NBFFA brings NTS online, but not abandoning classroom options

The new offering opens up Level 1 training and certification opportunties to a larger geographic audience
Wednesday, December 1, 2004

SILVER SPRING, Md. - Recognizing that there is a need for Internet-based education and certifications options, the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association has rolled out an online version of its National Training School, Alarm Technician Level 1 Course.

The move to offer the course online stemmed from a request from industry professionals - many who were located too far from a class without enduring traveling expenses or missed work time - and the knowledge that incoming alarm technicians are more open to learning in an online environment.

“We have taken a proven successful product and have found a new delivery for it,” said Dale Eller, director of education and standards at the NBFAA.

The online class, which was launched in mid-October, contains the same components of the classroom-based instruction, which provides an overview of the installations and maintenance of various alarm systems. The classroom training is usually followed by a certification exam, but the online version will not offer the exam online.

“We are finding that some states will accept online training for continuing education, but a lot of them are hesitant towards licensure,” Eller said. “In New York, for example, they want to know that John Smith sat in the class and John Smith took the exam.”

Eller said state requirements will be worked through in time and also noted that the association is dedicated to making sure the individuals who need to take the exam have options available to them.

“I don’t want to close any doors,” he said.

And that is also true of the NBFAA’s classroom training. Eller said that even though the association has two more courses - a fire alarm installation course and an advanced burglar alarm technician class - scheduled to go live, it is not a full transition to an online format.

“This is by no means a change of direction for the NBFAA,” Eller said. “This is not the end of live training for other courses.”

Lisa Prosser, owner of General Alarm, said the online version of the Level 1 course is a welcome addition to the NBFAA’s educational offerings, especially due to the current state of the industry.

“First of all the security industry is extremely busy,” Prosser said. “I don’t see any end in site for that influx in business. Therefore ongoing training that is available remotely or online is critical to make sure technicians are trained and and up-to-date.”

According to Prosser, confirming that technicians are current in their training is a factor in being an industry front runner.

Interest in the online NTS course has been positive since the launch. Eller said roughly half a dozen students had signed up and there have been between 40 and 50 inquiries since the beginning of November.