The American Rental Association (ARA) has launched its inaugural ARA Certified programs, a series of certification programs covering essential training for mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) on both trainer and operator sides, and sales and service certification programs for those in the equipment rental segment.
“The ARA Certified programs we launched in March are a direct reflection of our association’s strategic initiatives that are focused on safety and preparing the industry for the future,” says Tony Conant, ARA CEO. “These programs establish rental industry standards, professional development and training that you can’t find anywhere else.”
ARA Certified programs and the per-person enrollment costs associated with each include:
ARA Certified MEWP Train the Trainer: $199. This program includes an online education component and a live, hands-on session to be conducted locally by a certified master trainer. Graduates will obtain the credentials to train MEWP operators using the ARA Certified MEWP Operator program.
ARA Certified MEWP Operator: $49. This program is taught by ARA Certified MEWP Train the Trainer program graduates. Certified trainers will have administrator rights in RentalU, allowing them to purchase the MEWP Operator program for their staff, administer the operator hands-on training and record evaluations online.
ARA Certified Sales: $499
ARA Certified Service: $499
ARA Certified programs are available to ARA members only.
“An industry standard and brand-agnostic MEWP certification has been a longtime request of members large and small,” says Josh Nickell, ARA vice president, equipment segment. “Safety is paramount to rental companies and the MEWP certification will elevate the safety and professionalism of your team. Additionally, once the operator certification for your customers is released next year, it will open up new revenue opportunities for your business and create a stickier bond between you and your key contractors in addition to making sure your customers have the highest-quality safety training available.”
Nickell also says the offering of much of the MEWP programs in a self-guided online format is a “key innovation — this saves your team time, increases engagement and makes for a smoother certification experience for your staff and customers.”
The ARA Certified Sales program provides knowledge through training courses such as customer service, digital marketing, sales skills and more. The ARA Certified Service program educates users in electrical systems, diesel engines, gas engines, hydraulics and other topics pertinent to maintaining rental equipment.
“ARA Certified Sales and ARA Certified Service will give your employees an opportunity to grow and learn with self-paced, dynamic training plans catered to their job functions,” Conant says.
Each ARA Certified program includes online self-guided training through RentalU — ARA’s online education platform. The ARA Certified MEWP Train the Trainer program also involves a four-to-five-hour live, hands-on training session conducted by a certified master trainer. These sessions will complete the instruction for train-the-trainers and graduates will become qualified to train ARA Certified MEWP Trainers. The hands-on training offerings will be presented by ARA state associations or at other local settings for members without an active ARA state chapter.
The initial reaction from members aware of the development of the ARA Certified programs is excitement about the long-awaited arrival of professional-grade certifications for equipment rental staff.
“For the past three years, I have been pushing for a certification for equipment like the event segment has with ARA’s CERP [Certified Event Rental Professional] program, and it thrills me to know that it is finally happening,” says Beth Hoff Blackmer, president, Aspen Rent-All, Basalt, Colo. “We, as individuals and as businesses, are always seeking ways to grow personally and professionally. The ARA Certified programs will be a fantastic offering for owners to offer to their staff. It also promotes rental as a safe industry, which is critical in the construction field. I look forward to becoming certified and urge all in the equipment rental industry to join me.”
Dan Fielitz, president, General Rent-All, Massillon, Ohio, and ARA of Ohio president, echoes Hoff Blackmer’s anticipation of ARA Certified.
“I’m really looking forward to offering my staff the ability to grow their careers here. Our industry has needed a rental-specific, standardized platform that accredits them a professional certification. We have high hopes that the programs will give us an option for our employees and customers to help step up everyone’s game,” he says.
Collectively, the ARA Certified programs were two years in the making and reflect ARA’s commitment to its strategic pillar of providing solid education for the rental industry workforce.
“These programs are foundational to the ARA Certified content catalog, and we will be adding other certification programs in the future. ARA Certified reflects our commitment to being members’ primary source for education and training in the equipment and event rental industry,” Conant says.
Work on ARA Certified programs for forklift operations and MEWP operator certifications for rental customers is underway and are expected to be released in 2023. In addition, upgrades are in the pipeline for popular ARA education programs, including the Professional Driver Education Program and the CERP distinction.
You can get started with ARA Certified MEWP Train the Trainer at ARArental.org/MEWP, and with ARA Certified Sales and ARA Certified Service programs at ARArental.org/Certified.