes access to the online course materials, an extensive resource manual (over 300 pages for most courses), and the cost for the proctored final exam at PSI testing centers. Our online courses are available in ten of our most popular subject areas including Certified Alarm Technician Level I and Fire Alarm Installation Methods. Please visit our online course catalog for more information on ESA/NTS's online course offerings. 

 

NTS is Celebrating 30 Years of TrainingOpen in a New Window

This year we are recognizing and celebrating the National Training School's 30th anniversary! Check out the new ESA/NTS 2015 Training Catalog for a brief history of the program and to learn more about the great new additions we are offering this year including new online courses that are perfect for attaining CEUS: Fundamentals of Networking, Residential Networking, The Connected Home, Home Theater Demystified, Ethics, and Job Safety. Lastly, NTS now has the required two day training course for Florida installers, BASA/FASA, available. 

 

A Fresh, New Certified Alarm Technician Level I CourseOpen in a New Window

ESA’s Education and Certification Committee is excited to announce the release of an updated Certified Alarm Technician 

    
    

Level I course.

This fundamental and essential course is required by dozens of states, local licensing authorities and regulators as a prerequisite for performing security integration work. 

The committee’s subject matter experts have worked tirelessly for the last 18 months to review and update the 300 page course manual and all 1,200 slides that comprise the course. Not only did they give the course a fresh new look, they also updated all code and standard references, added modern technology usages, removed legacy equipment references, and reorganized the content so that learning concepts are presented in a natural progression. 

The fundamental concepts of the course have not been removed and continue to cover critical subjects such as: standards, false alarm management, electricity, interior and perimeter sensors, control panels, communications, fire systems, client relations, job safety and more! 

To find an offering of the fresh, new Certified Alarm Technician Level I course visit the ESA/NTS learning portal site.

 

 

Immediate Results for Proctored ExamsOpen in a New Window

Here at ESA’s National Training School we are continuing our mission to make it easier and faster for our customers to get access to their training records. In the past several months we have implemented a new Learning Portal that makes is easier for companies and technicians to register for courses, view their training records, and to manage their information.

 

The next phase in this mission is to give test takers immediate pass/fail results. Many of our classroom courses now provide students the option of bringing their own device to class so that they can take the final exam using computer based testing. This system lets them know immediately if they passed or failed.

 

In addition, ESA’s National Training School has partnered with PSI’s nationwide network of PSI Authorized testing centers for students to schedule and take proctored examinations when they have completed one of ESA/NTS’s online courses. These state-of-the art test centers will provide ESA/NTS with consistency in security, design and registration procedures that will help our training customers attain their necessary credentials.

 

Using computer based testing, PSI and ESA/NTS will provide test takers their results immediately following the completion of the exam. In addition, the varied locations and flexible hours of operation will accommodate technicians busy work schedules. For more information about this new process visit our proctored exam information page.

 

Buyer Beware! Why Choose ESA Courses Over the Other Training Providers?Open in a New Window

 

Just because it looks and sounds Like ESA’s National Training School doesn’t mean it is.

 We have seen a lot of new training providers emerge in recent years that have created courses that are quite similar to ESA’s National Training School offerings. Even the course titles are shockingly similar.  On one hand, we take it as a compliment that they want to replicate themselves after us. However, the buyer needs to be aware of the distinct differences between NTS and others.  These companies can be quite misleading by mimicking our course names and by making the consumer think they are getting the same quality of training that they have been getting from ESA’s National Training School for the last 30 years. 

  

Top Ten Reasons to Choose ESA’s National Training School:

 

Instructors 

We have a pool of 85 Certified Instructors that teach and act as subject matter experts.  These instructors have combined several hundred years of field-experience and have expertise in a variety of areas. Our courses are not developed by one guy who has installed alarm and/or fire systems.  They are developed and updated using a rigorous development process that allows for input from many subject matter experts plus codes and standards compliance review.

Manuals 

Every ESA course comes with an in-depth course manual.  This is not a PowerPoint presentation, but a comprehensive resource manual that can be used by technicians in the field.  The Certified Alarm Technician Level One course manual is over 400 pages!

Certifications

ESA believes that training for the electronic security industry is not a “once and done” activity.  With codes and standards on a continuous improvement cycle, the fast track of new technology developments and advancements in life safety techniques, technicians need to be continuously learning. That is why our education model is built upon certifications that need to be maintained by taking required continuing education courses.  Unlike some of our competition, our courses lead to industry recognized certifications. These are not just pieces of paper you get after taking a class but something that is continuously earned through work experience and CEU credits.   

State Approval Status

Throughout our thirty years of existence NTS courses have been recognized by state licensing agencies that require training to attain an electronic security technician’s license. In many states we have set the standard of license training.  The association is asked to provide guidance to regulatory agencies on a regular basis. 

Computer Based Testing

Contrary to what the competition says, it does not take ESA six weeks to grade exams and send course completion notices.  Many of our training providers are using computer based exams which means students use a Wi-Fi enabled device to take their proctored exam and get results immediately upon submission of the exam.  For those that take a paper based exam, we send out an email to the student letting them know they can login in to our learning portal and see their results and even print a copy of their course completion certificate.

Online Courses

Travel is expensive and so is time out of the field.  For that reason ESA offers online delivery for almost all of our courses.  These courses allow learners to learn at their own pace, use a schedule that fits their busy lifestyle, and to access the course materials at a location that is convenient for them.

 

Instructor Led Courses

Everybody has different learning styles and that means online learning may not be as beneficial to some.  Our instructor led courses can help assure that a variety of delivery methods are used to ensure all learning styles are accommodated.   In addition, technicians that are new to the industry may have better success rates in training by having a live instructor teach the course.  The instructor is there to deliver the curriculum, show best installation practices, provide assistance with tricky electrical formulas, and listen and respond to questions regarding concepts not fully grasped.  Instruction at this level is very difficult to deliver online as online courses have limited access to an instructor. It is for these reasons ESA continues to offer instructor led courses for all our training.

 

Private Courses

The needs of each electronic security company are unique to them.  To help support those unique needs ESA’s training providers will bring training to the company and customize it to fit their needs.  This could include hosting the training at their site, adding content based on the company’s installation protocols, or custom schedules to fit the company’s needs.

 

Support the Industry

ESA is a non-profit trade association so all profit we collect from training gets reinvested right back into the industry.  Your funds are not used for individual gain but reallocated into public relations campaigns to promote member companies, workforce improvement programs, codes and standards development, and government relation initiatives to make sure the industry’s needs are being considered in state and federal legislature.

 

Staff

Know you are in great hands with the team of staff that support you through your ESA/NTS Training.  We are proud of the many years of experience the team has within the industry and also within education administration.  The Vice President of Training & Certification has 20 years’ experience in teaching, instructional technology, and administering professional credentialing programs.  Additional staff includes experts in instructional design, apprenticeship, occupational training, association management, and electronic security administration.  Our mission is to ensure we are offering training that is relevant and that is assessed frequently to ensure it is meeting the needs of the consumer. 

 

 

NTS Prepares its Learning Management System as a Powerful Training ToolOpen in a New Window

  
 
   

Do you suffer from acronym overload? I know I do! I have a cheat sheet of all the industry acronyms so that I can quickly look up the letters that someone blurts out. I call it my alphabet soup dictionary.

The life safety industry is not unlike other industries in its love for acronyms; the fields of technology, medicine, and engineering are all well recognized for their long lists of acronyms. Education and training has its alphabet soup as well, and one of the most powerful is the acronym LMS: Learning Management System. Get ready, because you are going to hear a lot from ESA about our LMS in the coming months.

So what exactly is an LMS, and why should you care? Properly defined, a Learning Management System is a software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting and delivery of e-education courses or e-training programs. In the last couple of years, these applications have evolved to be even more powerful than the formal description. Many of them are cloud-based or internet-hosted, and they track and support live learning events as well as e-learning. Five years ago, the main users of an LMS were administrators and instructors. But today, students rely on the LMS as much as the training staff. 

At ESA’s National Training School (NTS) we have big plans for the LMS we recently acquired. Our goal is to have the LMS – or as we are calling it, the ESA Learning Portal – become an easily accessible and easy-to-use tool for our customers to access their past training records and to track their progress in completing ESA/NTS certifications.

We aren’t stopping there, however. The learning portal will also allow students who register for one of our many live training courses to access supplemental course information in advance or after the class. Remember those difficult electricity math calculations you learned in Level I? Tutorials will be available on the learning portal for students to access whenever they need it.

My favorite resource on the portal is the Security Industry Dictionary, because it contains a comprehensive list of industry acronyms and definitions of common industry terms. We include this dictionary in most of our course manuals, but having it on the portal site will allow learners to access it when and where they need it – even from their smartphone.

Another key service we are going to provide through the learning portal is computer-based testing, which will allow students to take one of our human-proctored exams on their tablet or laptop and immediately receive their pass/fail status. 

Our mission at ESA/NTS over the next year is to use the LMS to provide better, faster and more efficient services and tools for our core customer, the learners. We are extremely excited about the transition we are undergoing and we know you will be excited as well.

Please watch your inbox for announcements regarding the roll-out of this new tool.  In the meantime, you can start to memorize the latest industry acronyms: WORP, MSSP, VMS, and any other new entries in the alphabet soup dictionary.

 

How Will You Answer These Questions About Residential Fire Alarms?Open in a New Window

   


  
How will your company show compliance with NFPA 72 10.5.2? How will your technicians answer a mother’s question "How do you know this is the best fire safety system to protect my family?” ESA’s National Training School (NTS) seven-hour Residential Fire Alarm (RFA) course will make answering those vital questions very easy.

Did you know that the Residential Fire Alarm course is one of our lowest selling courses? This news dismayed the  ESA Board of Directors at its recent meeting. Training and Certification staff and the Standards and Fire/Life Safety Committee are now tasked to find ways to communicate the importance of this course to our members. In 2012, residential fires killed 2,405 people in the U.S. according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). That is 97 percent of all structural fire deaths. Those statistics alone are reason enough why technicians need to be trained on the proper installation and service of residential fire systems. These are not lick and stick systems. There are very specific codes and standards that must be complied with in order for the systems to work properly.

One code that is especially significant is NFPA 72 10.5.2 that states "Fire alarm systems and emergency communications systems installation personnel shall be qualified or shall be supervised by persons who are qualified in the installation, inspection, and testing of the systems.” Qualified is later defined as "one or more of the following: (1) Personnel who are registered, licensed, or certified by a state or local authority (2) personnel who are certified by a nationally recognized certification organization acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction (3) Personnel who are factory trained and certified for fire alarm system installation and/or emergency communications system installation of the specific type and brand of system and who are acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction.”

Another requirement of NFPA 72 is that all household fire alarm systems must be inspected annually. The premise owner is responsible for the maintenance of the system. Rick Simpson, chair of ESA's Standards and Fire/Life Safety Committee, shares that "this is a tremendous opportunity to assist the homeowner in ensuring it meets this requirement. A household fire alarm system should be inspected and serviced by a qualified technician as defined in NFPA 72.”

ESA’s Residential Fire Alarm course will not only help you comply with NFPA requirements, but it will also help you train technical staff on the different types of residential fire systems, circuits and testing required. That way you can answer that mother’s questions and provide a level of safety and security for that family.

Please contact your local state Chapter to request RFA or contact ESA/NTS’s national office at nts@esaweb.org or www.esaweb.org/nts.

 

NTS to Begin Offering CEU Courses Via WebinarsOpen in a New Window

   


 
ESA's National Training School (NTS) is working closely with subject matter experts to create new one- and two-hour professional development courses that are designed to help students maintain continuing education unit (CEU) requirements for licenses and certifications through training that is relevant to their needs. 

These courses will be offered as webinars that are conveniently scheduled during lunch hours and late afternoon to accommodate students' busy schedules and minimized time taken out of the field.

In addition, NTS will also roll out several new online on-demand CEU courses. Unlike traditional live training, these courses allow students to take training at a time and place that is convenient for them.

Visit the CEU page to see which topics are in development.

 

What's Your Excuse for Lacking CEUs?Open in a New Window

What's your excuse?

Come on, we know you have an excuse as to why you haven’t gotten your CEUs. To make things a little easier for you, just pick a number.

1. Didn’t have the time.

2. No way to get them where I live.

3. They cost too much.

4. I don’t know where to go to get them.

5. I can’t take the time off work.

6. (Insert your own here)

Everybody seems to have an excuse, but the truth is, they just haven’t been trying. It doesn’t take much effort to continue learning; all you need to do is look. Look where? Well, you deal or install a manufacturer’s equipment right? There is a good chance that they may provide courses online or taught by a representative that are eligible for CEUs. And most of the time, these courses are free.

When teaching classes, I always encourage my students to take courses from other manufacturers; not only for the CEUs, but to get familiar with another manufacturer's equipment as they may run across it in a service call or takeover. There is also the added benefit of knowing what else is out there.

Also check with your distributor for upcoming CEU offerings. Many distributors hold expos at their branches that include CEU classes. By attending these events, not only will you receive training, but you'll also get a free lunch.

ESA's National Training School (NTS) offers classroom and online courses that are a great value not only for the CEUs but also the price. All you have to do is look at the NTS website and see what courses are being offered near you. If the course you need isn't offered near you, call NTS; I bet they will do what they can to make it happen. (I know because I’ve seen them do it.)

When speaking with my students, I find most of them prefer instructor-led courses not only for the information that is presented, but also the valuable interaction with the other students and instructor. I have yet to teach a course where someone didn’t run a long-standing problem by me for a solution. I always enjoy these challenges; I get as much out of it as you do.

What if there aren't any classes in your area and your boss doesn’t want to send you away for one? NTS has you covered. Many of NTS' most popular courses are available online and can be taken at your own pace. This means you can start and stop as many times as you'd like and work on your courses whenever it's convenient for you.

If your state has an ESA Chartered Chapter, check with them to find out more information about upcoming classes. If your chapter is short on instructors, think about becoming one. It isn’t easy, but the rewards are great. I have enjoyed the time with my students and still hear from some.

Just like you, I have to get CEUs. So, buckle down and spend a few rainy days continuing your education -- you and your boss will be glad you did. And no more excuses.


About David Sumner

David Sumner has been an NTS Certified Instructor for four years and has more than 20 years of experience in the alarm/low voltage industry. His skill set spans from installation and service to management. Sumner is also a retired US. Army Aviator and can be reached at dwsumner@yahoo.com.


 

CFAD Approved for Iowa LicensingOpen in a New Window

  

 
The Iowa State Fire Marshal recently approved the Certified Fire Alarm Designer (CFAD) designation offered by ESA's National Training School (NTS) as an acceptable form of training for applicants seeking Fire Alarm System Contractor licensing in the state of Iowa.

Iowa licensing laws state that alarm system contractors and installers must have prior training and be certified by the fire marshal. In order to attain proper licensing, individuals must apply for endorsements in the scope of work that they perform. CFAD is one of three acceptable certification programs for the Fire Alarm System Contractor endorsement in Iowa.

"Gaining approval for CFAD in Iowa is a major accomplishment for NTS,” said ESA Vice President of Training and Certification Michelle Yungblut. "Having this new certification recognized as equivalent to NICET III has been a goal of the ESA Education Committee for quite some time, so this is a momentous occasion. This is the first of many states we will pursue to get CFAD on the ticket for acceptable licensing.”

To earn CFAD status, a student must hold Certified Fire Alarm Technician (CFAT) status or higher for 36 months or prove equal work history by work verification and successfully complete ESA’s newest course, Professional Fire Alarm Design (PFAD). The 14-hour course provides individuals with specific training for developing an installation plan based on field conditions and project requirements.

The first PFAD class offering will be held  on Dec. 3-4, 2013 at the Iowa DPS in Des Moines. Students may register online by clicking here.

The newly developed course is the most advanced fire class offered by NTS. It’s also the most up-to-date fire course in the industry.

"PFAD is based on the 2013 NFPA 72, which is more current than many, if not all, of the competing courses,” said Greg Kessinger, national training director at Zenith Design Group and PFAD subject matter expert. "And the depth of knowledge that ultimately created this course cannot be compared to any other organization’s offerings.”


CFAD isn’t the only NTS certification that gained recognition in Iowa. CFAT was also recently approved for the Nurse Call System Contractor endorsement. CFAD and CFAT join two other certifications previously approved through the Iowa State Fire Marshal: Certified Alarm Technician Level II and Certified Alarm Technician Level I.

 

Installation Tip #01: Professional AppearanceOpen in a New Window

When I teach Level I through NTS, I always dwell on the fact that meeting the customer is the first part of an installation and that a successful installation will fall back on that first impression.

Within seven seconds, the customer will determine -- based on your appearance -- whether or not you will do a good job installing their investment. You can be the best installation technician in the world, but if the customer determines that you do not look capable of doing the job, then you will never satisfy them.

Are first impressions based on our appearances fair? Who knows? Is it a fact? Yes. Always look professional and install your customers' systems like they are your own; then you will have a successful installation and a customer for life.

 

 

NTS News now features a monthly Installation Tip. These tips are provided by members of the ESA Installation and Service Professionals Group and will be tied to subject matter you can find in our NTS courses. If you would like to share an "Installation Tip” with our readership, please submit your suggestion to NTS@ESAweb.org.

 

ESA Membership: What’s In It for Me?Open in a New Window

When contemplating whether or not to join ESA, many companies ask: "What’s in it for me?”

Well, in short, a lot.

In the 1800s, immigrants came to the United States and formed burial societies. Members of these "social clubs” would secure land for cemeteries, set up English classes and prepare their members for U.S. citizenship. Essentially, it was immigrants looking out for other immigrants.

Today, ESA fills the role of life facilitator for its members. Through various programs, ESA helps members survive and thrive within the industry.

For example, ESA’s National Training School (NTS) is the equivalent of English as a second language. With a broad offering of NTS courses and certifications, students can learn to speak the language of technology and acquire technical skills that can advance their careers. ESA members also receive discounts on online and classroom training. For more information, contact ESA Training & Certification Sales Manager Patricia Allen by phone at 972-807-6806, or email at Pat.Allen@ESAweb.org.

Another benefit of being a part of the ESA tribe is Security America Risk Retention Group (SARRG). SARRG is an errors and omissions and general liability insurance company that is owned by its policyholders. These alarm companies pool their insurance premiums to control the cost of insurance. Where else can you find an insurance company that lets industry veterans decide on claims?

ESA also saves its members money on services they use daily through the Member Savings Program. Many members have reported savings of 20 percent on shipping, payroll, office supplies and much more.  

Now, think about the cost of an ESA membership. With these benefits, you can probably recover the costs in the first year. To find out how much you can save, reach out to ESA’s Member Service Center at 972-807-6801.

If you’re not an ESA member, I strongly encourage you to consider joining because there is a lot in it for you, the association and the industry as a whole.

 

Level I Course Provides Students with Opportunities for Advanced CertificationOpen in a New Window




When beginning training at ESA’s National Training School (NTS), many students choose to start with the Certified Alarm Technician – (CAT) Level I course – also referred to as (CAT) Level I.

This 22-hour course, which is offered as instructor-led and online, gives students the technical knowledge and skills to perform entry-level duties as well as a foundation for pursuing future certifications.

To better help students understand what courses are required for additional certifications, NTS has developed a new Certification Road Map, which can be viewed and printed here. Here is an in-depth look at the advanced training opportunities that students have after completing (CAT) Level I.

Certified Fire Alarm Technician (CFAT) Level II Fire
Students seeking an in-depth understanding of fire alarm installation and the related codes should pursue the Certified Fire Alarm Technician status, also referred to as (CFAT) Level II Fire. The prerequisites for Level II Fire include taking the courses and passing the proctored exams for Level I, Fire Alarm Installation Methods (FAIM), Life Safety Code (LSC) or International Building Code (IBC), and having at least 24 months of field experience.

Here are the latest listings for the courses needed to attain (CFAT) Level II Fire: FAIM, LSC, IBC

Additionally, students who have at least 36 months of field experience and have attained the (CFAT) Level II Fire certification are eligible to take NTS’ newest course Professional Fire Alarm Design (PFAD). Upon completion of PFAD, students will earn the designation of a Certified Fire Alarm Designer (CFAD) Level III Fire.

Find upcoming classes for Level III Fire designation: PFAD

Certified Alarm Technician - (CAT) Level II
The designation of Certified Alarm Technician – (CAT) Level II can be earned by successfully completing (CAT) Level I, Advanced Intrusion Systems (AIS) and FAIM courses and passing the proctored exams and having at least 24 months of field experience. Students who meet these requirements will have a firm understanding of the inner-workings of both intrusion and fire systems.

Get on the road to Level II with these instructor-led classes: AIS, FAIM

Certified Service Technician (CST)
Students who successfully complete Level I, Advanced Intrusion Systems (AIS), FAIM, Troubleshooting, Service and Maintenance (TSM) courses, pass the proctored exams and have 24 months of field experience will achieve the Certified Service Technician Status. Along the path to CST, students will cultivate the skills required to design and maintain modern electronic life safety systems.

Take the next steps to achieve Certified Service Technician status: AIS, FAIM, TSM

Certified System Integrator (CSI)
To earn the status of Certified System Integrator (CSI), students must complete Level I, Fire Alarm Installation Methods (FAIM), Electronic Access Control (EAC), Video System Technologies (VST), pass each proctored exam and have at least 36 months of field experience. Through this training, students will develop an expanded knowledge of installation, service and maintenance of fire alarm systems; understand the theory and practical application of locks, door hardware and electronic access control; and be able to design and install a basic closed circuit television system (CCTV).

Find the classes needed to become a Certified System Integrator: FAIM, EAC, VST

NTS strives to provide education pathways that meet the needs of their students. No matter what certifications students choose to pursue, they can rest-assured that they are getting the most comprehensive, effective and available training in the industry. To see a complete list of courses and certifications, click here.

 

Online Training Caters to Students’ Personal and Professional NeedsOpen in a New Window

    


Since 1985, ESA’s National Training School (NTS) has provided the most effective, comprehensive and available training in the industry. In an effort to make training even more attainable, NTS offers nearly every course online.

Here are three situations where online training is the most efficient education format.

Licensing requirements in your state have recently changed and you need to get a particular certification as soon as possible.
If it seems as though licensing requirements for professionals in the security industry are always changing, it’s because they are. No matter how often the regulations change, it’s vital that you stay current, and online training is a quick, efficient way to meet your particular licensing needs.* Online courses allow you to take the class in your free time instead of having to wait for a scheduled class and immediately assess your learning after completing a course. Once you have completed the course, simply schedule a proctored exam at a time and place that is convenient for you.

Inside Tip: While you may be able to blow through the modules with ease, don’t ignore warnings that you’re moving too quickly. Students who skip multiple pages will be locked out of training; this ensures that the student is taking time to comprehend the concepts. To re-activate the training, locked-out students must contact NTS during business hours.

You work in a state that does not have an ESA Chartered Chapter or your local Chartered Chapter hasn’t opted into NTS training.
There’s no doubt about it: When it comes to getting the best training from the most experienced instructors in the industry, ESA’s Chartered Chapters are the places to go. However, you don’t have to skip education just because you reside or conduct business in an area that doesn’t provide classroom training. Nearly every NTS class is offered online, and like its classroom counterpart, each online course requires an open-book proctored exam and is eligible for the same certifications.

Inside Tip: At the time of your training purchase, a course book that you can use on the proctored exam will be shipped to you by NTS at no additional charge. However, your proctored exam fee, which is $150, is not included in the price of online training. To set up an exam, simply complete the NTS Online Proctored Exam Registration form and NTS will contact you regarding payment as well as date and location preferences. NTS will make every effort to set up a proctored exam in a location that is nearby and works with your schedule. Forms can be submitted via email (NTS@ESAweb.org) or fax (972-807-6883).

When it comes to training, you learn best in a self-paced or low-pressure environment.
Unlike a classroom course, online training gives you the power to replay sections or start and stop the course when it’s convenient. You have one year from the date of purchase to complete the course, online assessment test and proctored exam. Before qualifying for a proctored exam, you must pass an online assessment test with a score of 70 or above.

Inside Tip: While online courses are flexible with your schedule, it’s important to remember to save your progress when stepping away from your computer. After 10 minutes of inactivity the program will time-out without saving your stopping point. Upon your return, you will be asked to log back in and start that particular module from the beginning.

ESA member companies can save time and money when purchasing multiple online courses through the Power User Discount. The savings start at $250 and increase with each online course purchase. To take advantage of this member benefit, please contact ESA Training and Certification Sales Manager Pat Allen by email Pat.Allen@ESAweb.org or by phone (800) 447-1689 ext. 6806.

Whether you need a certification in a hurry, you live in a state without NTS training, you learn best when the material is self-paced or if you simply prefer the convenience of taking training in your pajamas, online courses through NTS can provide the tools you need to maintain your proficiency in the industry.

 

*Please verify with NTS that online training is approved for licensing in your area  as some regulatory agencies have restrictions.

 

NTS Instructors Become Students During Train the Trainer CourseOpen in a New Window

ESA’s National Training School (NTS) recently returned to Nashville to host a "Train the Trainer” course that is focused on enhancing the skills of current and prospective NTS instructors. The exclusive, invitation-only course was held on June 17 during ESX – marking only the second time the unique course has been offered.

Two senior NTS instructors – Dale Eller of ITZ Solutions and Joel Kent of FBN Security – led the successful one-day course that drew 15 attendees. The course was designed to give attendees the tools they need to successfully deliver NTS course materials to students. Train the Trainer covered various topics such as learning elements, course curriculum preparation, student learning methods as well as presentation and public speaking skills. Attendees received 0.7 CEUs upon completion of the course.

For more information on the Train the Trainer course, please contact ESA VP of Training and Certification Michelle Yungblut at Michelle.Yungblut@ESAweb.org or by phone at (972) 807-6830.

Attendees enhance their skills as instructors in the Train the Trainer course held on June 18 during ESX in Nashville, Tenn.

 

New NTS Guidelines to Affect All Certification Holders this FallOpen in a New Window

    



The ESA Education Committee and the training and certification department are excited to announce that the updated National Training School’s (NTS) Guidelines have been approved by the ESA Board of Directors. The revised document contains the major policies that ESA/NTS operates under and provides policy oversight to training providers, instructors, students as well as certification candidates and holders. The updates to the document were made to provide clarity to the policies and structure the NTS certifications so that they are easier to understand and maintain.

One of the most notable changes is how the new Guidelines will affect the renewal process for current NTS certification holders. Please note the following updates:

Certifications

The requirements for obtaining certifications have been revised so that students may apply security industry work history  instead of waiting a specified time to obtain a new certification. For example, the Level II language now states, "To earn Level II, students must have held an ESA/NTS Level I or higher certificate for a minimum of 24 months or prove equal work history by work verification and successfully complete two courses of study: AIS and FAIM.” An acceptable method of verifying employment in the security industry may include providing pay stubs, industry license(s), industry certifications, or verification letter on company letterhead from employer.

Maintaining Certification
The requirements for maintaining an active certification have been revised and the continuing education requirements have been clearly specified. This includes new limitations on CEU courses that have not undergone accreditation by ESA/NTS.

Lapsed Certifications
If less than 36 months have passed since the lapse of an individual's certification, the student may renew their certificate by taking 12 CEUs for each year lapsed and paying a fee for each lapsed year. However, if the student's certification has lapsed more than 36 months, he or she will need to retake the primary course that led to the certification.

To ensure students have ample time to make arrangements for the revised renewal process, the implementation of the certification policies will be Sept. 1, 2013.

If you have questions or need further assistance, please contact ESA/NTS at NTS@ESAweb.org or 888-447-1689.

 

Newest NTS Course Takes Fire Alarm Design to the Next LevelOpen in a New Window

ESA’s National Training School (NTS) is putting the finishing touches on a new course that takes commercial fire knowledge to the next level. The course, Professional Fire Alarm Design (PFAD), will give students the tools they need to successfully develop an installation plan based on specific field conditions and project requirements.

The 14-hour classroom course was created for individuals who have previously attained Certified Fire Alarm Technician (CFAT) status, but it’s not only for technicians. Those working closely with fire alarms – such as system designers, project managers, plan reviewers, company owners, sales staff, architects and engineers – can all benefit from PFAD.

"Written by experts in the fire alarm field, PFAD logically presents information in plain English, yet it’s in-depth enough to engage engineers who may be lacking training in commercial fire system planning,” explained Greg Kessinger, who is national training director at Zenith Design Group, Inc. Kessinger, along with his wife Barb, acted as subject matter expert and played a major role in development of the course and its student workbook. "Not only will technicians benefit, but experienced fire system salespersons will also be able to take this course to help them better understand the many aspects they should be asking their clients during the planning stage.”

PFAD takes an extensive look at fire alarm design from beginning plans to submittal packages and documentation. The course begins by outlining the introductory planning steps such as determining protection criteria, understanding legal coverage requirements based on occupancy type, defining project scope, and understanding owner protection goals and other hazards that may affect the system design.

Next, students will learn to apply the criteria defined from the planning stage to the design stage. PFAD examines various system types and features, including emergency control function interfaces; fire system programming; and steps for choosing appropriate initiating devices, supervisory components and notification appliances. Students will then use code knowledge and technical skills previously acquired in the Fire Alarm Installation Methods (FAIM) course and PFAD in the hands-on portion of the course to design a fire alarm system based on a building floor plan.

After thoroughly covering various aspects of system design, PFAD switches gears by teaching students how to develop commercial fire alarm system plans and submittal documents. The submittal package may include – but is not limited to – a building floor plan, codes and standards referenced in the design, locations of alarm devices, illustration of device wiring and more. Students will learn how to prepare thorough project documentation that will help foster timely permit issuance, system installation and a successful inspection.

The comprehensive course concludes with a two-hour proctored exam. The designation of Certified Fire Alarm Designer is available to students who hold a CFAT or higher, have 36 months field experience, and successfully complete the course and pass the exam. Additionally, with the implementation of this course, NTS now has the ability to offer students a Level III Certified Fire Alarm Technician status.

When it comes to similar advanced fire courses offered within the industry, Kessinger said the knowledge and criteria on which PFAD is based makes it the most relevant and valuable course of its kind.

"PFAD is based on the 2013 NFPA 72, which is more current than many, if not all, of the competing courses,” Kessinger said. "And the depth of knowledge that ultimately created this course cannot be compared to any other organization’s offerings.”

Although PFAD is currently in the beta testing phase, NTS anticipates rolling the course out later this year through ESA’s Chartered Chapters. But, don’t worry; we’ll give you a heads up when it becomes available in your area!

For more information on the Professional Fire Alarm Design course, click here.


 

Head of the Class: Being an NTS Instructor Requires Mix of Desire and Rigorous PreparationOpen in a New Window

The most important relationship we formed as children was the teacher-student bond. Think about your elementary school education: You went into a classroom knowing that your teacher was the smartest person there and should be listened to. Your parents told you this and they were never wrong. You had no criteria for evaluation, and except for personality clashes or similar issues our teacher was a revered person while growing up.

We are now out of school, but we are in need of technical, professional or other educational programs to reinforce, enhance or certify our skills. We now also know that there is no Easter bunny, and that not all teachers are the same.

When you step into a classroom, you should be aware of how the person in front of the class got there, and what qualifies him or her to be there to instruct you.

First and foremost, the person in front of any ESA National Training School classroom wants to be there. It was not a whim to become an instructor. There is a structured process by which instructor candidates exhibit a true desire to be there as well as a technical command of the material they are teaching to you. Each instructor begins the journey by taking the Certified Level 1 course and passing the certification exam with a minimum 80 percent.

The candidate must then take a NTS Instructors test. This multi-section, multi-modal test is closed book and tests the candidates’ knowledge in several areas. Essay-type questions are the main mode.

After successfully completing these requirements, the instructor candidate is then required to successfully student-teach two dates under the mentoring of a senior instructor. The senior instructor will offer constructive criticism about the technical presentation, style and strong points of the candidate’s performance. The mentor will then offer some techniques that have been successful for them and other instructors they have worked with.

The last step before becoming a real instructor is the completion of a course in methods of instruction. Examples are the NTS Train the Trainer course (such as the one offered at ESX) or a Department of Justice course in Methods of Instruction.

Most instructors have real world experience in alarm, CCTV and sales. (Now we must include IP, Network and data skills). Most instructors have active years in the field installing, troubleshooting, selling and repairing systems. There is no substitute for actual hands on experience to learn from.

One trait that all NTS instructors share is the desire to teach. It was not easy to get there, and is not easy to stay there.
 
If you are prone to giving gifts, the best thing you can give your instructor is to pass.

As instructors, we measure our success in direct proportion to yours.

From under the clutter of my desk, this is how I see it…

 

Joel Kent is a senior NTS Instructor and owner of Windsor, Conn.-based FBN Security Company.


 

AIS Takes Education to the Next LevelOpen in a New Window

For anyone who is interested in taking their knowledge of security systems further, NTS can help. The Advanced Intrusion Systems (AIS) course offered by NTS can help you take the next step to becoming an expert.

AIS is designed to help security professionals go beyond the basics and take their craft to the next level. The 14-hour course provides an advanced look at the design and installation of intrusion systems and dives into the many facets of networking, electronics and power systems.

Through AIS, students will learn how to select and apply proper detectors, control panels and communication devices in a variety of intrusion system applications. They will also receive instruction on basic electronics pertaining to system design, component selection and troubleshooting. AIS includes information on system testing and commissioning, as well as practical application of project management principles. The course concludes with a two-hour examination.

AIS is a great educational resource for those seeking an advanced understanding of intrusion systems such as technical staff, sales personnel, business owners, law enforcement, fire service or code officials. This course serves as a major stepping-stone to eventual certification as a Certified Alarm Technician II.

NTS offers this course online and in the classroom. If you are ready to become an acknowledged expert in your field, sign up for AIS now.

 

Upcoming AIS Dates

July 13-14
Shreveport, LA
Register Now!



 

As I See It: What is the Benefit of Licensing?Open in a New Window

Recently, I was talking to a friend about training courses, certification and licenses in a bordering state. I explained that the requirements for attaining licensing in that particular state are simple and suggested that he get the license. He replied with "But, what’s in it for me?”

That question left me speechless. This person was so shortsighted that he could not see that licensing would enable his expanding company to work legally in another state. Isn’t promoting licensing to keep the playing field level what we are all about? It’s our job to protect the public by ensuring that the people who install life safety and smart home systems are competent, qualified and skilled.

While not every state requires licensing, it’s still important to become well-versed in your trade. And, there are plenty of resources out there to ensure your team is knowledgeable and efficient in the work they do. Start with ESA’s National Training School. There are a range of courses to meet the needs of everyone on your team. Also, take advantage of manufacturer’s seminars as a training opportunity.

Education is the elixir to quench the thirst for knowledge. Or, as Galileo said, "Sapienta proper se ipsam appetendo,” which translates to "seek knowledge for its own sake.”



Joel Kent is a senior NTS Instructor and owner of Windsor, Conn.-based FBN Security Company.

 

NTS Trainers Spill Their Tricks of the TradeOpen in a New Window

Training can be tough for students – especially in the electronic security industry. ESA’s National Training School (NTS) has a reputation of being the most comprehensive and widely recognized training program in the industry, and for good reason. Between the mathematical formulas, codes and standards, and theories, NTS courses are no walk in the park. But, nothing worth doing is ever easy, right?

According to our most experienced instructors, there are a few ways to make your time as a student a little easier. Here are three senior NTS instructors’ top secret tips for being successful at NTS.

 


Joel Kent is president of Windsor, Conn.-based FBN Security and an NTS instructor.

Joel Kent, FBN Security


1. Get a good night’s sleep the night before.

2. Arrive early.

3. You should have no distractions during class. Cell phones should be off. Calls can be returned at breaks. You would not leave work to make a phone call to a friend; the class is your work assignment and nothing should interfere.

4. Pay attention and highlight your student manual. There is an open book test at the end, and while it is open book, your ability to pass the test is directly related to your ability to find what you need quickly.

5. At the end of each chapter ask yourself "What did I learn this past hour that I did not know?"

6. If you struggle with math problems, ask the instructor for help. They did not become experts by divine intervention. Each instructor sat where you are now and learned as you are learning. All of the NTS instructors would be happy to meet with you before or after class or during breaks to help you.

7. Pay attention to break times. If the instructor releases you for a 10-minute break, be back in your seat and ready to go within 10 minutes.

8. Listen to the discussions that take place during the presentation. Many times a student will make a point that has the instructor may not have considered.

9. Participate in discussions, but do not talk ill of a competitor or supervisor in the class. There is no place for complaining during class. Keep it positive and work to develop fresh ideas. Your instructor can offer suggestions as to how you can bring these ideas to your supervisor so that they are not threatened by your effort.

10. Have fun. This is a good break out of the daily routine at the office. You can meet with and learn from others in the industry.


 

 



Dale Eller is the owner of ITZ Solutions! and an active NTS instructor.
              

Dale Eller, ITZ Solutions!

1. Many students new who are new to the industry lack a fundamental knowledge of basic electronics or basic math skills.

Pre-training (books, online, etc.) can provide students with a solid foundation to understand what we are teaching them. Understanding Ohm's Law, resistor color codes and basic math skills can help them calculate current, voltage and resistance values in a circuit.

2. Many students don't know how to attend training. Basic seminars (1 hour long) and webinars are very passive learning opportunities. Training at NTS requires students to know how to take notes, highlight important references and tab applicable chapters in the course manuals.

They need to arrive on time and be alert. They should bring pencils, highlighters, page tabs and notebooks or note paper.

  

 



George Bish of Secure Automation is a long-time NTS instructor.

George Bish, Secure Automation

Learn the art of highlighting. Most students highlight too much. Only highlight key words or phrases not whole paragraphs.
      

 

 

 

 

 

Ultimately, your success at NTS is in your hands. By using these instructor-approved tips, you will get the most out of training and your career will benefit. Now, grab your highlighters and pencils and sign up for an NTS class near you today!

 

 

FAIM Prepares Students for the Future Through Technical Skills and Code KnowledgeOpen in a New Window

For those who want to expand their areas of expertise or increase their proficiency, the Fire Alarm Installation Methods (FAIM) course offered by NTS is your ticket to success.

FAIM provides 14 hours of intensive instruction for individuals who want to learn all aspects of code-compliant fire alarm systems. This technical course concludes with a comprehensive two-hour examination. Upon completion, your technicians will be able to confidently install, service and maintain fire alarm systems.

Participants will gain code knowledge and practical technical skills from a curriculum that follows the structure of NFPA 72 and is based on the 2011 edition of NFPA 72 and the 2008 edition of NFPA 70.

FAIM is not just for industry technicians; it’s also great information for business owners, sales personnel, and anyone from the public or private sector who constantly deals with fire systems and codes.

In addition, FAIM training can serve as an excellent opportunity to prepare for Level 1 and 2 examinations from the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). These certifications benefit employees, who gain respect from their peers and credibility with customers; and employers, who can promote NICET certification and market their company’s dedication to quality and technical competency.

FAIM is available online, at a comfortable and easily sustainable pace, or in a classroom setting that offers valuable interaction with instructors and colleagues. Whether you take the course online or in the classroom, the outcome is the same: increased proficiency, professionalism and profitability for your business.

 

Upcoming FAIM Dates

June 8Knoxville, TNRegister Now
June 10Des Moines, IARegister Now
June 12Austell, GARegister Now


 

As I See It: What is the Value of Training?Open in a New Window

Can you quantify the value received for the dollars and time expended on training a technician? To find out, you have to look at the cost of training.

A three-day Level I instructor-led course offered by ESA’s National Training School costs around $395 plus the technician’s wages. But how does that amount compare to the money spent fixing mistakes made by a technician?

Consider static electricity, which is one aspect of the Level I course. Students are taught the danger of static electricity, how it is generated and how to avoid damaging equipment. So, to understand the value of training, think about the cost associated with replacing a 16-channel DVR with 1TB hard drive that was damaged by static electricity because the technician didn’t know how to discharge it correctly.

What is the value of a technician’s time troubleshooting and repairing a problem if he does not have the knowledge to accurately diagnose a complaint based on the customer’s inarticulate description and his aggressive investigation of the symptoms?

Can you afford a repeat service call because a technician did not complete a repair before he was sure that he found the cause? Are your customers going to appreciate a technician who appears to be stumped with a problem?

These are just some of the costs that result from a lack of quality training. Mistakes quickly eat away at your technicians’ time and your company’s profits, but you can avoid wasting your resources by taking NTS courses that meet needs expressed by company owners and technicians. Courses are written by subject matter experts who have extensive experience in the field. Every course is taught by an NTS instructor who can help students define a problem and find a logical conclusion.

Ultimately, how you spend your company dollars is up to you. You can spend it on correcting mistakes or on increasing your technicians’ efficiency. What’s your choice?

 

Joel Kent is a senior NTS Instructor and owner of Windsor, Conn.-based FBN Security Company.

 

Electronic Access Control Course Delivers Technical Knowledge Through Real-Life ExamplesOpen in a New Window

Security professionals who are ready to get into the market of electronic access technology should start with the Electronic Access Control (EAC) course offered by ESA’s National Training School (NTS).

The EAC course gives students 14 hours of instruction, covering both the theory and practical application of locks, door hardware and electronic access control systems. The exercises culminate in a real-world situation, an actual system design based on a given customer specification and building plan. This course concludes with a two-hour examination.

EAC is an extensive course that is intended for technical staff, sales personnel and business owners who are seeking a complete understanding of electronic access control technology.

Upon completion of EAC, individuals holding a Certified Alarm/Security Technician – Level I certification for a minimum of 36 months, and who successfully complete the Electronic Access Control course, the Video System Technologies course and the Fire Alarm Installation Methods course are eligible for certification as a Certified Systems Integrator (CSI). 

This essential course is available in a classroom setting or online. Take your business' future into your own hands and register for EAC now.

 

Upcoming EAC Dates

May 20
Louisville, Ky.
Register Now
May 24
Birmingham, Ala.
Register Now

 

Going the Distance: One Student's Journey to NTSOpen in a New Window

It’s no secret that ESA’s National Training School (NTS) instructors are among the most dedicated individuals in the industry. In fact, it was just last year that a few NTS instructors traveled around the world to teach a Level I course in Japan. But recently, we discovered that our instructors aren’t the only ones willing to go the extra mile for education; NTS students are, too.

In March, Ricardo Diaz went the distance for training. Diaz, chief financial officer for Alliance Security, Inc., traveled from Rhode Island to Texas to take a Level I NTS course taught by LJ Lynes at ESA’s headquarters. Even more surprising than his 1,700-mile trip was the fact that Diaz was a first-time NTS student.

Diaz’s trust in the quality of NTS courses had us wondering if the training met his expectations, so we reached out to him to find out. Below is a brief question-and-answer session:

 

What is your background in the security industry?

I have been in the security industry for approximately two years. I am responsible for financial analysis, financial modeling, due diligence, forecasting, operation management, new business development and business process improvement.

In the last year, I have become more involved in our technician training program. I am responsible for setting up training modules as well as communicating the proper format and standards that should be used when installing a system in a customer’s home.

 

How would you describe the Level I course you recently completed?

It was a very informational and helpful course. It’s good for individuals seeking an overview of the general standards and codes that should be used in order to properly succeed in the alarm installation process.

In my opinion, all individuals installing a system should take this course. It’s a great beginner’s course that provides students with a general understanding of how properly installing an alarm system.

 

How was your experience with NTS and its instructors?

My instructor, LJ Lynes, was exceptional. He was informative, experienced and he understood the needs of individuals at this level. I believe that he was successful in training and communicating the importance of standards, codes and tools because he has many years of experience as a technician himself.

 

How have you benefited from taking the Level I course through NTS?

I had the ability to learn the necessary rules and regulations related to the installation of an alarm system. I was also able to earn the first certification needed to become a license holder in several states.

 

Would you recommend Level I to other security professionals?

Yes. I recommend this course to anyone and everyone who enters the industry. This course provides a great outline of what should and shouldn’t be done in a customer’s home.

 

While next time he may seek instructor-led courses a bit closer to home, Diaz says he plans to continue his education with courses from NTS. He has set a long-term goal of attaining each certification offered by NTS.

Though we love hearing stories like Diaz’s, you don’t have to go the distance to get great training. Many of ESA’s Chartered Chapters provide instructor-led courses that fit into your budget. For a list of upcoming NTS courses, click here.

 

Do have a training story that you want to share with other security professionals? Let us know! Email your story to Jeaneen.Bengtson@ESAweb.org today and you could be featured in a future issue of NTS News.

 

Troubleshooting, Service and Maintenance Course Increases Proficiency with Complex SystemsOpen in a New Window

Are you are an industry professional who is looking for a way to increase your level of customer service while also increasing your proficiency of security systems? Look no further, the Troubleshooting, Service and Maintenance (TSM) training course offered by NTS has you covered.

TSM provides 14 hours of instruction that focuses on service, repair, testing, inspection and preventative maintenance. This informative course provides the industry’s best overview of the proper procedures for maintaining and repairing intrusion, fire, video surveillance and access control systems. You will also get an in-depth look at the troubleshooting mindset, covering a wide range of procedures for today’s complex systems.

TSM is a one of a kind course that includes reference materials from NFPA 70, NFPA 72 and NFPA 730/731 and pays close attention to the proper test and inspection procedures for these systems. TSM concludes with a two-hour examination.

The TSM training course is a major requirement for those looking to attain status as a Certified Service Technician (CST). Not an industry technician? No problem. TSM provides great information for business owners, sales staff and code officials.

TSM is available online, at a comfortable and easily sustainable pace, or in a classroom setting that offers valuable interaction with instructors and colleagues. Both forms of TSM will bring you a better understanding of security systems and a higher level of customer service. Register today!

Upcoming TSM Dates

April 3
Rochester, N.Y.
Register Now
April 16
Plymouth Meeting, PA
Register Now

 

But Wait, There’s More: Two Common Mistakes Students Make After Completing a CourseOpen in a New Window

In past issues we have shown you the importance of training through ESA’s National Training School and taught you how to navigate the online student portal, My NTS. Now, it’s time to talk about what happens after you take a course.

Here are two common mistakes students make after completing a course and how you can avoid them.

Mistake #1: Not scheduling an exam.

After you complete an online course, don’t neglect your proctored exam. Unlike an instructor-led course, an online course is not immediately followed by a proctored exam. To achieve certification, it is up to you to arrange your proctored exam and pass with a 70 or higher.

Fortunately, setting up a proctored exam is easy. Simply mail or fax a completed Online Course Proctored Exam Form and $150 exam fee to NTS. Within 48 hours of receiving your form and payment, NTS will contact you to coordinate a time and place for you to take your exam.

Mistake #2: Letting a certification become inactive.
But don’t put away your thinking cap just yet. In order to maintain an active certification after the initial 12-month period, NTS requires students to take 1.2 credits or 12 credit hours of NTS-approved Continuing Education Units (CEUs) each year. This helps ensure that students stay up-to-date within their trade and reinforces their knowledge in the many facets of electronic life safety systems.

Don’t worry: There are plenty of opportunities to earn CEUs at ESA events such as ESX and Leadership Summit, through NTS-approved courses listed in the CEU Catalog or by participating in a number of industry-related activities such as:

• NTS Training via Chartered Chapters or national providers.
• College/university/trade school courses.
• Conferences, seminars, workshops, training sessions and teleconferences/webinars.
• Independent study.
• Licenses and certification.
• Published articles or books.
• Volunteer service.
• Teaching.

If you have any questions about courses or activities that qualify for CEUs, please contact NTS at (888) 447-1689 before enrolling in a program.

At the time of renewal you must submit an NTS Certification Renewal Reporting Form along with documentation of your CEUs. A new certificate will be provided to you by mail within 30 days.

Education is a lifelong journey, and NTS is here for you every step of the way. For more information about maintaining your NTS certifications, please contact your ESA Chartered Chapter or the NTS national office at (888) 447-1689.

 

Excuses: What are they good for? At NTS, absolutely nothingOpen in a New Window

As the longest established and most recognized source for education in the security industry, ESA’s National Training School (NTS) has encountered many business owners in the past 28 years, and we’ve heard many reasons why companies choose not to invest in training. But we’ve never come across an excuse we couldn’t crack.

To ensure that excuses don’t hold you back from enhancing your company with training, we’re exposing the truth on a few common misconceptions companies have about training from NTS.

Excuse #1: Training takes employees away from work.
Off-site training is no longer your only option. With flexible private classes available through NTS and its affiliated providers, your employees can train at your workplace with your products. Private classes minimize costs and maximize benefits by focusing the training on your company’s objectives.

Excuse #2: There aren’t any courses offered near me.

NTS also makes training available through online course offerings. In addition to training at home, online training allows you to study at your own pace and receive the same education as an instructor-led course. Currently these courses are offered online:

•    Advanced Intrusion Systems (AIS)
•    Life Safety Code (LSC)
•    Electronic Access Control (EAC)
•    Residential Fire Alarm (RFA)
•    Fire Alarm Installation Methods (FAIM)
•    Troubleshooting, Service and Maintenance (TSM)
•    International Business Code (IBC)
•    Video Systems Technologies (VST)
•    Level 1 (CAT 1)

 
For more information about online courses, click here. A log-in is required.

Excuse #3: Training is expensive.
NTS has always offered the most cost-effective training in the industry. In fact, ESA recently made it even more affordable for members to receive online or classroom training through the Member Volume Discount program.

Private classes through the Member Volume Discount program are ideal if you want to train your staff in a classroom setting. Private classes allow you to select the course, date, time and place that work for your company.  When you purchase as few as 15 seats, you can save as much as $1,950. The more seats you purchase, the more money you save.

You can also save on online training when you buy five or more courses at once. The Power User Discount provides substantial savings on the most popular NTS courses including Level 1, AIS, RFA, IBC and more. The savings start at $250 and increase with each course purchase.

To take advantage of these discount programs, contact NTS Sales Manager Pat Allen at Pat.Allen@ESAweb.org or by phone at 800-447-1689, ext. 6806.

Excuse #4: Money spent on training could be better used for other purposes.
When you put training into your budget, you’re investing not only in your employees but also your company. By training your staff through NTS, they will receive the most up-to-date knowledge and technical skills in the industry.

In addition, a highly skilled staff produces better quality work with fewer errors. As a result, your company will save time and money and allow you to stay competitive in the industry.

Excuse #5: I don’t need to train my salespeople; only technicians need training.
Technicians aren’t the only professionals who make up the life safety and security industry. Others– including central station operators, sales staff, business owners, fire service personnel, code officials and law enforcement officers – bear a huge responsibility in protecting life and property.  

NTS takes pride in training all aspects of the security industry. That’s why NTS offers specialized courses that create a well-rounded and educated staff. Find the courses that fit your company’s needs in the 2013 NTS Course Catalog.

Excuses aside, NTS truly is your one-stop shop for quality training in the security industry. Reach out to NTS today and start enhancing the value of your company; you won’t regret it tomorrow!

 For more information, please contact NTS at (800) 636-1687 or via email at NTS@ESAweb.org.

 

Residential Fire Alarm Course Gives Companies Added Area of ExpertiseOpen in a New Window

Are you an experienced industry professional that is seeking a way to expand your realm of expertise? The Residential Fire Alarm (RFA) offered by NTS is your ticket to a successful future.

RFA is a seven-hour course that can aid technical staff, sales personnel and business owners who previously focused solely on intrusion systems in expanding their knowledge of residential fire alarm systems. Students will gain code knowledge and practical technical skills needed to design, install and maintain residential fire alarm systems. The course concludes with a one-hour examination.

This essential course is based on the 2010 edition of NFPA 72, the 2009 edition of the International Building Code (IBC)/International Fire Code (IFC)/International Residential Code (IRC), the 2009 edition of NFPA 101 and the 2008 edition of NFPA 70.

RFA is offered online, at a comfortable and easily sustainable pace, or in a classroom setting that offers valuable interaction with instructors and colleagues. If you are ready to offer current and prospective customers the code-required system test and inspection services included in today’s fire alarm codes, sign up for RFA today!

Upcoming RFA Dates

March 21
Huntsville, Ala.
Register Now

 

International Business Code Course Provides Industry Insight and Technical SkillsOpen in a New Window

Are you a business owner who is interested in creating new revenue-generating services and sales opportunities? The International Building Code (IBC) training course from NTS can help you expand your business through various occupancy classes and increase your bottom line.

The intense seven-hour course focuses on the fire alarm and access control requirements for most common occupancy classes that students will encounter on a daily basis, offering insights on common errors and areas of confusion. The IBC course pays special attention to the similarities and differences between the International Building Code and NFPA 101 Life Safety Code.

The IBC course is appropriate for technical staff, sales personnel, business owners and fire service and code officials. Upon completion, students will have the code knowledge and practical technical skills needed to design, install and maintain fire alarm and electronic access control systems that comply with the 2009 edition of the International Building Code and the International Fire Code. The course concludes with a one-hour examination.

Upon completion of IBC, individuals who hold a Certified Alarm/Security Technician – Level 1 certification for a minimum of 12 months as well as completion of the Fire Alarm Installation Methods course, are eligible for certification as a Certified Fire Alarm Technician.

NTS offers IBC online, at a comfortable and easily sustainable pace, or in a classroom setting that offers valuable interaction with instructors and colleagues. Both forms of IBC will bring value to your company, so register today.

Upcoming IBC Dates

Feb. 13
Indianapolis, Ind.
Register Now


 

Education Paved the Way for New VP of Training and CertificationOpen in a New Window

Recently, ESA welcomed Michelle Yungblut to the staff as the new vice president of Training and Certification. Yungblut started her career in continuing education program development in 1998. During her 15-year tenure at Parker University, Yungblut served as manager of academic computing/online learning as well as senior director of professional studies and continuing education.

Yungblut’s extensive experience in higher education administration and her enthusiasm for learning make her an exciting addition to ESA’s NTS. Here is a brief question-and-answer session in which she outlines her vision for NTS.


Why should electronic security companies invest in training?

Companies who invest in their employees’ training benefit in many ways. Trained employees are more productive, efficient at troubleshooting and have higher self-worth and loyalty to their company. As a result, companies are more competitive within the industry. It’s also common for companies to see a decrease in operation expenses and an increase in employee retention.


How can members to get the most out of NTS training?

I urge all ESA members to take advantage of the new Members Only Volume Discount program, which was specifically designed to help companies save money on bulk training. Even companies that need as few as five courses can buy in bulk with the program. ESA members can save anywhere between $150 to $20,000 on both online and classroom training.


Does NTS have plans to offer more courses online?


We are reviewing our courses and assessing which courses are adaptable to an online delivery system. Our current priority is to place Understanding Electronic Security Systems (UESS) online.

UESS is a great class to have online due to the variety of people who find the course beneficial. This could include non-technical staff, business owners, law enforcement, fire service, code officials and anyone seeking an overview of the electronic life safety and security industry. The online format is flexible and gives the large audience the ability to fit training into their schedules.


Are there any new courses or certifications in the works?

We are currently working on a new advanced fire course. This two-day course, called Commercial Fire Alarm System Design Considerations, will be offered in a classroom setting. It’s currently under development, but we anticipate it to roll out mid to late 2013.

What can we expect to see from NTS in 2013 and beyond?

We are really going to focus on providing a better customer experience in the months to come. Some of our goals include improving the time it takes to process students’ exam grades; streamlining our forms and offering them online; and updating the website to make it more user-friendly.

For 2013 and beyond, we intend to update several of our instructor-led classes to ensure the content is in line with the latest codes and standards. Additionally we plan to implement the use of testing software to aid us in keeping our exams secure, provide faster grading, and to do a more thorough analysis of learning outcomes. I will be constantly striving to find ways to improve learning outcomes, whether it’s by using enriched assessment methods, incorporating instructional technology or enhanced instructor training.


 

NTS Courses Reinforce Comcast/XFINITY Home’s Commitment to Customer ServiceOpen in a New Window

At Comcast/XFINITY Home, employee education is the basis for providing exceptional customer service.

Originally founded as a cable provider in 1963, Comcast has since expanded its services into other markets, including phone and internet service, but its most recent expansion has been into residential security.

While Comcast’s product and service offerings have changed throughout the years, Senior Director of Licensing and Field Compliance Doug Bassett says the company’s dedication to its employees’ education has not.

"Comcast is committed to providing the highest level of quality to our customers,” Bassett said. "Proper training and education are the cornerstones of the ability to deliver the greatest customer experience possible.”

Comcast offers security services on a broadband and cloud-based platform, which requires technicians to master a mix of principles to efficiently install and service the systems. In addition to company specific training that is unique to Comcast’s next generation technology, technicians also make extensive use of entry- level courses offered by ESA’s National Training School, such as the Certified Alarm/Security Technician (CAT) – Level I.

For Comcast, the benefit of using NTS for industry training is obvious.

"NTS is able to deliver the fundamental and required training at the level of professionalism we desire for our employees,” Bassett said. "With NTS, our employees have gained a comprehensive view of the entry-level training material and industry guidelines.”

But employee training doesn’t stop there. Comcast has defined a training path that helps produce well-rounded and experienced technicians. The continuous training efforts include company specific classes and industry-based instruction. This recurring training model has allowed many of Comcast’s employees to acquire various CEUs and certification through NTS such as CAT Level I, CAT Level II, Advanced Intrusion Systems (AIS) and Fire Alarm Installation Methods (FAIM).

The ultimate goal of training is to give employees the tools they need to provide safety, security and peace of mind to customers. Through its training initiatives, Comcast has been able to meet that goal while still having a positive impact on its employees.

"Training allows our employees to broaden their individual skill sets and deliver our products and services efficiently,” Bassett said. "Our company benefits from training by being able to provide the greatest customer experience possible.”

 

Video System Technologies Course Provides Key Edge in Fastest-Growing SectorOpen in a New Window

Technicians, salespeople and business owners who are seeking to diversify their knowledge of the security industry can find just that in the Video System Technologies (VST) course offered by NTS.

VST is a 14-hour course that will provide students with solid technical knowledge and a strong skill base in the fastest growing security technology category. The focus of the extensive course is on traditional methods and equipment such as analog cameras, and coaxial cabling. VST also provides insight in to progressive and emerging technologies like digital cameras, Network Video Recorders (NVRs), fiber optic cable and Power over Ethernet (PoE). The course also includes two extensive exercises that culminate in an actual system design based on a given customer’s specifications and building plans and concludes with a two-hour examination.

Individuals who complete VST and who hold a Certified Alarm/Security Technician – Level 1 certification for a minimum of 36 months, who have successfully completed the Electronic Access Control course and the Fire Alarm Installation Methods course are eligible for certification as a Certified Systems Integrator (CSI).

The must-attend course is available at your own pace online or in a classroom setting. Give your business an upper hand and register for VST now.

Upcoming VST dates:

Jan. 26-27
Memphis, Tenn.
Register Now!

 

NTS Takes Level 1 Training All The Way to JapanOpen in a New Window

ESA’s National Training School has been known to go to any lengths to provide the industry’s best training, but 7,200 miles certainly has to stand out as some sort of record.

On Aug. 20, 2012, NTS held a private Certified Alarm/Security Technician – Level 1 (CAT) course for 10 students in Okinawa, Japan. The students weren’t typical NTS pupils, though: They were service members of the United States Marine Corps, stationed at Camp Hansen.

The Marines were Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) specialists responsible for attacking, defeating and exploiting unexploded ordnance, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). In their line of duty, Marines regularly encounter different configurations of intrusion sensors when disabling IEDs, which makes electronic security a great addition to their training program.

Donald McInnes, senior national account manager for Stanley Security Solutions, presented the Level 1 portion of training in Japan. McInnes has been a senior instructor with NTS since 1987 and currently serves on ESA’s Education Committee. McInnes said electronic security concepts supplement the skills that Marines use on the job.

"We teach intrusion detection system (IDS) vulnerabilities and system/sensor defeat techniques, and then the students practice on a system built in the training space,” McInnes said. "It’s very important that they practice these skills, considering their mission is to protect our country by defeating IEDs.”

The Marines receive security training through the Basic Alarm and Theory Application (BATA) course developed by Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC) in Appleton, Wis. The course was developed in 1996 as a physical security training program for the U.S. Secret Service. Since then, FVTC has partnered with NTS to add industry certification to the course offering. In addition to the Secret Service and Marines, BATA is also used by other federal agencies and organizations such as the Army, Navy and Air Force.

BATA employs a blend of concepts from basic interior intrusion sensors and systems to complex defeat techniques. While the BATA course material is standard for all federal agencies, each one applies the concepts a little differently. In this case, the EODs use their course knowledge to take apart alarm systems and sensors that are used as triggering devices for IEDs. In addition, the students practiced sensor applications and IDS skills, building their own IDS and programming the panel.

Since NTS is the industry standard for training and certification, partnering with FVTC to provide industry certifications with the BATA course was a natural step for everyone. As the past president of the Wisconsin Electronic Security Association (WIESA), McInnes helped foster the relationship between WIESA, ESA and FVTC.

"I introduced the relationship between FVTC and ESA when I became an adjunct there and was involved in our local association as a volunteer member leader,” McInnes said. "I am so honored that the partnership is still continuing.”

NTS can expect to continue providing instruction for the Level 1 portion of the BATA course. Through new deployments from the Marines, Army and other sources, NTS will be able to train more of America’s finest.

"Our membership should be very proud and honored in knowing that the knowledge learned from the CAT course is being used by those sworn to serve, defend and protect our country,” he said.

 

NTS Course Highlight: Life Safety CodeOpen in a New Window

For security professionals seeking code knowledge and technical skills needed to design, install and maintain fire alarm and electronic access control systems, NTS has the solution: the Life Safety Code (LSC) course.

From technical sales staff to sales personnel, LSC provides relevant information for everyone on staff. During the seven-hour course, students will learn fire alarm and electronic access control requirements for the most common occupancy classes as well as receive insight on common errors and areas of confusion.

LSC gives special attention to the similarities and differences between the International Building Code (IBC) and the NFPA 101 Life Safety Code to help students understand what requirements apply based on the adopted codes in certain jurisdictions. This course concludes with a one-hour examination.

Upon completion, individuals that hold a Certified Alarm/ Security Technician – Level I (CAT-1) for a minimum of 12 months and have completed the Fire Alarm Installation Methods course (FAIM), will be eligible for certification as a Certified Fire Alarm Technician.

This course is available for students in a classroom setting or online. Use the LSC course to expand your service offerings.

Click here to learn more!


 

ESA’s National Apprenticeship Program Helps Create a Strong Industry WorkforceOpen in a New Window

In early October, the Louisiana Life Safety and Security Association (LLSSA) and the Electronic Security Association (ESA) started the first group of students in the National Apprenticeship Program (NAP) on their journey to becoming Protective Signal Installers in Louisiana.

This journey, known as apprenticeship, is the first of its kind for ESA and is important to the growth of the life safety and security industry. Apprenticeship helps to produce a workforce of efficient, professional and dependable individuals who possess the certifications and experience needed to fulfill the demand for Protective Signal Installers for years to come. O*NET, a source for primary occupational information, has classified the Protective Signal Installer career path as a "Bright Outlook” occupation that is expected to grow by as much as 20 percent over the next few years.

ESA’s NAP blends a mix of training styles and content to provide an engaging and customized curriculum that benefits both the apprentice and the employer. Training is also customizable to meet the ever-changing demands of the industry.  Apprentices complete 8,000 hours of on-the-job training and a minimum of 590 hours of online instruction that focuses on theoretical, technical and professional concepts of the industry, which helps create well-rounded employees.

To ensure complete mastery of each skill, apprentices work with an assigned journey worker through the duration of the program. The mentor-student relationship allows students to build confidence in their technical skills while being supervised.

Both employers and apprentices benefit from this fast-paced, comprehensive and interactive curriculum. Unlike traditional training methods, ESA’s NAP educates apprentices on multiple technologies at the same time. This allows employers the opportunity to pursue other avenues of business that would be impossible without having a technician trained in a specific area, which results in increased profitability.

Well-rounded and highly educated employees aren’t the only advantage of the program. Employers can remain competitive on Davis-Bacon and Prevailing Wage work by utilizing registered apprentices.  The specialized pay scale gives employers the opportunity to pay apprentices up to 50 percent less than the journey worker wage rate on these types of jobs. This helps employers remain competitive in the pursuit of projects, and apprentices are guaranteed incremental raises throughout the program.

In addition to being a highly efficient form of training, ESA’s NAP is also cost-effective for employers. Participating employers pay a nominal monthly fee per apprentice that covers apprentices’ books, courses and certifications as well as online CEUs to satisfy the accompanying journey worker’s certification renewal requirements. Employers that invest in their employees’ education through ESA’s NAP may also be eligible for tax benefits and workforce development grants in some states. By investing in the continued education of both the apprentice and journey worker, employers will see an increase in employee productivity, safety and consistency, which can result in higher profits for companies.

LLSSA will end its fall semester in December, but the program isn’t slowing down. ESA’s NAP has big plans for the next year: In January, a new class of apprentices in Louisiana will begin training and by December 2013, NAP hopes to launch apprenticeship programs with other ESA Chartered Chapters.

To participate in the National Apprenticeship Program and help ESA create the workforce of the future, contact Operations Manager of Training and Certification Tracy Dalrymple at 888-447-1689 ext. 6821 or by email at Tracy.Dalrymple@ESAweb.org.

 

NTS Course Highlight: Security Sales EssentialsOpen in a New Window

Security professionals seeking a course that explores the complete sales cycle within the security industry at a granular level should look no further than the Security Sales Essentials (SSE) course offered by NTS.

This fast-paced, comprehensive 14-hour course covers an in-depth sales action plan that can help technical staff, customer service staff, sales personnel and business owners achieve success in commercial, industrial and residential sales. Through the use of visual aids, role playing, a student manual and open classroom discussion, students will develop an understanding of how effectively sell security and alarm systems. SSE pays special attention to the unique issues involved with commercial intrusion, fire alarms, access control and video surveillance systems. In addition, SSE provides students will real world examples that highlight the opportunities and obstacles that they will encounter through the sales process. The course concludes with a two-hour examination.

Individuals who successfully complete this course along with either the Understanding Electronic Security Systems course or the Level 1 Certified Alarm Technician course are eligible for certification as a Certified Security Salesperson.

The SSE course is offered in a classroom setting that offers valuable interaction with instructors and colleagues. Use this course to turn sales prospects into customers. Register today.

 

Upcoming SSE Dates

November 7-8
Wilkes Barre, Pa
Register Now

 

Students' Guide to Navigating NTSOpen in a New Window

NTS takes pride in offering education and certifications that enhance the performance and career prospects of our students. We want to help you grow in any way we possibly can. That’s why we are making it even easier to get what you need from NTS. We’ve compiled the answers to the questions that are most frequently asked by you, the students.

Registration

Q. How do I register for a NTS course?
A. Registering for a course is simple. Use your username and password to log on to www.ESAweb.org. Next, hover over the "Programs" tab in the blue menu bar, then find ‘National Training School’ in the drop down and select "My NTS" from the menu. On the My NTS page you be able to find a list of available online and live classes.

Classes


Q. What's the difference between online and live classes?

A. The online and live classes provide the same content in different settings.

Online classes are a great choice for those who prefer to study at their own pace from a computer at their home or workplace. Students can start and stop the course as many times as needed and have one year from the date of purchase to complete the training. To receive training, students must schedule a proctored exam and pass the exam with a score of 70 or higher.

Live classes offer students valuable interaction with instructors and colleagues in quick, easy-to-follow sessions. The classes are held frequently in various locations across the U.S. and each class is lead by a certified NTS trainer. A proctored exam is administered on the final day of class and students must pass the exam with a score of 70 or higher.

Q. Where are classes held?
A. Live classes are held in various locations across the U.S. You can find the most up-to-date class locations online at your personal My NTS page on www.ESAweb.org/NTS. You can search for live classes by state, topic, instructor and date.

CEUs


Q. How do I report my CEUs?

A. In order to renew your certification you must report your CEUs to NTS. You can do this by completing the NTS Certification Renewal Reporting Form then send it to NTS via email (NTS@ESAweb.org) or fax (972-807-6883).

Q. What CEUs are accepted at NTS?
A. To receive credit for courses taken, students must have CEUs approved by NTS. For a list of NTS-accepted CEUs, please visit the 2012 CEU Catalog. Please call our member service center at 972-807-6801 for more information on qualified CEUs.

Q. How many CEUs do I need to renew my certification?
A. To maintain an active certification status, NTS certificate holders must annually earn a total of 1.2 CEUs (12 credit hours) within the 12-month renewal cycle. Certifications are valid 12 months from the issue date.

NTS Documents


Q. How do I get a document replaced?

A. You can obtain a replacement or copy of a certificate, ID card or transcript through NTS. Simply complete the NTS Replacement Document Order Form and submit the document with the appropriate fees via email (NTS@ESAweb.org), fax (972-807-6883) or mail:

NTS
6333 North State Highway 161, Ste. 350
Irving, TX 75038


If you have a question about NTS, let us know. Give our member service center a call at 972-807-6801 so we can get you on the track to success. You can find out more information about NTS and training by visiting us online at www.ESAweb.org/NTS.


 

NTS Answers Call to Duty by Training Homeland Security OfficersOpen in a New Window

NTS recently enlisted a few of its advanced instructors to provide on-site training for their most challenging students yet—law enforcement officers employed by the U.S. government.

The Federal Protective Service (FPS), a division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, sent 12 officers to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Georgia for advanced security training from NTS. Over the course of several weeks, the officers trained extensively in intrusion, video surveillance and access control. The NTS training prepared the students for their next call of duty: providing security for federal buildings as physical security specialists.

FPS plays a critical role in DHS operations, protecting thousands of federal facilities and safeguarding millions of federal employees, contractors and civilian visitors each year. In 2011, FPS conducted more than 2,000 criminal investigations and made more than 1,600 arrests. The unit confiscated more than 700,000 weapons, dangerous objects and contraband, and performed more than 13,000 K-9 sweeps for explosives.

"Federal Protective Service students are not your average students,” said ESA Education Committee Chairman and NTS Instructor LJ Lynes of Stanley Security Solutions. "Almost all of them are well-versed security and law enforcement professionals. They put instructors to the test with questions, scenarios and field experiences they have had.”

Lynes and three other senior NTS instructors – Dale Eller of ITZ Solutions, Joseph Hayes of All County Security and Joel Kent of FBN Security –traveled from across the country to lead the training efforts. They developed a specialized curriculum for that utilized several core NTS classes, including Certified Alarm Technician Level 1 (CAT-1), Advanced Intrusion Systems (AIS), Electronic Access Control (EAC), and Video System Technologies (VST). These courses allowed the students to think about and react to problems on a more technical level.

"The goal of the training is to help our nations’ protectors become more technical and aware of everyday security issues that they are faced with,” Lynes said. "They have a tremendous job and if NTS can offer any assistance, we are glad to do so.”

All parties agreed that the FLETC training was a huge success, and will have a lasting impression on NTS and on ESA as a whole. ESA’s Vice President of Training and Certification Rick Sheets said he looks forward to working with agencies like FLETC in the future.

"NTS loves having the opportunity to train law enforcement agencies like FLETC,” Sheets said. "It really helps them understand our industry and see first-hand the effort we put into training our members.”

 

NTS Course Highlight: Understanding Electronic Security SystemsOpen in a New Window

For individuals who want to gain basic knowledge of the electronic security industry, the Understanding Electronic Security Systems (UESS) course offered by NTS can help build a foundation necessary for success.

This seven-hour class is designed for non-technical staff, business owners, law enforcement, fire service, code officials and individuals seeking an overview of the electronic security industry. Students will learn basic elements including sensors, control panels and communications, with an emphasis on the need for an adequate site survey. In addition, the UESS course stresses the importance of false alarm prevention and explores the interactions between electronic life safety/security professionals, law enforcement and fire prevention officials. The course concludes with a one-hour examination.

Individuals who complete the UESS course and the Security Sales Essentials course are eligible for certification as a Certified Security Salesperson. The UESS course is offered in a classroom setting that offers valuable interaction with instructors and colleagues. Build a foundation that will last a lifetime. Register today.

Upcoming UESS Dates

 



October 26
Jackson, Miss.
Register Now
October 27
Lafayette, La.
Register Now



 

NTS Course Highlight: Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level 1 (CAT 1)Open in a New Window

From sales representatives to installation technicians, NTS has developed a comprehensive course to begin developing your skills in life and fire safety. The Certified Alarm/Security Technician – Level 1 (CAT 1) course will put you on the path to a successful career in the electronic security industry.

CAT 1 is designed to provide students with the technical knowledge and skills needed to perform entry-level responsibilities within the many facets of the electronic security industry. The 22-hour course will give students the skill set to confidently plan for and initiate a successful installation.

This course not only provides the most recognized and insisted-upon credential by those with jurisdiction over security integration work, but it’s also a building block for more advanced training. CAT 1 is suitable for technicians, service personnel, installation personnel, sales staff and business owners who would like to increase their knowledge on all forms of electronic security.

NTS offers this course online and in the classroom. If you are ready to produce higher quality, more efficient work then sign up for CAT 1 now.

 

Upcoming CAT 1 Dates

August 1

Columbia, SC

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August 1

Elmsford, NY

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August 1

Lexington, KY

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August 7

Fort Wayne, IN

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August 9

Huntsville, AL

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August 10

Kenner, LA

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August 14

Des Moines, IA

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August 20

Hickory, NC

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August 21

Miami, FL

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August 22

Rochester, NY

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August 23

Jackson, MS

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Train the Trainer Course Puts Instructors to the TestOpen in a New Window

The National Training School (NTS) recently introduced a "Train the Trainer” course, focused on enhancing the skills of active NTS instructors. The exclusive course was held for the first time on June 25 at ESX Nashville.

Still in the developmental stages, Train the Trainer was an invitation-only course for current instructors. The one-day course and luncheon was designed to give instructors the tools they need to further their skills as instructors, presenters and communicators.

Three NTS instructors led the course: Dale Eller of ITZ Solutions, Joel Kent of FBN Security and LJ Lynes of Stanley Security Solutions. They covered issues such as the expectations of NTS instructors and multiple NTS processes. The course also included modules on student learning methods, advanced adult learning methods, and presentation and public speaking skills. Attendees received 0.7 CEUs upon completion of the course.

The ESA Education Committee continues to improve NTS courses by constantly updating existing courses to meet new code revisions and creating new courses that introduce up-and-coming security applications. While the courses are an integral part of NTS, in order to keep moving forward, NTS must invest in the education of its instructors as well as grow instructor candidates.

"Our goal is to have the senior NTS instructors who were present take the course back to their home states and teach it to area instructors,” Lynes said. "The Train the Trainer course will enable NTS to put more instructors in the field as well as assist current instructors in further developing their presentation skills.”

Everyone who attended the ESX Train the Trainer course raved about the value and knowledge that it provided. The successful turnout and feedback is a huge indication of NTS’s bright future.

"NTS instructors are some of the most brilliant people in the entire industry,” Lynes said. "Having strong class sponsors like ESA’s Chartered Chapters coupled with the best instructors is the smartest way to spread our footprint. We are using our greatest resources to get the most beneficial information out to NTS students.”

If you are an NTS instructor and would like more information about the Train the Trainer course, please contact Pat Allen by phone at (972) 807-6806 or via email at Pat.Allen@ESAweb.org.

 

New VP of Training and Certification Benefits from Wide Range of ExperienceOpen in a New Window

In June, ESA welcomed Rick Sheets to the staff as Vice President of Training & Certification. Sheets started in the security industry in 1992 as a technician assistant at a small alarm company. Since then, he has taken on a wide range of roles within the security industry such as sales, project management, engineering, operations, and licensing and compliance.

With extensive experience working in both small and large security companies, Sheets is a natural fit at ESA. His background will undoubtedly aid in the growth of ESA’s National Training School (NTS) in the coming years. Here is a brief question-and-answer session in which he outlines his vision for NTS, and discusses the need for quality training.

What's the strongest case to be made for electronic security companies to keep the knife away from the training budget?
Well-trained employees are likely to have higher morale and greater confidence when they feel prepared to meet the demands of their job. The more prepared employees feel, the more inclined they are to stay in the role rather than becoming frustrated and seeking other employment. Most employers would agree that it is expensive to recruit and hire new employees, not to mention the cost of loss in production.

You can only do so much when you’re interviewing a candidate. You never know who you hire until they are in front of your customers. With proper training, you will see increased efficiencies in processes, which will result in financial gain; increased capacity to adopt new technologies and methods; increased innovation in strategies and products; and an enhanced company image that will create more opportunities in the future.

How can members get the most out of NTS training?
For employees, training isn’t just about getting required licenses or certifications. It’s about mastering the material so that you are better suited for advancement in your career. To get the most out of NTS training for employees, companies should implement a career path that utilizes NTS courses and certifications. A career path based on NTS training is win-win for both the employer and employee. By determining where your employees need improvement, you can determine what training would benefit your company the most.

Are the courses continually being updated?
The majority of NTS courses are updated on a three-year cycle in an effort to coincide with codes and standards updates as well as advancement in technology.

Will there be any new courses or certifications?
NTS is constantly evaluating courses and the need for additional courses. Currently, we are working on an advanced fire alarm course that will meet a Level 3 fire need in our industry. This knowledge-based course will provide professional fire design concepts mixed with project management skills, which will be a leap forward in fire education for our industry.

What can we expect from NTS in the future?
We are putting a lot of time and effort into growing NTS. One of our bigger projects is to make NTS a required and recognized certification and CEU source in additional jurisdictions. To do this, NTS will meet with regulators to introduce the National Apprenticeship Program (NAP), as well as NTS training and certification programs.

But here’s the bottom line: You will continue to see quality products delivered in a professional manner.

 

National Apprenticeship Program Prepares Workforce for the FutureOpen in a New Window

Tracy DalrympleWell-trained and experienced workers are in high demand in every industry. The Electronic Security Association (ESA) created the National Apprenticeship Program (NAP) to help its members meet this growing demand. The four-year program, which was federally recognized in Sept. 2011 by the U.S. Department of Labor, was designed to aid in the development of a competitive and highly skilled workforce for the security industry.

Each selected apprentice will receive on-the-job training from a qualified journeyworker, as well as related coursework to ensure a broad understanding of the trade. Upon completion, apprentices will be certified Protective Signal Installers capable of installing, testing and maintaining the most complex fire and alarm systems.

NAP Manager Tracy Dalrymple has been with ESA since March 2012. She has worked in the association industry for 16 years. During a brief question-and-answer session, Dalrymple says she believes NAP will make a significant difference for the security industry in the years to come.

What is the National Apprenticeship Program and how is it different from other training programs?

The ESA National Apprenticeship Program is designed to help establish a recognized profession (Protective Signal Installer) for the security industry. This occupation is a new career path that has been classified as a Bright Outlook occupation through the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) and is expected to grow rapidly in the next several years.

Unlike other training programs, NAP’s curriculum is driven by the electronic security industry’s needs and changing requirements. NAP puts apprentices on the fast-track to attaining the training and experience needed to become successful installers.

Who is eligible for an apprenticeship?

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and have either a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Qualified applicants will also need to be physically capable of performing the essential functions of the program, with or without reasonable accommodation.

What type of training methods are used in the program?

National Apprenticeship ProgramThe apprenticeship program uses a series of publications, materials, online and classroom instruction, hands-on labs, and on-the-job learning. Upon completion of the program, apprentices will have attained the required hours to become a certified Protective Signal Installer: 8,000 on-the-job learning hours and 590 hours of related instruction.

How does NAP benefit employers who choose to participate?

The apprenticeship training program provides employers with a pipeline of skilled workers with industry-specific training and valuable hands-on experience. Because of the extensive curriculum, apprentices often produce higher quality, dependable and more efficient work than individuals who have not had formalized training.

Since NAP’s curriculum is highly flexible and covers all aspects of fire and security, training can be customized to meet the employer’s needs. This will give employers the ability to expand their business into new markets. Additionally, employers participating in NAP may be eligible for state benefits such as tax credits and workforce development grants.

How will NAP contribute to the growth of the security industry?

NAP educates apprentices beyond the technical aspect of fire and security. By providing this type of training, NAP creates well-rounded employees with a firm grasp on the purpose behind the security industry.

As a federally recognized and approved program, NAP will bring necessary uniformity to the industry through standardizing the trade. Certifications earned through a registered apprenticeship program like NAP are recognized nationwide and are portable.

Individuals interested in applying for the apprenticeship program should visit www.ESAweb.org/apprenticeship for an application and more information on the program.

Employers interested in participating in the program can get more information by contacting Tracy Dalrymple at Tracy.Dalrymple@ESAweb.org.

 

NTS Course Highlight: Advanced Intrusion Systems (AIS)Open in a New Window

 

For anyone who is interested in taking their knowledge of security systems further, NTS can help. The Advanced Intrusion Systems (AIS) course offered by NTS can help you take the next step to becoming an expert.

The Advanced Intrusion Systems (AIS) course is designed to help security professionals go beyond the basics and take their craft to the next level, with 14 hours of instruction that provides an advanced look at design and installation of intrusion systems, as well as related information about networking, electronics and power systems. It’s relevant, up-to-date training developed by industry leaders with years of experience and a wealth of knowledge.

In this technical course, students will learn how to select and apply proper detectors, control panels and communication devices in a variety of intrusion system applications. They will also receive instruction on basic electronics pertaining to system design, component selection and troubleshooting. AIS includes information on system testing and commissioning, as well as practical application of project management principles. The course concludes with a two-hour examination.

AIS is a great educational resource for those seeking an advanced understanding of intrusion systems such as technical staff, sales personnel, business owners, law enforcement, fire service or code officials. This course serves as a major stepping-stone to eventual certification as a Certified Alarm Technician II.

NTS offers this course online and in the classroom. If you are ready to become an acknowledged expert in your field, sign up for AIS now.


Upcoming AIS Courses

July 14
Shreveport, LA
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July 17
Irving, TX
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July 18
Owings Mill, MD
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July 18
Albany, N.Y.
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NTS Course Highlight: Fire Alarm Installation MethodsOpen in a New Window

For those who want to expand their areas of expertise or increase their proficiency, the Fire Alarm Installation Methods (FAIM) course offered by NTS is your ticket to success.

FAIM provides 14 hours of intensive instruction for individuals who want to learn all aspects of code-compliant fire alarm systems. This technical course concludes with a comprehensive two-hour examination. Upon completion, your technicians will be able to confidently install, service and maintain fire alarm systems.

Participants will gain code knowledge and practical technical skills from a curriculum that follows the structure of NFPA 72 and is based on the 2011 edition of NFPA 72 and the 2008 edition of NFPA 70.

FAIM is not just for industry technicians; it’s also great information for business owners, sales personnel, and anyone from the public or private sector who constantly deals with fire systems and codes.

In addition, FAIM training can serve as an excellent opportunity to prepare for Level 1 and 2 examinations from the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). These certifications benefit employees, who gain respect from their peers and credibility with customers; and employers, who can promote NICET certification and market their company’s dedication to quality and technical competency.

FAIM is available online, at a comfortable and easily sustainable pace, or in a classroom setting that offers valuable interaction with instructors and colleagues. Whether you take the course online or in the classroom, the outcome is the same: increased proficiency, professionalism and profitability for your business.

 

Upcoming FAIM Courses

June 1
Gulfport, MS
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June 8
Huntsville, AL
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June 9
Kenner, LA
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Custom Alarm: Training for Success from Day OneOpen in a New Window

At Custom Alarm, employee education is the key to success. Since 1968, the Rochester, Minnesota-based security integration and monitoring company has focused on developing and maintaining well-rounded employees through on-going training efforts.

From the first day on the job, Custom Alarm employees are enveloped in a comprehensive training program. Not only will the new employee receive necessary training on a specific skill set relating to his or her job, but he or she will also observe the functions and roles within all other departments, such as monitoring and billing. This inclusive program was implemented to help new employees cultivate an understanding of each role in the company. New technicians take part in a three-month orientation period. During this time, new technicians must complete an observational checklist as well as formal training and a supervised solo installation.

In addition to their own training program, Custom Alarm began integrating courses from the ESA's National Training School (NTS) into their training and education program after learning about NTS at ESX a couple of years ago.

"We got involved with NTS after reviewing the curriculum,” said Custom Alarm Chief Operating Officer Melissa Brinkman. "We thought it would be valuable to have the certification and credentials that the CAT Level 1 would provide.”

Since then, many of the technicians at Custom Alarm have successfully completed the Certified Alarm/Security Technician Level 1 (CAT Level 1) training course. This 22-hour foundational course has provided Custom Alarm technicians with the knowledge and skill set to produce more efficient, higher quality work. Technicians at Custom Alarm that have completed course work through NTS are pleased with the skills they’ve learned.

"The technicians have added confidence in what they do because they went through the formal classes,” said Brinkman. "NTS taught them some better ways to do their jobs and be more efficient. It also gives them more credibility as they have certifications to back up their knowledge and skills.”

In the future, Custom Alarm plans to take full advantage of the courses offered by NTS.

"We are working toward having all technicians certified through NTS,” said Custom Alarm Operations Manager Jeff Springer. "One of our focuses is to have our technicians certified to the level and area in which their primary responsibilities lie.”

Because Custom Alarm has a wide selection of products, Custom Alarm provides in-house product-specific training for employees. In-house training is comprised of classes taught by Custom Alarm project managers, product vendors, distributors and manufacturers. This type of training is considered to be beneficial to both the technicians at Custom Alarm and vendors.

"We rely on the product vendors to provide support when a new product is introduced to our company,” said Springer. "They are eager to come to our office and conduct on-going training with our staff. They see the benefit of having educated and trained dealers selling and installing their products.”

The education and training efforts both in-house and through NTS have had a major impact on the success of Custom Alarm.

"Our training and education program has had a very positive effect on our employees and company as a whole,” said Springer. "Our people are our greatest resources. We have invested in them throughout the years and our company and customers have benefited from that in immeasurable way.”

 

The Importance of CEUsOpen in a New Window

The security industry is going through a number of changes, from shifts in technology, like the death of POTS lines, to market changes, like the availability of police response, to the increasing adoption of lifestyle applications in addition to life safety services.


In a time of evolution, one thing is for sure: you can't afford to stick with the status quo. You need to stay informed and you need to know how your business is going to be affected.


While the courses taught by NTS are designed to be applicable to the entire industry and not one line or category of products, the changes occurring in the market require that you're constantly learning and staying up-to-date. That's why the Certifications offered by NTS must be renewed annually.


Certifications are renewed by accumulating Continuing Education Units (CEUs), which can be acquired by taking a number of courses throughout the year. CEU courses can focus on technology, business best practices and more. NTS Certifications require 1.2 continuing education units to be earned each year, the equivalent of 12 hours of instruction.


A number of vendors offering training opportunities that provide CEUs, and they can also be acquired during industry events, like June's Electronic Security Expo (ESX).


For the first time, ESA is now listing CEU opportunities on its website. You can view the whole list at the 2012 CEU Catalog here: http://www.esaweb.org/?page=ceucatalog


CEUS can also be obtained from:

  • College/University/trade school courses
  • Conferences, seminars, workshops, training sessions and teleconferences/webinars
  • Independent study
  • Licenses and certifications
  • Published articles or books
  • Volunteer service
  • Teaching

While many states use NTS courses as the foundation of their licensing and certification programs, acquiring and renewing your state and municipal licenses varies depending on where you live -- so be sure to check that your CEU course is valid before investing the time.


If you have specific questions about whether a program provides acceptable CEUs, contact the NTS office.


NTS is currently offering a 10% discount on CEUs obtained through SecurityCEU (http://www.securityceu.com/). Simply enter the discount code "NTS1285" when signing up and you'll save on your renewal.


After you've completed the CEU-eligible programs, make sure you report your CEUs to NTS. You should keep copies of all paperwork to ensure everything is processed correctly.


Make sure you stay on top of your certifications! It's what differentiates your company and keeps you ahead of the curve when the market is changing.

 

Guardian Protection Services: Fully Dedicated to TrainingOpen in a New Window

At Warrendale, PA-based Guardian Protection Services, success starts with training and education.


The security integration and monitoring company has a dedicated training department, featuring specialists focused on ensuring that any employee or product the company invests in is fully prepared to go into the field.


Dana Sowa, Director of Corporate Training & Development, leads the nine person team, which includes product experts, sales trainers and corporate trainers. The training team handles 99% of the company's training, Sowa says, from new employee onboarding to product expertise to ongoing sales and technician training.


A new employee at the company goes through Guardian's onboarding process, where they'll spend a month learning about the industry and principles of security integration and monitoring. After that month, they'll do a five-day Boot Camp, where they learn how to apply what they've learned and how to handle specific situations with customers.


When the Boot Camp is complete, the new employee will go out into the field with their manager for the first time. Each new employee has an action plan developed for the next 30 days, and after that month, they meet with the training team in a webinar to see how things are going and make sure everything they've been trained on has been captured.


"We really dedicate our time to make sure the technician is set up for success," says Sowa. "We provide them guides to follow so it becomes easier for them to talk to the customer as we want them to."


Sales staff tend to focus more on onboarding, while operations staff engage in more ongoing training. Trevor Block, Vice President of Field Operations, leads the charge for that ongoing training. "He really invests in that ongoing development so the technicians are touching [the product], breaking it, installing it, etc." says Sowa.


When the company is evaluating a new product to use, vendors will often come in and do that product overview, but the training team will build the training around it. "We're large enough that when we introduce something new, it moves from test boards to analyzing certain products in the field to developing training," with handouts, webinars and PowerPoints, says Block.


"We take a product and use 65% of the capabilities - or we're marketing it slightly differently than everybody else. We customize our training," he adds.


The company focuses on ensuring that any initiative or product is done the Guardian way, and that all staff understand why it's being used, how it's being sold, and where it fits into the company's offerings. "We try to dive into what the product is -- and how we implement that product into our processes," says Sowa.


That includes what they're telling their customers, says Adam Rohan, Manager, Corporate Training & Development. "We always have to make sure we can communicate it to the customer effectively. We want to make sure we get the message in there."


"We want everybody to be on the same page," says Block, adding that the sales, operations and customer service departments all need to know what's going on.


For example, the company has invested in interactive services, and they're now supporting devices like thermostats that they'd never worked with before. When you're doing something new like that, every group needs to know about it, from customer service to billing to tech support.


As they've started working with Z-Wave, Guardian has done a rollout to get techs to understand the concepts. "It's helped us put together our progressive plan and how to stay in front of the new technology," says Block.


The shift to interactive services couldn't have happened as smoothly as it has without the already established training team.


"Our training department laid the groundwork for effectively communicating to the base a couple of years ago," says Block. "It was a lot of trial and error, but we quickly realized it was more effective for us to train. As we started migrating to this new technology, we didn't have to develop the training department first and then do the training. We had a good core of training professionals already in place, so as we started to add in these new products and services, we could hit the ground running.


"If we hadn't invested in training, this would have been a huge endeavor with a thousand employees to train on interactive services at the drop of the hat," he adds.

 

Instructor Q&A: Wayne Jones, Jones Security ConsultingOpen in a New Window

Each month, we talk to an NTS instructor and find out a bit about their background and how they got involved in the industry. This month, we talk to Wayne Jones of Jones Security Consulting.


What's your background in the security industry?

I worked for 20 years for a major oil company in the IT industry providing Management and support for large Ethernet networks with a large number of workstations and servers. After leaving, I formed my own company focused on integration of security, fire and IT systems. I also sold and installed these systems individually.


After many years, I closed my business and worked for a large Fire and systems integration company, for several years, in New Orleans. I have been an instructor for NTS for approximately fifteen years.

How did you get involved in NTS?

I have always believed that if one really wants to be knowledgeable and remain current about a subject/Industry, one should teach it.


As a result, at the first opportunity, I contacted the Louisiana Life Safety and Security organization and volunteered.

How do you apply your background to the courses you've taught?

I share my knowledge and experiences, both positive and negative, so that the students can learn not only technical knowledge, but identify with actual applications and real world solutions. I also use my experiences from the evolution of the IT world in large corporate environments to try to expand their understanding on better approaches to their business and an understanding of the potential that exists for careers in this industry.

What's the funniest experience you've had teaching a course?

Not sure I can share the funniest. However, in a large hotel, we had just discussed the subject of proper mounting of devices -- i.e. devices cannot be support by their wires -- only to walk out into the hotel lobby on break and find two smoke detectors hanging by their wires.

What do you find are the best ways for students to get the most out of NTS courses?

Simple! Pay attention in class, read the material and ask questions. The books are excellent quick reference material and should be kept close. I also encourage the students to take advantage of every opportunity to improve their knowledge.


Attending training, conferences and other functions even in their off time increases their value and will help them, over the long term, in their careers. They need to take the initiative in this area and not just wait for their employers.

How have you seen the security industry change over the years?

I have seen this industry grow from a very fragmented industry with function specific technology and technicians with little or no training in code and techniques to one that is far more professional. The technologies have improved, knowledge of code has improved and knowledge of the industry as a whole has improved.


Our technicians are showing far more responsibility and professionalism with their installs and with their customers.

What are your predictions for the future of the industry?

Systems Integration capabilities as well as system intelligence will continue to improve. The one thing that drew me to this industry was that the evolution that had taken place in the IT industry was visible on the horizon for this industry. With all devices converging onto the Internet as their highway, the door will open for better communications between devices.


While TCP/IP has opened the door, better applications will be developed to provide this communication. However, this will require the development of standards. Unfortunately, in our industry we do not have a major company, like the Department of Defense in the IT Industry, that can force this convergence, which means it will take manufacturers longer to make that step.


The demand from companies for Open Systems (plug and play between new systems and existing infrastructures) would help push this development. Individual systems will continue to increase in intelligence (Smart Systems and Devices, Learning Systems, Systems that learn from our actions). Devices will become more software concentric.


Handheld devices and wireless will play a greater role to support our mobile society and in devices installed in facilities. Whether we realize it or not, something as simple as a contact is a point of information. We should be able to capture that information (its state) at its source and pass it anywhere it is needed in any system. The wonder of this is that our industry may actually be destined to become part of the information world.

Our capabilities today and our future is only limited by our imagination.


 

As I See It: The Fundamentals of TSMOpen in a New Window

I'm back. Have you signed up for an NTS course yet? Maybe this is the one for you and your team: Troubleshooting, Service and Maintenance (TSM).


What is TSM, and how can it help you and your bottom line?


Troubleshooting is an all-inclusive term for the instructions you give a technician who is faced with a system that is not performing correctly. The customer calls and says, "It's broken!" You tell your technician, "Find out what's wrong a fix it!"


Simple enough, right? Hang on a second.


There are some things you don't necessary tell your technician, but nonetheless they are important instructions:

    1. Do it quickly. Do not spend too much time on site. Customers get upset with long calls that turn into many billable hours. Customers also do not like to think the technician is stumped and must call tech support.
    2. Do it properly. Find out exactly what is wrong and fix it.
    3. Do it right the first time. Comebacks cost more than money. They cost your reputation and your ability to send the technician elsewhere to make money.

The NTS TSM course will prepare your technicians to handle this process by introducing them to some of the tools available to them, including TDR Meters, Video meters, Sound pressure meters and VOM as well as some of the intangible tools of the trade.


It will also teach them the Troubleshooting Mindset - how to organize the attack on the problem in a logical, orderly manner to prevent going over the same areas over and over and getting the same answer over and over.


Service is the art of repair. Maintenance is the ability to keep equipment working by constant inspection and testing. Maintenance is not really practical for alarm companies, but your commercial customers may want to know how to keep their systems in top shape.


The technician is encouraged to think like a detective and organize the Investigation into false alarms and narrow down the symptoms until you find the cause.


Lastly, when all else fails your technician needs to call tech support, he should be prepared to reply to each question the support specialist poses with an answer. They are taught to take notes and record all meter readings before calling tech support.


TSM is taught in a two-day format with all lecture and class participation and in a three-day format with practical exercises after each chapter (required in New York).

 

Joel Kent is a senior NTS Instructor and owner of Windsor, CT-based FBN Security Company.

 

Training Opportunities at ESXOpen in a New Window

The leading event for security integration and monitoring companies, the Electronic Security Expo (ESX), is right around the corner -- June 25-29 in Nashville, TN.


As you can expect, ESX - which is owned and sponsored by the Electronic Security Association (ESA) and the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) - provides a number of opportunities for education, networking and training.


At ESX, you'll have the opportunity to earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs), attend ESA's Education Committee meeting, and sit in on seminars from some of NTS's senior instructors.


Let's check out some quick highlights about ESX 2012:

    • Every seminar in the ESX conference program provides 0.1 NTS CEU credits. Be sure to get your paperwork approved during the session to ensure your participation is counted.
    • The ESA Education Committee will meet on Tuesday, June 26 from 1:45 pm to 4:15 pm at the Nashville Convention Center.
    • A number of exhibitors will be offering free training on their products and services during ESX. Visit http://www.esxweb.com/page.cfm/link=51 for the full list of opportunities.

Members of the ESA Education Committee and NTS instructors are also participating in the ESX Conference Program. Here are some opportunities to connect and learn from them.


Industry Training and Certification (Tuesday, June 26 at 4:45 pm)

The top integration and monitoring companies in the industry are able to sell their services based on their expertise and qualifications, and the best way to build up those credentials is with the right training and education program. In this session, we discuss how to build a training and certification program that works for your company and hear from an executive who's seen their business grow thanks to having the right training.

Presenter: Howard Sanders, ESA VP of Education


Hiring and Firing for Success (Tuesday, June 26 at 4:45 pm)

The process of hiring, retaining and firing employees is not easy, but with preparation and practice, these skills can be mastered. In today's competitive world, these skills are not merely tangential to your business, but absolutely essential to its success. In this session, you'll learn the four stages of hiring and firing, which will assist employers, hiring managers, and HR professionals with the most difficult personnel decisions.

Presenters: NTS Instructor Don Childers, Alarm South and Cathy McBride, Alarm South


Best Practices for Installation Managers (Wednesday, June 27 at 9:30 am)

This session will help Installation Managers adopt innovative best practices in order to consistently achieve and maximize on customer service excellence for their companies’ installations. At the same time, it will help companies minimize liability. Case studies will be presented.

Presenters: NTS Instructor Joel Kent, FBN Security Co and Jeffrey Zwirn, IDS Research and Development


Have you registered for ESX yet? If not, go to http://www.esxweb.com/register and register now!

 

NTS Course Schedule: May 2012Open in a New Window

May 2Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level I LouisvilleKY Register
May 4Advanced Intrusion Systems HuntsvilleAL Register
May 4Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level I KnoxvilleTN Register
May 5Understanding Electronic Security Systems MonroeLA Register
May 8Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level I HoustonTX Register
May 8Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level I Winter ParkFL Register
May 9Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level I GreenvilleSC Register
May 9Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level I Long IslandNY Register
May 10Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level I TupeloMS Register
May 11Understanding Electronic Security Systems HuntsvilleAL Register
May 12Life Safety Code HuntsvilleAL Register
May 16Fire Alarm Installation Methods RochesterNY Register
May 17Security Sales Essentials BrookfieldWI Register
May 17Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level I MobileAL Register
May 19Fire Alarm Installation Methods LafayetteLARegister
May 19Advanced Intrusion Systems MemphisTN Register
May 19Video System Technologies MonroeLARegister
May 19Life Safety Code KennerLARegister
May 19Life Safety Code NashvilleTN Register
May 20Residential Fire Alarm KennerLARegister

 

Troubleshoot Your Way to Better BusinessOpen in a New Window

The Troubleshooting, Service and Maintenance (TSM) course from NTS is relatively new, but it's already proven to be an extremely popular course. With a focus on problem-solving and servicing security systems, TSM makes one of your company's most profitable engines perform even better.

In an industry that maintains long-term relationships with its clients primarily through monitoring, system maintenance and upkeep is an additional opportunity to connect and serve the customer base. It can also be incredibly profitable - or costly.

"Typically, a service call can make or break your company's reputation," says Joel Kent of FBN Security and an NTS Senior Instructor. "If customers say - yeah, the technician was great, he was in and out, the charge was reasonable - that's a good thing," he says.

But if the technician spends too much time on the job site, or needs to make too many calls to tech support to solve a problem, it can be a problem. "You don't want the customer thinking the tech doesn't know what he's doing and is learning on their dime," says Kent.

Every business owner knows the cost of a service call, and if a tech isn't prepared to fix the problem, the company's cost may increase without the ability to charge the client for that additional time.

"If a tech spends too much time on a job site, you'll have difficulty billing the customer for what it really cost you to have him out there," says Kent.

TSM is designed to ensure that your techs are more efficient when they're on the job site, and that they can properly find the problem and fix it. According to Kent, TSM teaches how to be a detective -- how to recognize the problem, fix it, then reexamine the situation and be confident the problem is fixed.

The big thing is to have technicians establish the troubleshooting mindset and properly examine the system. You don't want them to get tunnel vision and fix the first thing that looks wrong and then leave.

Kent says it's important to take notes during troubleshooting. When you take notes, he says, you'll stop repeating steps. And if you really hit an hurdle and need to call tech support, having proper notes will allow you to provide answers to tech support's questions.

Poorly trained technicians don't do this, says Kent. "They don't even call tech support prepared to answer the basic questions."

For a business, a properly trained technician can have a huge impact on costs and reputation. If a technician can service multiple accounts in one day, it's more valuable than one who can only do one. And customer satisfaction goes up when you can fix things the first time.

"Service is the place that will either make or break your company," says Kent.

 

Moon Security: Trained for Every SituationOpen in a New Window

Many security integration and monitoring companies train the employees on how to handle specific situations - dealing with a customer on a job site, working with a allied trade on an installation or negotiating with a vendor, to name a few.

For companies with central stations, the way their employees are trained to deal with customers when an alarm goes off or an event happens is crucial. But when the employees need to respond in specific ways to specific customers, their training becomes even more important.

At Pasco, Wa.-based Moon Security, the security integrator and central station has a number of different clients, including local school districts and the Oregon National Guard, who require specific processes when responding to alarms.

"We take that responsibility very seriously," says Tom Pitcher, general manager for Moon. The company spends a significant amount of time training its operators to respond appropriately to clients with specific sets of rules and protocols, including using a three-digit acronym for the client.

"We're trying to get top of the mind awareness," says Pitcher. "We have to make sure we are following [the procedures] to the T."

The company has at least 15 large clients with specific rules to follow, and when a call comes in from one of them, operators are trained to think, "OK, what are my rules?" and then know how this client is handled, says Pitcher.

Moon is also prepared to handle the requirements of the different states where it does business. Washington and Oregon both require licensing, and Pitcher is happy that Oregon requires CS operators to be certified. "Oregon was a really good place for us to start building our in-house central station training program," he says.

"We teach the Oregon course in-house," and they add in company-specific things, says Pitcher. "I have always been a big advocate for licensing and certification."

In Washington, new employees to the company go through the Washington ESA Apprenticeship program, a two-year, self-paced program with weekly safety trainings and monthly chapter exams. The state's apprenticeship coordinator and Training Director, Stella McDonald, keeps the company on track, says Pitcher. "She is right on the ball with needing to see progress reports."

When a new employee joins the company, they spend the first month training, then the next two months sitting with a senior operator on the floor. "At the end of 90 days, these folks know what they're doing," Pitcher says.

The company also does a fair amount of product-specific training, with vendors coming to the office multiple times per year. "They'll be here providing tech training as well as sales training," says Pitcher.

Moon employees have gone to visit with DMP, Silent Knight, First Alert and Sedona Office, to name a few.

Pitcher says that Mike Miller, president of Moon and a past president of ESA, had wanted to send employees to NTS courses in the past, and when one was available, they jumped on it. "When we saw NTS was coming into our backyard, it was phenomenal," says Pitcher, who sent two technicians to an NTS Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level 1 course. "Mike's been pushing this for the past couple of years now."

When the employees came back, one of the technicians told Pitcher what he learned. "He thought it was high-quality. He didn't think he'd learn anything from it, but he did and know wants all the salespeople to go through it," says Pitcher. The tech said to him, "If we've got guys doing it the way they recommend in this class, we'll do it quicker and right the first time."

"I was really happy to hear that," says Pitcher.

Because the company takes training so seriously and wants to invest in its employees' careers, they've been able to maintain long-term relationships with their employees. "We invest in our people's careers because it's good for our business," says Pitcher.

"It makes us better, it makes our people better, and it makes our industry better. The way equipment and software changes, I don't see any other way to do business and do it right," he says.

 

Instructor Q&A: Danny Northcutt, Lafayette Alarm ServicesOpen in a New Window

What's your background in the security industry?
I started helping my stepfather when I was 12 years old, holding the ladder and handing tools. Other than going to college and four years in the Navy Air-wing, Security and Life Safety systems have been my profession.

How did you get involved in NTS?
A friend, Don Brown, who was a board member of the Louisiana Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (now the LLSSA - Louisiana Life Safety and Security Assn.), asked me to be a regional VP. I said sure, but only for one year. That was a lot of years back and I'm proud of the accomplishments of our board and especially to be able to work with some truly inspirational people associated with LLSSA. I even had the privilege of serving as state President in 2000.

I have always had an interest in teaching and felt I could satisfy this interest through NTS. I also hoped to help raise the "bar" in the NTS program both nationally and in my state, LA. When Don Brown retired, he again asked me to help by taking his place as Education Coordinator, a position which I still hold.

How do you apply your background to the courses you've taught?
As I said, I started as a green helper, but being a two-person company, I've sold, installed, serviced and cleaned the office over the years. I now have a nice medium-sized company with wonderful employees and enjoy the benefits of the same.

My experiences over the years allow me to relate specifically to most of the lessons in the NTS program. I have been able to balance my real life experiences with the courses to justify the course recommendations to do or do not do certain things in our profession.

What's the funniest experience you've had teaching a course?
There's been a few, but the first time I taught FAIM, which was maybe the first time it was taught by an NTS instructor, I had gone through the slides very quickly to get an idea of what I would be teaching.

Everything looked good, and the day of the class, I had four representatives from the LA State Fire Marshal's office as students along with fifteen industry professionals. As soon as I started the program and had to dwell on a slide, it automatically advanced, and advanced and advanced. I paused class for an emergency repair and called NTS for help, but there wasn't anything they could do for me.

Apparently, the creator had set the PowerPoint up to auto advance, and since I had reviewed the slides quickly, this error had gone unnoticed. The PowerPoint Reader was just that -- "read only" -- so I couldn't modify and had to advance a slide, right click, pause, discuss, right click, resume, over and over through the entire course. Also the irregular ceiling formulas were incorrect and created serious confusion for this instructor.

After muddling through this embarrassing course, I promptly bought a copy of PowerPoint and learned how to edit programs as needed after careful review.

What do you find are the best ways for students to get the most out of NTS courses?
I like to ask a lot of questions, e.g. after a module I ask questions about specific points both general with all class participation and specific questions to individuals and only the assigned person can answer. If they can't answer from memory, I tell them to look it up and let us know when they find the answer. This adds emphasis to the knowledge based courses, in that they don't have to memorize the answers, but know where and how to find them.

Encouraging the entire class to look up the answers during review seems to help. There are always students that can answer my questions from memory. I don't ask those obvious students, I ask the ones that I think don't know the answers. This process has worked well for my classes.

How have you seen the security industry change over the years?
I've seen it change a lot. I started putting in systems with one zone using a shunt lock to allow for exiting, dry cell batteries for circuit and bell power. I've foiled many windows and knocked holes in brick walls with a star drill and hammer. So power tools, re-chargeable power supplies, multi-zoned panels, reliable glass break detectors and passive infrared space detection were very important, but the most important change was the digital communicator, which allowed affordable remote monitoring of commercial and especially residential systems.

What are your predictions for the future of the industry?
There is a new generation of clients -- our children who grew up with computers and video games are now building businesses and buying homes. They see the value in Security and Life Safety, but want it with the modern bells and whistles, i.e. the "App" generation. The new systems using smart phones to control and monitor without land lines is, in my opinion, the future.

We also have to quit thinking of a Burglar Alarm as a Security System. It is only one component of a "System." Burglar Alarms are for after hours detection of intruders, Access Control allow specific people to go where they are authorized and record the same and CCTV captures what goes on in and around a facility 24/7. When you combine and maybe integrate these items, then you have a "Security System."

 

As I See It: Are You Properly Trained?Open in a New Window

It is my firm belief that most of you reading these columns have the intent to avail yourselves of training, but never take advantage of it because something always gets in the way.

What if your competitor took the training and then saturated the area with advertising touting the fact that his or her technicians are now NTS Certified Level II Technicians?

If you were a consumer looking for an alarm system, would you be inclined to look at a company with high standards and qualifications?

That is what proper training and education is all about.

This month, I'd like to talk about the Electronic Access Control (EAC) course, which will educate your technicians about installing and maintaining access control systems.

EAC is a 14-hour classroom course that teaches both the theory and the practical application of locks, door hardware and electronic access control systems. Exercises culminate in an actual system design based on a given customer specification and building plan.

Like many other NTS courses, EAC was was recently re-written to acknowledge changes in technology.

One of the things you must know before you sell the system -- which you will learn about in EAC -- is the defined usage classification of the building. For example, what are the access and egress requirements of the code?

If you are not aware of the code requirements involved in selling and installing an access control system, then you are definitely handicapped. Can you cite the requirements of NFPA 101 as it applies to access control? Do you know there are requirements in NFPA 72? What about the requirements of Article 250? What is Article 250?

Remember: training doesn’t cost. It pays!

 

Train the Trainer Program Coming for NTS InstructorsOpen in a New Window

The National Training School is finalizing the rollout of its Train the Trainer program, designed to grow and develop the skills of its current and future instructors.

According to LJ Lynes, Education Committee Chair, NTS wanted to develop a program to "make our instructors better instructors and to teach new folks how to be an instructor."

"When we did our strategic planning six years ago, Paul Baran [former education committee co-chair] and Isat down and looked at where our weaknesses were," says Lynes. "With an aggressive plan to grow the courses, we needed an aggressive plan to grow the instructors."

Now that NTS has rolled out a number of new and updated courses, the focus has shifted to making the instructors even better.

The Train the Trainer program will consist of a compilation of adult learning techniques and adult learning courses in a one day session. The first part of the day will be learning methods and adult learning skills, while the latter part will be presentation skills and oral communication skills, including speaking and giving lectures in front of the other instructors.

"When we get the education committee members trained on the Train the Trainer, they will go and teach it in their regions," says Lynes. He expects the program will be available to the public around September of this year.

"I think the biggest benefit is being able to assist our current instructors with updated techniques and bringing on new instructors," he says. There are currently 130 instructors in the instructor pool, but less than 50 of them are active and teaching classes.

The program will solely be focused on instruction techniques, and not on course content. New instructors will also learn what's expected of an NTS instructor.

Lynes says the Train the Trainer program will make NTS courses an even better experience for both the students and the instructors. "The courses will run better, students will learn better and they'll have a better experience when they take the course," he says.

 

NTS Course Schedule: April 2012Open in a New Window

April 11Fire Alarm Installation Methods GoldsboroNCRegister
April 12 Fire Alarm Installation Methods BrookfieldWIRegister
April 13 Video System Technologies MontgomeryALRegister
April 13 Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level I East RidgeTNRegister
April 14 Fire Alarm Installation Methods Port AllenLARegister
April 14 Understanding Electronic Security Systems LafayetteLARegister
April 17 Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level I BaltimoreMDRegister
April 17 Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level I HarrisburgPARegister
April 18 Troubleshooting, Service and Maintenance PittsburghPARegister
April 18 Advanced Intrusion Systems RochesterNYRegister
April 18 International Building Code Long IslandNYRegister
April 19 Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level I HuntsvilleALRegister
April 21 Life Safety Code LafayetteLARegister
April 21 Life Safety Code MemphisTNRegister
April 22 Residential Fire Alarm LafayetteLARegister
April 24 Fire Alarm Installation Methods DoravilleGARegister
April 24 Electronic Access Control EriePARegister
April 24 Fire Alarm Installation Methods Oklahoma CityOKRegister
April 25 Fire Alarm Installation Methods LouisvilleKYRegister
April 25 Troubleshooting, Service and Maintenance ElmsfordNYRegister
April 26 Video System Technologies EriePARegister
April 27 Advanced Intrusion Systems JacksonMSRegister
April 27 Fire Alarm Installation Methods MontgomeryALRegister
April 27 Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level I LafayetteLARegister
April 28 Advanced Intrusion Systems NashvilleTNRegister

 

NTS, Education Committee Have Big Plans for 2012Open in a New Window

As we make our way through the beginning of 2012, it's important to look back at the major accomplishments by the Education Committee and National Training School (NTS) in 2011, as well as provide an update on projects that are at the top of the to-do list for 2012.

Last year, NTS continued its efforts toward updating and launching a growing number of educational opportunities for the industry. The committee updated the following courses in 2011:

Understanding Alarm Systems
This course was updated and re-titled Understanding Electronic Security Systems (UESS). The update reflected not only the most recent changes to the various code references, but also included the newest false dispatch reduction methods and procedures. It also broadened the scope of the course to offer non-technical insights on the full realm of "integrated” security systems, including intrusion, fire, access and video.

Level One Certified Alarm/Security Technician
The NTS "flagship” course underwent a significant rewrite in 2007, and in 2011 was updated to reflect the newest version of the various code references, specifically including the latest information on the fire alarm aspects of the code. Additional updates covered the newest false dispatch reduction methods and procedures.

Advanced Burglar Alarm Technician (ABAT)
This course was updated and released at the end of the year under the new name Advanced Intrusion Systems (AIS). This update reflects the first significant update and revision to the course originally released more than 15 years ago. Specific content was included to address the growing IP nature of the industry and our systems, as well as information on how technicians and sales personnel need to address the various integrated components. An overview of project management was also included specifically to aid senior personnel with managing larger, more complex projects.

Essential Sales Training (EST)
This course was updated and re-titled as Security Sales Essentials (SSE) course. Originally written in the mid-90s, the new version offers a modular approach to training both new and seasoned sales personnel on the increasingly diverse nature of our industry. The first day of the course focuses on sales fundamentals from a residential perspective, while the second day focuses on the unique sales processes for commercial intrusion, fire, access, video and integrated systems individually.

The committee also continued its efforts on several new courses in 2011.

Following the release of the classroom version, NTS launched the online version of the Residential Fire Alarm Course (RFAC), International Building Code (IBC) course, and the Life Safety Code (LSC) course.

With these releases, NTS now offers nine of its core courses in both a classroom and online delivery format.

Long considered the backbone of the NTS program are the nearly 100 volunteer instructors across the country who invest considerable time and effort teaching the various courses. This year, with the expanding and diverse nature of the industry, NTS is re-evaluating the instructor accreditation process, specifically to allow industry specific "subject matter experts” (SME) to teach selected NTS courses in which they have considerable expertise.

To facilitate this SME accreditation, NTS will launch its own Train-The-Trainer (TTT) course, which will be used to accomplish two objectives for the program:

  • To provide these SMEs with the necessary instruction on how to present technical information in the most favorable manner to an adult learning audience.
  • To offer our existing instructor pool the ability to improve their course presentation skills, improving the value of the course to our students and their employers.

Also scheduled for release this year is the Advanced Fire Alarm course, designed specifically for those students who need instruction on the design and advanced technology of these systems.

Lastly, NTS is exploring the development and release of an IP Networking course, instructing students on the various technologies, methodologies and procedures necessary to integrate our systems with the various network protocols our systems utilize in today’s network-centric environment.

If you are interested in aiding NTS and the Education Committee with any of the new course development, please contact NTS at (866) 636-1687.

 

USA Fire & Burglar Alarm: A Culture of EducationOpen in a New Window

Most businesses look to have a company culture that positively impacts their employees, not only to help them more effectively do their jobs, but also to help them grow.

At Harahan, LA-based USA Fire & Burglar Alarm, that culture begins with training. "It's very much a culture of education at USA," says Gerrit Brusse, the company's Regional Sales Manager.

From the moment they're hired at the company to ongoing training, employees at USA are positioned to grow in their positions and in the industry. "When people understand and buy into the fact that they are set up to succeed, you get employees who really care about the company, the customer and what they do," says Brusse.

The company, which Brusse says is small but growing rapidly, is very selective during the interview process for new employees. When new hires come onboard, they spend a month in training and learning about the different positions in the company - sales, tech and operations.

"It's really important for new hires to understand how the business works," says Brusse. "That month [of training] becomes important so they learn the culture of the company."

Brusse can speak first-hand to the experience, as he's relatively new to USA. "The bulk of my first month was spent soaking in and observing the different roles people play in the organization," he says. "That really has been my experience here through the first six weeks."

All employees working in operations take NTS's Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level 1, while sales staff take Understanding Alarm Systems (recently renamed Understanding Electronic Security Systems). From there, teams go through training twice a week.

"We go through training with operations on Monday and Wednesday. Every week, every technician," says Brusse. Sales staff also meet twice a week. "We're getting together and talking about the soft skills of selling, product information and technical information so we can be more effective in the field."

This type of ongoing training helps reveal specialties that new employees may be interested in. "Typically, when you're able to create that culture of training and expose people to all of these different topics, you're able to more easily identify which of those employees really has a passion for one area of the business," says Brusse, adding that he recently was asked by an employee how he could learn more about video products.

The benefits of ongoing training are obvious, Brusse says. "An organization that can provide training guidance and develop its existing employee base is going to retain employees," adding that it's a big expense to hire and train new people, so keeping them as existing employees saves the company money.

Of course, the fact that proper training saves the company from going back to job sites to fix errors makes a big impact. "If you can get it done the first time, it can be a substantial savings - especially over the course of a year," says Brusse.

With the industry shifting to sales and installation of interactive services, including home automation and energy management, Brusse says companies will need a new set of skills to succeed. "That alone represents a brand identity crisis for many security companies," he says.

But there are plenty of resources to help, such as NTS and industry vendors. "Most manufacturers are eager to help train on both sides - technology and customer interaction/sales," says Brusse. "They can be a tremendous resource. I encourage other folks to reach out to their vendor partners if they're struggling."

At USA, education and training are available to all - and everyone participates. "It really is about a culture of learning," he says.

 

Instructor Q&A: Roy Pollack, Devcon Security SystemsOpen in a New Window

What's your background in the security industry?
I don’t refer to it as an industry. I refer to myself as being a professional in a professional business. After all, we are licensed in most states by some sort of professional licensing board. My house was almost broken into in the early 1970s, but they never got in. My father knew someone at ADEMCO, which was in Syosset, right next to where we lived.

I purchased equipment for my house, then my brother, and then neighbors. That was it. I was in business. At about the same time, I joined the local volunteer fire department. I served for about 14 years as a firefighter, Lieutenant, Paramedic, and assistant county fire inspector. I was also an instructor for new recruits in the fire department we called "probies."

During that time, I learned about fire alarm systems. I lost a dear friend going to a false alarm when the fire truck he was riding was hit by a car that went through a red light. I sold my business in New York and moved to Florida for health reasons. I started another company and eventually sold it to the predecessor of Devcon. I expected to stay six months for the transition. That was 13 years ago, and I’m still here.

How did you get involved in NTS?
I don’t know! I suppose it was because I was very involved in the fire service and the fire alarm business, so I took some of the NTS courses in the 80s. After listening to the instructor, I said "I can do that,” having taught fire back in the day. I started doing some classes for Level 1 and then FAIM.

One of the best classes was one we taught in Miami. It was a three-day class. We had both alarm guys and fire officials in the class. The alarm guys sat on one side of the room and the fire officials on the other. Just the way it was in real life, them against us.

I was able to break the ice, having been in the fire service and telling some jokes. During the class, I invited dialogue and questions. By the second day when everyone got seated, they all mixed together. We had a better understanding of what they were experiencing and we understood the problems they were having with both the quality of the installations and the cooperation or lack thereof from the alarm guys.

How do you apply your background to the courses you've taught?
I try to stick with what I know best. That’s fire, but I teach the other courses as well. I hate the word expert, because I don’t consider myself that. I just feel I have a good understanding of the material and how to apply that knowledge. I try to impart that to those in my classes. I’ve been told that I have a passion for our profession, and it shows during my presentations. I hope that the individuals come away with a little of that passion as well.

Can you share a teaching experience that's stuck with you?
As I said, I lost a dear friend to a false alarm response. My son is a paramedic/firefighter in Delray Beach, Florida. I always start my classes with a slide dedicating the class to my departed brother firefighter and I explain the situation. I tell them that we have a responsibility to those we ask to serve us by responding to alarms, be it a burglar or fire alarm. And I say I don’t want any system we install to put any of my friends in the fire service in danger, or my son.

Though not a funny experience, it was a great one. Someone from another company, an owner, from another state who is highly regarded in the industry came up to me after class and told me he thought he knew the material, and he realized how much he didn’t know. His praise was something I will always remember.

What do you find are the best ways for students to get the most out of NTS courses?
I have been through hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of courses as a student. I absolutely hate when an instructor either reads the slides or reads straight from a book in such a monotone voice that it puts the student to sleep. I try to use the slides as a guide for my presentation and just speak from the cuff but stay on point. I find that my rather loud voice keeps everyone awake and I try to be animated when I deliver the presentation.

How have you seen the security industry change over the years?
People aren’t attending the classes for the reasons they should. They attend because they have to. I think we have to get the passion into people for a career in security and not just a job. ESA Young Security Professionals (YSP) organization is a great start for that. Get the young people involved and help them develop that passion for our profession and become professionals.

What are your predictions for the future of the industry?
I think it’s a great time to be in the security profession. The economy is starting a slow recovery, and when it rebounds, I think that companies and individuals that position themselves properly will excel in business. That means proper training and certification.

Having established and recognized credentials will help get people through the doors that need to be opened. In order to open up lines of communication with our public safety officials, they need to know you mean business and are qualified to do business. Work with them, and not against them. They can be a great ally as well.

 

As I See It: Training with a Chartered ChapterOpen in a New Window

This month, I want to talk about ESA's Chartered Chapters, formerly called Chartered State Associations (CSAs). The chapters commit to supporting ESA and require all member companies of that state's association to be a (hopefully active) member of ESA.

The Chartered Chapters often have their own training and education schedule, while working with ESA and NTS on courses. Chartered Chapters may have a training coordinator who is assigned to coordinate and schedule NTS training and assure that each class is maintained with certified instructors. This person is the lynch pin that connects NTS to the Chartered Chapter.

This task can generate income to the chapter for other budgeted activities or to enhance chapter events. In this manner, the states can structure and direct their training according to the wishes of their members.

Some states prefer to have NTS schedule and coordinate all training in their states directly. In this case, Howard Sanders and Pat Allen at ESA will schedule, advertise and coordinate training in those states. NTS will than forward a per student remuneration for each seat filled.

In those states that have no ESA affiliation, NTS will schedule, coordinate and conduct training at hotels, distributers or other suitable facilities. These courses help deliver the training to those who need it.

I have a good friend in a non-Chartered Chapter state that is in the process of raising funds for legal fees and court expenses for a crisis in their state. It seems their industry is under attack by regulatory authorities in an ill-thought, ill-timed and reactionary move to take over monitoring the municipality by ordinance. States are attacking the alarm industry because they think we are a cash cow waiting to be milked.

I reminded my friend that when ESA put out a national mailing to members nationwide about a crisis in California, the money flowed in and California prevailed against 900 number dispatch.

There are obviously a number of benefits of being involved with ESA as both a member company and as a Chartered Chapter. As Benjamin Franklin said at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."

Joel Kent is a senior NTS Instructor and owner of Windsor, CT-based FBN Security Company.

 

Chartered Chapter Update: VirginiaOpen in a New Window

We'll be highlighting training and education updates from ESA's Chartered Chapters throughout 2012 and beyond.

The training and education program of ESA of Virginia had seen better days. "While it wasn't completely dead, it was dying," says president Lynn Comer. "We hadn't really been doing anything."

Members of the association were unhappy, and the state's regulatory board was unhappy too.

"Everybody was doing just [enough to] meet requirements," she says. They'd get their certifications, meet their requirements, and nothing more.

When Comer became president of ESA of Virginia in October, she declared that education would be one of her initiatives. "After our annual meeting in October, we put out a survey. [Better] training had a big response," she says.

So they hired a new Training Director, Bill Hemminger, who has been working with ESA and NTS to integrate training in a way that complies with the state. "His charge is to start working with NTS to get better training for folks here in Virginia," says Comer.

One of the issues they're working through is that members often have to take classes that aren't always appropriate in order to meet a requirement deadline. They tend to look to see what's available before the deadline, and take it.

"Here in Virginia, you get time limits on when you can do your educational piece," she says. "It's becoming almost silly. We recognize it, and we're going to do something about it."

They're also tackling the licensing issues, including putting the classes into a format so that Virginia will accept them. "If it's got the NTS label, we want to streamline it [for certification]," she says.

Association members are interested in topics ranging from fire equipment training to professional development to home automation, says Comer. "People are really keying in on IP. Whole-house automation is another one that's really big," she says. "Obviously there's a hunger out there - somebody's thirsty."

Business know-how is a big driver, she says, including ways to add additional recurring monthly revenue (RMR). "RMR is king. That's what you need to keep your business healthy for the duration," she says.

Comer is excited about working with NTS, and bringing back a once flourishing training program. "It's senseless for a chapter to recreate all of it. The work has been done," she says. "NTS to me is a no-brainer."

"We're at the very beginning stages," Comer says. "We're bringing it back, for sure. It's coming."

 

NTS Course Schedule: March 2012Open in a New Window

March 1 Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level I BirminghamALRegister
March 2 Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level I MemphisTNRegister
March 3 Advanced Intrusion Systems LafayetteLARegister
March 6 Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level I CharlotteNCRegister
March 9 International Building Code HuntsvilleALRegister
March 10 Fire Alarm Installation Methods NashvilleTNRegister
March 10 Residential Fire Alarm HuntsvilleALRegister
March 10 Life Safety Code ShreveportLARegister
March 11 Residential Fire Alarm ShreveportLARegister
March 13 Fire Alarm Installation Methods IrvingTXRegister
March 13 Security Sales Essentials PhiladelphiaPARegister
March 13 Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level I PittsburghPARegister
March 14 Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level I BrookfieldWIRegister
March 16 Advanced Intrusion Systems MontgomeryALRegister
March 17 Understanding Electronic Security Systems KennerLARegister
March 21 Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level I RochesterNYRegister
March 23 Electronic Access Control MontgomeryALRegister
March 24 Residential Fire Alarm JacksonMSRegister
March 28 Fire Alarm Installation Methods ElmsfordNYRegister
March 30 Understanding Electronic Security Systems JacksonMSRegister

 

ESA Modifies Records Policy for National Training SchoolOpen in a New Window

At the January 12, 2012 ESA Board of Directors meeting, the board voted in favor of modifying ESA’s Document Retention Policy, as it relates to National Training School (NTS) training, testing, and/or certification documents. Effective March 15, 2012, hard copies of student records currently being retained by NTS with a creation date prior to April 30, 2007 will be securely destroyed through a third party document destruction company and will no longer be available for review or reproduction nor will they be converted to an electronic database. Electronic records for student transactions captured since April 30, 2007 and beyond, will not be affected.

All electronic files will be maintained and available for confirmation and reproduction without interruptions. In advance of the effective date of this policy, students are encouraged to confirm the status of their past testing and certification results by creating or updating their student profile through ESA’s Learning Management System (LMS) at ESAweb.org. 

To create a new profile, click on the "Register” link on the top right hand corner of the homepage and follow the onscreen instructions. If you are an employee of an ESA member company, it is imperative that you coordinate any new registration at ESAweb.org with your company administrator. Please note that a unique-individual email address is required for all new registration and member login activity.  If you are a returning member, please click on the "Sign In” link and navigate to the Programs-National Training School-My NTS section to review your records. All updates to your profile may be performed by through the Manage Profile section of the website.

If you have maintained your NTS certification through the annual renewal and update of your student ID card, your records are being maintained electronically; or if you have attended an NTS class and received a certificate for successful course completion within the past five years, your records are being maintained electronically. 

Future certification renewals may be executed by logging in to your ESAweb.org account where you will be able to submit your continuing education credits and review your profile for completed classes and coursework in progress. 

Questions regarding your course completions and certifications achieved may be e mailed to Records@ESAweb.org. To request a copy of your course completions and certifications, please complete the NTS Replacement Document Order Form which may be found at ESAweb.org/NTS > Resources > NTS Forms. Completed forms may be e mailed to: Records@ESAweb.org 

Please be sure to include a method of payment with your request. Forms may also be mailed to:

ESA-National Training School
6333 North State Hwy 161 Suite 350
Irving TX 75038

 

As I See It: IQ Certification and False AlarmsOpen in a New Window

In this inaugural article for the NTS Newsletter, I was asked to present my thoughts on various topics affecting the security industry.

Each month, I will discuss topics that we all know and have to remember, like false alarms, as well as some things that we don't pay as much attention to because they aren't currently hot issues, such as IQ (Installation Quality).

This month, I'll cover both items and how they are related.

The IQ symbol on a letterhead, business card or work uniform is a sign to consumers, public officials and others in the industry that your company has put in extra effort to conform to standards.

These standards, and the entire IQ initiative, was developed in part to respond to the false alarm problems of the 1990s.

The basic premise was that, if alarm companies voluntarily participated in a program to enhance their performance based on known shortcomings, we could have a positive impact on the false alarm problems that have caused many cities and states to legislate no response or verified response ordinances and statutes.

According to the IQ website:

In order to earn IQ Certification, alarm companies must undergo a rigorous evaluation by the IQ Certification Board, made up of security, law enforcement, fire, state regulatory and insurance industry representatives. Throughout the application process, companies must demonstrate that they adhere to the IQ Certification Program's strict Policies and Guidelines.

To ensure that these companies continue to meet the IQ Certification standards, they must annually demonstrate to the Board that they meet the IQ Certification guidelines to earn re-certification.

Dale Eller, the chairman of IQ, is no stranger to quality.

As the former director of NTS and a senior instructor, Dale knows the value of training and standards. IQ does just that.

When a company decides to become IQ certified, they must submit copies of their regular business documents, such as contracts, installation checklists, and evidence of training and compliance with IQ standards for alarm companies.

Is your company performing up to the levels of IQ standards?

If you're interested in learning more about IQ Certification, visit http://www.iqcertification.org.

Joel Kent is a senior NTS Instructor and owner of Windsor, CT-based FBN Security Company.

 

The NTS Value Equation: Great Training Equals Great TechniciansOpen in a New Window

Determining the future path of ESA's National Training School (NTS) isn't that much different from planning any other journey: In order to figure out where we're going and how to get there, we first have to understand where we are today.

In the evolution of electronic security, the service delivery model has steadily moved from the tactical to the technical. What was once a level playing field with a rather parochial product offering and a labor-intensive business model has transformed into a highly specialized industry where integration and scalability are a part of virtually every provided solution.

As complexity increases, companies are forced to adapt, to adjust to a changing market, a changing economy, and an evolving product line. We now live in a world where education has become the differentiator, carrying a major impact on your company's bottom line. It's no longer a luxury, but a requirement for remaining competitive in an industry that is moving forward along so many fronts.

Fortunately, despite all the change in today's security industry, there is a constant. The technician is always the single most important factor in the equation, and that's not likely to change anytime soon.

With this understanding of where we are today, here's how we're moving forward in a new chapter at NTS:
  • Since technicians are the key to our industry's success, we remain focused on the delivery of relevant, building-block educational experiences that address students' needs at all career levels.
  • We will add new classes to address advancements in technology while refining our core curriculum that serves as both the launching point and landing pad for industry professionals across all disciplines.
  • We will further our mission, and increase our relevance to the industry as a whole, by growing our ability to deliver online education "on demand."
So many things have changed since my early years in the industry, learning the ins and outs of burglar alarm installation. It was before the days of fancy words like "intrusion," when a shunt switch was considered integration.

I recall a conversation once between our most senior technical staff person and our greenest, most inexperienced "grunt," someone my kids today would call a "newbie." I vividly recall the frustration in his voice as he exclaimed: "How can I ever learn from my mistakes if you never let me make any?"

The conversation took place 20 years ago, but the message is still valid. Staff education is the key ingredient to a successful organization. What's even more relevant is that, in today's world of electronic security, the cost of an error is exponentially greater than it was 20 years ago, while the margin for error grows increasingly smaller.

NTS is here with educational opportunities that will prepare the "newbies" of today – as well as every other industry professional – for any challenge. It's ready to instill a mistake-free mindset into every aspect of your business and train security employees to the highest level of competence, proficiency and excellence.

Q&A with Howard Sanders

Q: Nationwide, everyone's still waiting for an economic recovery that seems to be coming along very slowly, if it's happening at all. There's still an emphasis on cutting costs, and two of the traditionally popular targets have been training and travel. What's the strongest case to be made for electronic security companies to keep the knife away from the training budget?
A: The best businesses we see are the ones that understand the cost associated with not having a trained workforce. For that reason, they resist the urge to forgo investment in their staff, and they're committed to providing their best and brightest talent with an opportunity to become more knowledgeable across all disciplines within the electronic security field.

As we speak with industry employers from across the country, we're finding that a down economy can cut both ways. For many employers, the soft job market gives them an opportunity to upgrade talent that they otherwise would not be able to attract due to wage constraints. And for employees, those with the best skills and most credentials have found it much easier to stay employed or become re-employed, using education and experience as their differentiator in the workplace. So it makes sense for everyone in the industry to take advantage of training opportunities.

Q: There are a lot of exciting things going on in terms of growth and evolution at ESA. What do you think is going to be the most noticeable difference for members?
A: The most noticeable thing is going to be the coordination of resources between NTS and our membership staff. Having everyone under one roof at the new facility supports healthy collaboration within our organization. There's a more "member-centric" mindset in response to the training needs of our membership as a whole. We want to identify ways to better serve our Chartered Chapters across the country, and also to meet the needs of individual students who want to expand their knowledge of our industry.

Q: How will the new NTS training facility complement the existing training courses that are currently offered at locations throughout the country?
A: Our chapters are the key drivers for the delivery of NTS training across the nation, and that won't change. But our new space includes a training room that's capable of comfortably hosting up to 30 students for instructor-led training events. In addition to the various class offerings, the room also will be made available to industry groups and ESA members to host events where a classroom venue is required.

Q: Is there any difference between the training that will take place at the Irving facility compared with training that takes place in other parts of the country?
A: No, our course offering will remain consistent across all training venues. What the new facility in the DFW market allows us to do is to expand our current course offering across Texas, and also into Oklahoma and Arkansas. Those are states where training opportunities exist, but to date have been underserved.

Q: Let's go beyond the new training facility and talk about the courses. What changes can we expect in the classes overall, especially for students who have taken training before?
A: We have several courses that either have been, or are being, updated: Essential Sales Training, Alarm Level 1, and Video System Technologies, just to name a few. And our Understanding Alarm Systems course will undergo an update as well as a name change, to "Understanding Electronic Security Systems."

Q: Will there be any new courses or certifications?
A: In 2012 you can expect the addition of an advanced fire alarm course, and entry into the area of preparatory courses for NICET certification. We're also considering expanding our video offering along with the potential to add courses on IP Networking.

Q: Back on the subject of the bottom line for a moment, are there ways for companies to give employees the appropriate amount of training and still keep an eye on expenses?
A: Discounts for NTS training and certification are one of the huge benefits of being an ESA member, so that's an excellent way to reduce training expenses. Beyond that, NTS offers some attractive pricing options for larger classes that can dramatically reduce the cost of employee training for those entities with a larger employee base and for those looking to expand their workforce significantly. We regularly conduct private classes, and many companies have found it cost-effective to secure training dates hosted at their facility, or when necessary in rented space to accommodate larger groups.

We're flexible in working with members on cost/benefit calculations regarding remote or onsite staff training, and providing the instructor and course materials necessary to make it a beneficial learning experience.

 

Wayne Alarm Systems: Training From Every AngleOpen in a New Window

Most security integration companies work to make sure their employees are well rounded in their understanding of the alarm industry. At Lynn, Mass.-based Wayne Alarm Systems, new employees learn from every possible asset available to them.

New technicians receive training from every possible angle: textbooks, vendors, co-workers, and more, says Jim Keighley, Technical Operations Manager.

The company, which does a number of Honeywell TotalConnect installations, brings the vendor in to train, and then relies on one employee to be the go-to for the company.

"I'll appoint one technician, and he'll become the expert when it comes to TotalConnect or [another] product," says Keighley.

Wayne Alarm hosts technical meetings once a month, where they get together and go over different topics. "We do rely heavily on the vendors,” says Keighley.

But beyond product-specific education, new employees spend their first few days with the company learning about the different functions and jobs.

The first day with the company, a new hire will sit with a central station operator for a day, says Keighley. The second day, they’ll spend it with the dispatching department and then with the sales department.

"Our thought is to have an understanding of how the whole business works," he says. "They see it from the inside out first.”

Keighley, who does the hiring, sets up the agenda for the new employee’s training. "He's going to get on the job training," he says.

New technicians will then shadow a current employee anywhere from 90 days to 6 months. "They need to work as a helper or assistant until they're prepared to do it [on their own]," says Keighley. "We like to have them learn the Wayne Alarm way."

Relying on current employees to be subject-matter experts and train new employees works well for the company. "It takes a special person to be able to not only get the work done under pressure, but at the same time explain some things to their assistant," he says.

Employees are encouraged to continue training and education, and receive a bonus for certifications. "We’re putting some incentives out there,” says Keighley. But a big focus is getting employees excited and energized about training on their own.

While the company’s focus has been on NICET, Keighley says more formal NTS instruction is in their future. "I really need to get more involved with NTS," he says.

Keighley sees the impact proper education and training has on the company. "It certainly affects the bottom line," he says.

 

Teaching Security at the Highest LevelOpen in a New Window

Most people who receive a phone call from the Secret Service would be a little worried about what they were about to hear. From Jerry Antoon, he heard an opportunity.

In 1995, Antoon, who was working for Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, WI, had developed security courses and an Associate Degree for the school. The courses were online, and when the Secret Service found them, they called to ask if he could teach them some electronic and physical security courses.

"Surprisingly, there was nothing in the federal government that was up to date or relevant," he says.

It began with the Secret Service’s Technical Security Division, responsible for making sure that wherever the President goes, the location is secure.

"We were privileged to have the Secret Service ask us to put a program together," says Antoon.

That program became Basic Alarm and Theory Application (BATA), which is still run today. The main focus of the course is alarm sensors and system operation.

The Secret Service was presented with the option to include Certified Alarm/Security Technician – Level 1 in their training, which they accepted. Antoon wasn’t an NTS instructor, so he reached out to the Wisconsin Electronic Security Association (WIESA), where he had a working relationship.

After talking about the opportunity, NTS instructors and association members came to the campus for a one-day curriculum development day.

"We had probably 10 instructors/association members on our campus for an entire day," says Antoon.

The NTS instructors taught Level 1 to the Secret Service members as part of the overall training. "Without [the instructors], this program wouldn't have been built or succeeded," says Antoon.

Level 1 became a crucial part of the weeklong training for the Secret Service, says Antoon. "They took it so seriously, if their personnel failed the Level 1 exams, they were no longer employed in that position."

After Level 1 instruction concluded, the rest of the week was focused on installing alarm systems. The students would install a whole alarm system on a bench top. Then they'd move on to the college's lab, learning to install panels, run wire, install window sensors, door panels, and more.

"They also wanted to have lectures on defeat techniques,” says Antoon, or how the bad guys would try to defeat the system so they’d be able to offer countermeasures.

The Secret Service enjoyed the course, and they soon spread the word. "Soon we had multiple federal agencies taking the course, including the military," says Antoon.

The military focus was a little different, says Antoon. They would take the same training but apply it differently, like understanding how to take apart alarm sensors that were being used as triggering devices for improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

WIESA became an integral part of the course, as their NTS instructors taught all of the Level 1 material, while Antoon taught the rest.

"There probably were 6 classes a year, 10 per class, since 1995," so around 960 students taught overall, says Antoon.

He doesn’t know of any success stories– it’s a "need to know” situation, he says – but based on the fact that they spread word of the course, it seems to be working well for everyone.

"We could evaluate the success by the number of additional clients that came through the college," says Antoon. "They loved it, and they continue to send other entities.”

Even though Antoon has retired, the training continues. "It's a fascinating story, and to be a part of it," he says.

 

NTS Instructor of the Year, Training Coordinator of the Year AnnouncedOpen in a New Window

During the Diamond Awards Dinner at the co-located ESA Leadership Summit and ESI Forum, Shelton Mangum of Montgomery, AL-based Creative Security Systems received the NTS Instructor of the Year Award in Honor of Paul F. Baran and Linda Ferguson of the Utah Alarm Association was named the ESA/NTS Training Coordinator of the Year.

"Mr. Mangum has done a superb job of educating our industry," says LJ Lynes, chair of the ESA Education Committee, who accepted the awards on behalf of the winners.

"I feel it is a huge honor to have his name on the Paul Baran Instructor of the Year Award plaque at the ESA Headquarters in Dallas. It is well deserved and we are all very happy for him."

"A great State Training Coordinator is a must have for a state to run successful training," says Lynes.

"Mrs. Ferguson exemplifies what a successfully run program can do for their state. She is truly a credit to her association and the award is much deserved."

"I'm honored," says Ferguson, noting that last year, around 800 students took courses in Utah.

"The big thing is that we have a lot of new companies and a lot of the 'summer companies' that headquarter here. It's always a challenge to organize everything," she says.

"I bring treats everyday and bring water the first day," adds Ferguson. "Most of [the students] are young kids and the challenge of them sitting there -- they feel like they're sitting there in another class."

Ferguson says that the instructors do a good job of trying to keep the students alert and paying attention. "I just make sure it goes smoothly for them and the trainers," she says.

 

NTS Course Schedule: February 2012Open in a New Window

February 1 Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level I ElmsfordNYRegister
February 1 Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level I LouisvilleKYRegister
February 3 Video System Technologies HuntsvilleALRegister
February 9 Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level I MontgomeryALRegister
February 14 Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level I HoustonTXRegister
February 16 Advanced Intrusion Systems BrookfieldWIRegister
February 17 Fire Alarm Installation Methods BirminghamALRegister
February 18 Video System Technologies NashvilleTNRegister
February 22 Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level I ColumbiaSCRegister
February 23 Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level I JacksonMSRegister
February 24 Understanding Electronic Security Systems BirminghamALRegister
February 25 Life Safety Code BirminghamALRegister
February 25 Understanding Electronic Security Systems LafayetteLARegister
February 28 Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level I AustinTXRegister
February 28 Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level I PhiladelphiaPARegister
February 29 Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level I AtlantaGARegister
February 29 Advanced Intrusion Systems ElmsfordNYRegister

 

RMR Beyond Monitoring: What You Can AddOpen in a New Window

Recurring monthly revenue (RMR) improves your cash flow, your bottom line profits, and determines the valuation of your company. So it’s no wonder that security integrators look to add new sources of RMR whenever they can.

While most security companies receive RMR through alarm monitoring, it’s by no means the only way to get paid by your customers every month. There are additional revenue streams you can add to your existing offering, while better serving your customers, expanding (or potentially not even expanding) your current product line, and improve the value of your company.

Let’s take a look at some additional sources of RMR for your company, and how you can best be prepared to take advantage of them.

Service and Maintenance Contracts
Once you install a security system for a client, you have the opportunity to charge a monthly fee for servicing and maintaining that system.

From cleaning the components of the system and ensuring that cameras remain pointed in the correct direction to software upgrades and required inspections, service and maintenance contracts provide some of the easiest RMR after you install a system.

NTS’s Troubleshooting, Service and Maintenance (TSM) course teaches the fundamentals needed to support your service and maintenance contracts, including:
  • Repairing intrusion, fire, video surveillance and access control systems
  • The troubleshooting mindset
  • Inspections of intrusion, fire, video surveillance and access control systems
Managed Access
If you’ve installed an access control system in a commercial building, are you also providing ongoing service of that system?

From 24/7 support of opening/closing doors to adding/editing/deleting users from the system, you can offer continuous service to your clients and receive a monthly payment from them for it. Your clients don’t want to/don’t know how to use the system – they need your service.

Electronic Access Control (EAC) from NTS focuses on the design and installation of access control systems, including a focus on what the tech can accomplish and working within national electrical and life safety codes. While the course is more geared toward the installation and design, it provides the know-how you need for updating and maintaining the system – where you can generate the real RMR results.

Interactive Services
Newer plays from Alarm.com, ADT Pulse and Honeywell TotalConnect are allowing integrators to generate RMR by offering interactive services, such as remote management of their system from any web-enabled device – a smartphone, laptop or tablet.

These systems are also proving that RMR can be generated from home automation and energy management, which traditionally have not been attached to monthly payments.

Fire Alarm and Code Inspections
If you’ve installed a fire alarm system that requires inspections to pass code, you should be doing the work and receiving RMR for it. It’s an easy sale since the work needs to be done anyway, so why shouldn’t you be the one doing it?

Fire Alarm Installation Methods (FAIM) from NTS not only teaches you how to design and install fire alarm systems, but also how to service and maintain them so they stay code-compliant. You’ll learn about the National electrical code and how to test the systems when they need to be checked.

Alarm monitoring has been the bread-and-butter source of RMR for security integrators throughout the years, and now you have the opportunity to expand your offerings to include new revenue streams.

You can’t afford to miss these new RMR opportunities. So what are you waiting for?

 

5 More Training Best Practices from Security IntegratorsOpen in a New Window

Over the past two years, we’ve interviewed and profiled a number of leading security integrators from across the industry – large, national companies who deal with training hundreds of employees to smaller, regional businesses who only have a handful of employees.

Each company brings with it best practices that help them succeed, and they’ve been kind enough to share them with the entire NTS community.

Last month, we gathered five of those best practices from the companies we’ve profiled – and this month, we’re sharing another five.

Here are five more best practices from security integrators.

Require Level 1 of All Employees
Training has always been a cornerstone for Exton, PA-based The Protection Bureau, and central to their mission to serve their customers as effectively as possible is their commitment to the education and development of their staff.

All employees are required to be certified in NTS Level 1, whether they are technicians or sales or office support personnel, according to Matthew Ladd, president and CEO.

The background provided by Level 1 is invaluable in fostering the level of professionalism that the company prides itself on, he says.

Market Your Company’s Training Standards
The level of education and certification maintained by Buffalo, N.Y.-based Amherst Alarm’s personnel serves not only to ensure the high installation standards that the company prides itself on, but also serves as a cornerstone in their marketing.

"We strongly market our technicians’ level of certification to our clients,” says CEO Tim Creenan. "It helps us to both earn and prove the credibility of our company.”

That, in turn, is one of the factors that contributes to a huge amount of repeat and referral business, which exceeds anything that could be earned with advertising dollars, says Creenan.

Meet Regularly to Train on Products
At the weekly meetings for the techs at Mansfield, Ohio-based Schmidt Security Pro, employees go through product trainings, where a sample product and its install sheet will be presented to the group, with the opportunity for hands-on learning, and discussing the specific intricacies of the product.

"This industry requires very product-specific knowledge, so we spend time getting to know our products better,” says Brian Schmidt, the company’s president.

Documentation from product-specific training ends up in the master manuals that the company keeps for all of the products that they install.

A Special Plan for New Company Hires
Knoxville, TN-based Gallaher and Associates follows a very standardized training plan. "Basically we require that all new hires (unless they come to us with an industry background) start as a helper -- and that even goes for people who have technical degrees,” says founder Roy Gallaher.

Those helpers go in the field with senior techs for three months. Gallaher feels that the training that comes from working in the field is as important for the processes they use as the product knowledge.

At the same time, Gallaher seeks to teach new hires how to conduct themselves to the company’s standards when dealing with customers. After the initial training period, depending on the employee and his previous background, they start a process of NTS courses and basic training like Level 1 and Level 2 in order to be licensed in the state of Tennessee.

"Depending on that employee and their potential and what we expect to do with them, we put them in a direction that we feel with build on their abilities,” says Gallaher.

Invest in Your Employees and Pay for Their Training
At Norwalk, CT-based Advanced Electronicsm, they have two approaches to training. When the company hires a technician who is already licensed and certified, the company pays for their CEUs and other ongoing training. "If they want a higher-grade license, we support them in that for both time needed and financially,” says president Howard Friedman.

Hires who are new to the industry undergo the training necessary to certify and receive their state license. ”We have also hired a couple of apprentices and have incentivized them to get their licenses,” Friedman explains.

The company pays for certification and licensing training in full, but for employees who want to do work outside of CASIA and NTS requirements, such as technical college or engineering school, the company will fund part of it.

Advanced Electronics sets no limits on their employees’ freedom to take NTS courses. "Our techs are free to sign up for the NTS courses they like and we’ll pay for it,” Friedman states. "Good people want to get better, and if you don’t keep getting better you stop being good.”

 

3 Qualities that Make a Great NTS InstructorOpen in a New Window

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.

Hands-On Experience
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.

Presentation Skills
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.

 

5 Things About: Understanding Electronic Security SystemsOpen in a New Window

Each month, we take a look at an NTS course and go through five things you may or may not know about the course.

This month, we’re talking about the course that teaches students the basic elements of the electronic security field: Understanding Electronic Security Systems (UESS), formerly Understanding Alarm Systems.

5 Things About UESS
  1. Topics include sensors, control panels and communications, with an emphasis on the need for an adequate site survey.
  2. The course stresses the importance of false alarm prevention and explores the interactions between electronic life safety/security professionals, law enforcement and fire prevention officials.
  3. The course is designed for non-technical staff, business owners, law enforcement, fire service, code officials and anyone seeking an overview of the electronic life safety and security industry.
  4. Individuals successfully completing the Understanding Electronic Security Systems course and the Essential Sales Training course are eligible for certification as a Certified Security Sales person.
  5. UESS is a seven-hour course that concludes with a one-hour examination.
Upcoming UESS Dates
UESS will be back and available in 2012!

 

Don’t Forget Your CEUs!Open in a New Window

As we get closer to the end of the year, it’s important to remember to fulfill your continuing education unit (CEU) requirements to maintain your certifications.

There are a number of ways to get the CEUs you need, including:
  • NTS training
  • College/University/trade school courses
  • Conferences, seminars, workshops, training sessions and teleconferences/webinars
  • Independent study
  • Licenses and certifications
  • Published articles or books
  • Volunteer service
  • Teaching
NTS courses and certifications are referenced in numerous state and municipal licensing programs. Not all states handle acquiring and renewing licenses the same way. Some states accept online training, some do not. Some states accept NTS CEUs, some do not.

Students are urged to contact the NTS office prior to enrolling in any program to ensure that the course, CEU or certification is acceptable to a particular regulatory group.

If you have specific questions about your requirements, contact NTS headquarters at 866-636-1687 or NTS@alarm.org or visit your training profile online. If you haven’t filled out your training profile on the new ESAweb.org, do it now!

 

NTS Course Schedule: December 2011Open in a New Window

December 7
Troubleshooting, Service and Maintenance
Elmsford
NY
Register
December 7
Troubleshooting, Service and MaintenanceRochester
NY
Register
December 9
Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level 1
Kenner
LA
Register

 

The New Technologies You Need to UnderstandOpen in a New Window

The security industry is seeing a shift in some of the foundational technologies that have been used over the years – POTS lines to Alternative Signal (Alt-Sig) Transmissions, for example – and any business looking to succeed in the future needs to understand these changes.

At the same time, new technologies are making their way into the industry from other markets – whether it’s IP products coming over from the IT industry or home automation from the custom electronics market.

Security integration companies have the opportunity to position themselves as experts, and in order to help you succeed, we asked veteran NTS instructors to discuss some of the new technologies they see making an impact on the market.

Overwhelmingly, the biggest technology trend these instructors identified is the shift to IP connectivity.

"IP communication is a major game changer for our industry,” says Larry Mann, Project Manager at Central Station, Inc. "Dealers need to accept that POTS is no longer a viable communication technology and they should embrace IP-based communication technology. That includes training the technicians in setting up, troubleshooting and managing IP networks.

"As more consumers adopt wireless IP communication for their facilities, an understanding of basic network troubleshooting will be necessary to eliminate conflicts with media servers, IP-enabled TVs and alarm systems.”

Jason Sokol, Operations Manager for Wallingford, CT-based Monitor Controls Inc., says that with IP, companies can now offer value-added services. "We are not just selling security systems. You can add video or temperature monitoring and be able to access any of the technology from your computer or, even better, your smart phone,” he says.

"There has also been a major growth in IP-connected video systems, which allow the public to view the home or business surveillance video on their Internet-enabled mobile device,” says Mann. "IP video can also be a portion of a home automation system, which has also shown major growth over the past three years.”

Home automation, traditionally offered by custom electronics dealers, now ties in with integrated security systems, and manufacturers and large national companies are helping to drive their sales.

"The manufacturers have introduced home automation into lower cost entry-level panels that will meet the needs of more of the mainstream population, which should drive new installations and growth to the installation companies, says Mann. "An installation company can use home automation to add value to the basic security system, especially when the control of the automation package is IP based.”

If security integration companies are going to succeed, they’ll need to focus on becoming IP experts, according to Joel Kent of FBN Security Company.

"This is so obvious because if you look at the large national companies, they all have a network/IT group with almost no security experience. They rely on the alarm technicians to connect to their network. Over the next year, the technician that cannot operate a laptop on site and perform basic IT functions to interconnect the system to the network will fall farther behind,” he says.

The other instructors agree.

"Learn network topology to include establishing static and dynamic network addresses and troubleshooting conflict between devices, routers and other connected devices,” says Mann. "This will be the basics for connecting digital video recorders, security and fire alarm systems, and home automation and low voltage control systems to personal mobile devices and the remote monitoring centers.

"An installation company can install an 8 or 16 camera system in a few hours but can spend the next day and half trying to get the IP communication to a remote or mobile device established,” adds Mann.

"Learn what an IP address is and how the information gets from the client’s home/business to their smartphone/computer,” says Sokol.

While the shift to IP affects a number of interconnected systems, it’s not the only technology change dealers need to understand.

"PERS (Personal Emergency Response Systems) will become popular due to the aging of the Baby Boomers and their existing familiarity with security systems,” says Joseph Hayes of All Country Security, Inc. "As they downsize and relocate, PERS will be a necessity.”

"Video verification transmitted via network cameras will become popular as more folks acquire broadband connections and Police departments push for verification of alarm signals,” adds Hayes.

"In addition is the change in communications paths, such as the obsolescence of copper phone lines and the addition of VoIP,” says Sokol.

As technology continues to evolve, and dealers continue to adapt, industry education is doing the same.

"NTS courses are incorporating the need for IT and network knowledge in the newest courses,” says Kent. "In 2012, the alarm technicians will have to be more IT and network savvy to survive. The more we learn, the more we need to learn. Technology is moving faster and faster. Where we used to go 5 years before major technology shifts in the industry, we now see 10-14 months between introduction and obsolescence (and replacement) of new technologies.”

"The technology used in the industry is dynamic and is always changing and adapting as new advances are introduced and accepted by the consumers,” says Mann.

"This change has been accelerated in the last few years due to the advances driven by the consumer computer industry. The security industry can take advantage of the consumers’ acceptance of technology to increase or offer new value added services that would increase the dealer’s revenue,” adds Mann.

"Current technology is changing the face of the security industry,” says Sokol. "Alarm systems are no longer a keypad, motions, contacts and a phone line. We have integration with building automation, lighting, temperature, video, and more.”

"Migration to IP is where the world is going, and our industry must go along to survive. It's lead, follow or get out of the way,” says Hayes.

 

5 Training Best Practices from Leading Security CompaniesOpen in a New Window

Even though nearly every company in the security industry shares similar goals – achieve success through providing great service, making smart business decisions and generating profits – there are definitely a number of ways to skin the cat.

Training and education is no exception. While some companies provide a specified path for their employees to take on their training journey, others let the employees take the lead and happily foot the bill along the way.

We’ve rounded up five training best practices from leading security companies for your consideration. One of them might be exactly what you’re looking for.

Train Current Employees to Fill Open Roles
James Lee, owner of Greensboro, N.C.-based Alarmguard Security, stresses that employees leaving is one of the most critical reasons for a business owner to invest in training. The greater the depth of training and experience in your staff, the easier it is to fill vacancies from within.

That particular scenario recently occurred at Alarmguard, and Lee used NTS training to fill the void. "We recently had a long-time service tech leave and, for one year, we tried to hire a replacement with service experience. We could never find the right person,” he says.

At that point, he chose to look within his company. "So I took a tech with four years of experience and sent him to Troubleshooting, Service and Maintenance (TSM) and it was very beneficial for him and our company.”

The decision was sound. The employee is thriving in his new role, and the whole company benefits. Investing in your employees, Lee says, not only nurtures their talents, but is also a great morale booster.

Bring Training to the Office
Memphis, TN-based Frase Protection recently brought in NTS to teach a private class – Life Safety Code (LSC) – to all of its employees. "All of our guys took that course,” says Jonathan Frase, owner and president.

Frase says that having NTS come into their office for a private class was a great experience. "That was really great,” he says.

Previously, employees would go out of the office for NTS courses, and when they would come back and report on what they’d learn, their co-workers would have follow up questions. With the private course, it wasn’t an issue. "It brought all of our people together in one room to learn together and to start asking questions together.”

Plus, of course, it’s much more convenient to have the instructor come to you. "One of the things about NTS coming to us was the convenience factor," says Frase, adding it saved the company both time and money.

Make Training as Available as Possible
Vector Security makes training available to its employees in multiple ways, from monthly meetings to sessions with vendors to an online calendar of opportunities.

All Vector offices hold a communications day every month, which is used as a follow up to training and to reinforce best practices. Monthly safety meetings are also conducted, focused on improving things like central station response times.

"We review miscommunication reports and how they handle them,” says Simpson.

For ongoing technical training, Vector partners with their vendors, who remain very involved in the company’s training. Product specific sessions are scheduled based on an office’s specific needs. "We have a good relationship with all our vendors, from sales to technical training,” says Rick Simpson, Vice President of Technical Compliance.

For self-directed training, Vector maintains a company wide intranet with a section that lists online training events. "Any employee can log on and review upcoming webinars, and take them, above and beyond what’s required of their job,” says Tom Rogers, Senior Vice President, Operations Support. To that end, their Information Services Group is continually updating and adding online content.

Chart Your Employees and their Licensing Requirements
For companies operating in multiple states with different licensing requirements, it’s crucial to be able to track what employees have done and what they need.

"It’s something we have to be quite careful of,” says Roy Pollack, the Director of Compliance for Devcon Security Services, who oversees all of the licensing, permitting and certifications. Pollack, who has been an NTS instructor for going on 15 years, says that the company looks to local branch managers who understand the local requirements for their technician training and education.

"There's many different certification requirements,” says Pollack. "We have a chart and we keep it up and who requires what and we try to keep on top of it."

As the company expands across the country, it’s Pollack’s job to make sure they are prepared for local licensing rules and regulations. "It's a matter of making sure we've got all the rules and licensing laws for each state," he says.

At Nashville-based ADS Security, a company with multiple branches, their efforts are managed with a central training hub under the direction of the HR department. Information is gathered from the branch offices, and a schedule/grid is maintained. On a quarterly basis, the schedule is updated on what courses the techs are taking, what they’ve passed, and what they still need to pass – planned a whole year forward.

Their management method works especially well given that ADS operated in several states that legislate technicians and salespeople pass Level 1 within the first year of their employment. "Therefore, we try to schedule those folks within their last six months, at the latest,” says Operations Manager Jim Bayless.

Offer Education to Everyone in the Company
At Norwalk, Conn.-based Security Solutions, Inc., training opportunities aren’t given only to a few employees – they’re available to all.

"We try to spread the training around,” says Bob McVeigh, the company’s VP/General Manager. "There can be a tendency to overload your best guys with all the training, and you want it to be on a more even keel.”

The idea, he says, is that uniform training raises the average for the company, and doesn’t just focus on a couple of top technicians.

 

Instructor Spotlight: Gary Talma, ADTOpen in a New Window

Gary Talma didn’t expect to become a professional teacher – it’s just something he fell into.

Lucky him.

"I never thought of myself as being a teacher or an instructor,” he says, but after getting involved with NTS as an instructor, he never looked back. "It’s probably one of the best moves I’ve made in my career,” he says.

Talma, who has taught Certified Alarm/Security Technician – Level 1, Fire Alarm Installation Methods, Advanced Intrusion Systems, and Electronic Access Control, is also the Committee Chair for Training and Education for WIESA, the Wisconsin chartered chapter of ESA.

But to teach courses, Talma had to take vacation time from his day job. "The more I did the NTS training, the more fun I thought it would be to do this full-time.”

At the 2011 ESA Leadership Summit, Talma was named ESA/NTS Training Coordinator of the Year, which he credits for helping him into a new position teaching full-time as Senior Technical Training Specialist at ADT.

"I think [being named Coordinator of the Year] was a huge part” of getting the job, he says. "It just puts that so far above someone else when applying for a position."

In his new position, Talma travels around the country, training dealers on all different products and equipment, helps develop new training courses for the install and service teams, and provides operational support.

"I can honestly say I enjoy what I do,” says Talma. "Before I took vacation time to teach, now I can do it full-time.”

Currently, he’s spending a lot of time focused on ADT’s Pulse system, as well as creating monthly safety classes for dealers. "Technicians are in an area where they can't get complacent and safety has to be at the top of their heads at all time,” he says.

"We want our technicians to go to work safe and to go home safe."

Thanks to his experience as an NTS instructor, Talma is able to tap a number of resources in his new position. "The wealth of knowledge from all the NTS instructors is great. You can call up anybody at ESA or NTS and ask them questions, and they know exactly what you're talking about. The knowledge you get from the wealth of instructors is the best,” he says.

He’s still teaching NTS courses when he can, with a goal of teaching two to three times per year.

"The more education you get, the more product knowledge, the better you’ll be in the industry,” he says. "The small investment that you can give your technicians will make a huge impact – it will help out in the long-term.”

 

5 Things About: Essential Sales TrainingOpen in a New Window

Each month, we take a look at an NTS course and go through five things you may or may not know about the course.

This month, we’re talking about the course that teaches students how to sell electronic security systems: Essential Sales Training (EST).

5 Things About EST

  1. EST was recently updated to provide a more modular learning experience. The first day focuses on sales fundamentals and selling electronic security systems in the residential sector, while the second day focuses more on the commercial sector, which can be taught as appropriate to the student.
  2. Using visual aids, role playing, a student manual and open classroom discussions, this fast-paced program covers an in-depth sales action plan for success in commercial, industrial and residential sales.
  3. Core material includes the sales cycle, prospecting, identifying problems, presenting solutions, handling objections and closing.
  4. The course provides students the knowledge to properly spec a system and deliver tech specs, sizes and options to your team.
  5. Special emphasis is provided on the similarities and differences in the sales process for residential and commercial sales, including insights in to the unique issues relevant to fire alarm, access control and video surveillance system.
Upcoming EST Dates
Contact NTS to schedule an EST course for your company: 866-636-1687.

 

New ESA Headquarters to Include Dedicated NTS SpaceOpen in a New Window

When the Electronic Security Association (ESA) moves into its new office space at the beginning of November, association members will have a new location to participate in NTS courses.

The new headquarters, located adjacent to DFW International Airport in Irving, TX, will include a dedicated space for NTS courses to be held.

"As we evaluated the needs of our members and the future of NTS, we realized that there would be tremendous room for growth by bringing our training in-house,” says ESA Executive Director Merlin Guilbeau.

"The new facility gives us the location, the space and the functionality we need to make training a positive experience for students coming from almost anywhere.”

The space, which will seat up to 30 students, will be used for NTS sponsored classes starting in January, and will be available for our members to host training, seminars and client meetings in the DFW area, according to Howard Sanders, Senior Vice President, Training & Certification, ESA.

"For many employers, the soft job market gives them an opportunity to upgrade talent that they otherwise would not be able to attract due to wage constraints. And for employees, those with the best skills and most credentials have found it much easier to stay employed or become re-employed, using education and experience as their differentiator in the workplace. So it makes sense for everyone in the industry to take advantage of training opportunities,” says Sanders.

Courses will continue to be conducted at various locations around the country, as well as online. But the new location offers an opportunity for attendees to come from across the country.

"We’re flexible in working with members on cost/benefit calculations regarding remote or onsite staff training, and providing the instructor and course materials necessary to make it a beneficial learning experience,” says Sanders.

The new ESA address, as of November 1, will be 6333 N. State Highway 161, Suite 350, Irving, TX 75038.

 

NTS Course Schedule: November 2011Open in a New Window

November 1 Advanced Intrusion Systems AustellGARegister
November 3 International Building Code GulfportMSRegister
November 4
Fire Alarm Installation Methods MobileALRegister
November 4 Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level I LafayetteLARegister
November 4Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level IMemphisTNRegister
November 5 Fire Alarm Installation Methods KennerLARegister
November 8 Troubleshooting, Service and Maintenance PittsburgPARegister
November 9 Fire Alarm Installation Methods BettendorfIARegister
November 9 Fire Alarm Installation Methods ElmsfordNYRegister
November 9Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level ILouisvilleKYRegister
November 10Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level IBirminghamALRegister
November 10Certified Alarm/Security Technician - Level IStarkvilleMSRegister
November 12 Video System Technologies Bossier CityLARegister
November 12 Troubleshooting, Service and Maintenance ChattanoogaTNRegister
November 12 Understanding Alarm Systems Port AllenLARegister
November 15 Video System Technologies PhiladelphiaPARegister
November 16 Fire Alarm Installation Methods RochesterNYRegister
November 17 Electronic Access Control PhiladelphiaPARegister
November 18 Electronic Access Control MobileALRegister
November 18 Life Safety Code KennerLARegister
November 19 Fire Alarm Installation Methods NashvilleTNRegister
November 19 International Building Code KennerLARegister
November 20 Residential Fire Alarm Course KennerLARegister

 

How to Improve Your Company’s SalesOpen in a New Window

While the majority of courses offered by NTS focus on the technology security integration companies use each and every day, non-technical classes are also available to improve your business.

One of those non-technical courses, Essential Sales Training (EST), has recently been updated to fit today’s security industry – and your company.

EST was written to teach students how to sell security systems, but it delivers both Sales 101 – how to sell – and Security Sales 101 – how to sell security systems. It’s relevant sales training that could help you sell anything – but every example focuses on the industry and uses it as the model.

It’s an extremely interactive course, filled with role-playing and student participation. Some of the core material offered in the course includes:
  • The sales cycle
  • Prospecting
  • Identifying problems
  • Presenting solutions
  • Closing
  • Handling objections
  • Managing customers
Since EST was introduced in the mid-1990s, the industry has obviously gone through a number of changes – related both to technology and to the market. While the original course had a residential flavor to it, the updated course breaks it down to serve both residential and commercial applications.

The first day of the two-day course focuses on sales methodologies strictly from a residential/small commercial perspective. "If your business model is strictly residential, you can do a day focused on sales methodologies and get a lot of value out of the course,” says Dale Eller, ESA Director of Education & Standards.

Day two of EST was overhauled, and now features six modules that can be added and subtracted as appropriate for the companies using the course as their internal sales training. The day focuses on commercial applications, with the "Understanding Commercial Sales” as the first module, followed by five technology modules:
  • Intrusion
  • Fire
  • Video
  • Access
  • Integrated Systems
"What we tried to do was to say, what are the things you're going to have to consider now that you're selling commercial intrusion, fire, video, access and integrated systems?" says Eller.

That evolved into developing different lead generation systems, partnerships, project management skills and public speaking skills – all of which are included in the course.

"Nothing is taught about the technologies, but we explain if you're going to sell these systems, here are some of the areas you'll need to understand. You need to understand these things if you're going to be involved in the design process,” says Eller.

"You need to be able to understand what the customer wants and translate that into what you will need to deliver.”

In commercial applications, rarely are you able to sell an "out of the box” solution that fits every customer. Your understanding of the equipment needs to be elevated, and you need to know how to identify a problem and match a product or solution to it.

You also need to be able to deliver tech specs, sizes and options to your tech team – and you learn how to in EST.

The course is designed for security sales staff at levels, from rookie to experienced salespeople.

It’s a good refresher and presents a lot of good information in the context of the discipline, says Eller. "Somebody with experience should take this course because 1) we all fall into bad habits, and 2) we all get complacent.

"Things that used to work don't now. The greatest advantage this course offers is to look at the topic with a fresh eye - it's not just the material, it's also the experience of the instructor, the sharing of common knowledge.

"Sales people get used to doing what they do. When things change, they need to stop and look at the process, evaluate new directions and move forward,” he says.

Course instructors are chosen based on their NTS background and having a strong sales side, and NTS is currently evaluating ways to accredit people just to teach this course because of their sales expertise.

Companies and students interested in the course should contact NTS to find out when there is one in your area. It's available to be run by state chapters and by larger companies who wish to run it as an in-house training option.

 

Security Specialists: Success Through TrainingOpen in a New Window

If you’re going to work for Stamford, Ct.-based Security Specialists, you need to have training – or be prepared to get trained.

"We just don’t throw anybody out on the street without training,” says owner Dan Budinoff. Everyone at Security Specialists has been through Certified Alarm/Security Technician – Level 1, says Budinoff, "but we don’t stop there.”

In addition to Connecticut’s licensing requirements, "we make everybody go through OSHA 10 training,” he says, and now that they’re seeing requirements for lead paint training in bid specs, they’re going to do that as well.

"We’re really on top of training,” says Budinoff. "Our guys are hungry for training. They want to take it.”

Security Specialists, which has been in business for 33 years, gets its passion for training from Budinoff. Before getting into the security industry, he worked in the car business, and always wanted to take classes.

"That’s just me,” he says. "I’m a sponge – I always want to learn more. I always wanted to be at school doing something.”

He brought that mentality to Security Specialists, which was founded after he did a job with a police officer who had a side business installing alarms. "Those were some interesting days," he says.

Budinoff grew the security business, and now has more than 20 employees and is "doing pretty good,” he says. A lot of that success, he says, is due to training.

"I don't think this company would be what it is today had I not gotten involved with NBFAA and NTS,” he says. Budinoff started the local New York chapter, and when he saw NTS training, said that this is what they needed.

"I still credit a lot of what I know and a significant amount of my success to what I learned from my peers [in NBFAA and NTS]," says Budinoff. In fact, he has previously been the Vice Chair of NTS for NBFAA (now ESA),

"We’re firm believers,” he says.

At Security Specialists, every job applicant goes through a PI (Predictive Index) test, and their desire for training and education is an important part of the hiring process. It’s part of the company’s culture.

"Every day is something new here,” he says. "There's always something new to learn - new technology, new applications."

If employees want to move up and make themselves invaluable to the company, they'll do that through training, he says. "The only way you're going to get there is through training."

Employees are encouraged to do manufacturer training, as well as classes in networking and IT, and the company pays for it. "We're more efficient because we're well trained," says Budinoff.

The desire to succeed doesn’t just come from the business – customers today are demanding great service and great results. "The consumer is definitely demanding more from us," he says.

Part of that, interestingly, comes from the fact that technology is so much better than it ever has been. Budinoff points to high-definition video; since consumers have HDTVs, they expect their video surveillance should be high-def, too. "The expectation is that much higher so we need to perform better,” he says.

A lot of the company’s new technology training is on IP - "There's always a new IP product,” says Budinoff – and that 90-95 percent of their camera work today is IP.

At the end of the day, it’s training that separates the successful companies from the companies that don’t grow. Companies that don’t grow don’t have the knowledge and training they need to get further.

For Security Specialists, training is the only choice – and the way to succeed. "We're training all the time," says Budinoff.

 

Instructor Q&A: Tommy Lewis, Lewis Clock & Electronic SystemsOpen in a New Window

Each month, we talk to an NTS instructor to find out their background, how they got involved in NTS, and their predictions for the future of the security industry.

This month, we’re speaking to Tommy Lewis of Lewis Clock & Electronic Systems.

What's your background in the security industry?
I installed my first system prior to 1970 in a small drug store. My work in the security industry was a spin off from having been in the 2-way radio business and TV sales and service back in 1948.
 
How did you get involved in NTS?
I got involved with NTS when Louisiana began requiring a state license in the late nineties. I retired from public education after 35 years in 1993 having taught physics, chemistry and math.

I got back into electronics field, so I had to take the NTS classes to become certified to do security work again. In order to get the course work as quickly as possible, I took Level IIB, IIA, and Level I backwards. Danny Northcutt, one of the Louisiana NTS instructors, asked me if I would consider becoming a NTS instructor, and I said yes.

How do you apply your background to the courses you've taught?
I have been in the electronics field of some type since the 40’s. I have "been there and done that” and have vast experiences and knowledge of electronics. It is very easy to relate to the students about most any electronics or electron- mechanical problems.

I have a BS degree in Physics and a Master degree in Chemistry, so I have been an instructor of some type since 1958.
 
What's the funniest experience you've had teaching a course?
When a student went to sleep at the beginning of a class and slept through the morning and woke up after lunch asking when we were going to have a break. (One of his buddies told me that he was out at the gambling casino all night.)

What do you find are the best ways for students to get the most out of NTS courses?
Asking students questions by their name and asking impromptu questions while making the presentation to get them more involved in the class work. The length of time for the class time needs to allow for this student involvement.

How have you seen the security industry change over the years?
The major change has been in the control panels and interior detection equipment. The alarm industry is now ”big business” with money the name of the game, not one-on-one with the customer.

What are your predictions for the future of the industry?
The equipment will become more automated and versatile.