ETA offers many opportunities for members to become involved in the association. One of these opportunities is to become a Subject Matter Expert (SME). ETA relies on the expertise of industry technicians, trainers, and educators to develop technical certifications tied to existing industry standards where they exist, and industry best practices where they do not. Without them, ETA would not have the world-class content that many companies rely on every day. ETA’s certification committees, specific for each certification, are composed of subject matter experts (SMEs) who are demographically, professionally and educationally diverse with a broad range of experience. Certification committees require decisions on updating competencies; accommodating advances in technologies and best practices; when current exams should be replaced, edited, added to, and/or revised with the updated terminology and graphics. Continual awareness, review editing, vetting, and placing new exams into Beta formats for feedback are all thoroughly ‘gone over with a fine toothed comb’ to ensure the best positive understanding of the certification knowledge is tested and errors are kept at a minimum. Task analysis by educators, employers, and practitioners is an important part of the process of developing industry-based competencies, upon which the certification exams are based. Both internal and external judgments are included in development.
Realize that with 80+ Certification programs currently active, plus 7 FCC exam series, volunteers must take charge of each committee. Our current staff has little chance of doing justice to each program as it isn’t financially feasible to the association to hire additional technical employees. The committee chairperson must look at his or her committee as a project where the chairperson is the ‘ramrod’, the 'wagon master.' All committee activity does not have to take place between the Greencastle headquarters office and the committee. Committee members can talk to each other. The staff will do everything possible to make the committee click, but leadership is needed. That is why we supply each committee chair the lists of current committee workers and their email addresses, etc.
Certification committees require decisions on when the current exam(s) should be replaced; editing, adding, deleting current exams; seeking input to aid in keeping exams at the current state of the technology; inputting new questions and graphics; reviewing questions; editing the beta exams and going over new exams with a ‘fine-tooth comb’ to make sure errors are at a minimum. Chairpersons can help by seeking out new committee members or other experts to help hone the exams and policies. Bear in mind that we do not know of any other industry associations that have the wide range of certification programs ETA does. When the CET program started in 1966, we had one exam. That was for the radio-TV technician. So, you see why the committee chair is so important to the profession.
If only one person makes all of the decisions, there is no need for an association. We might as well just have a commercial company where everyone takes orders from the ‘boss.' Associations have officers so that a representative group of concerned officials participate in policies, administration and goal setting - even crisis management. A better association also has involved members leading each project as Committee heads. Sometimes, it is an officer that also heads a committee, and sometimes, it's another dedicated member. The more thinkers and workers involved, the healthier the group. Committee members are the lifeblood of the project. It is the workers who can be assigned sub-elements of a project, then being able to concentrate on only that portion they are assigned. They also then have a better idea of how the entire committee task might be expedited. Just as an orchestra or choir does best when each member does a portion of the work, the committee produces the best product when it is a well-honed task force using all those human brains for maximum good. You have the opportunity to join the nearly 800 volunteers who participate on ETA exam advisory committees as Subject Matter Experts (SMEs).
Committee members are important. While they may wait for the committee chair to ask them to do a portion of the committee’s work, they can initiate efforts on their own. Most all committee chairs would love to have a committee member call or e-mail them to discuss the project. They would love to see two or more committee members discussing the competencies, whether a question is valid, what the time limits should be for pre-requisites, what is going to happen at the convention, etc. Phone calls, fax and email have made the art of communications between committee workers much easier and timely. You can contact another ETA Subject Matter Expert in a couple hours or less and get a reply right away. We should use the products of the technician society. As a committee member you may be asked to: