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A week at NRVTA

Team Cozy Camper's Mike spent the week at the National RV Training Academy. Was it worth it?

I pulled into the lot at the National RV Training Academy in Athens, Texas on a Sunday afternoon. As I pulled in, I saw the big red barn and the gate to the Texan RV Park and Campus. I'd been following the NRVTA on facebook for more than a year and I must admit that I felt like I'd made it to the big leagues.

The Cozy Camper Truck and Pegasus departing Buccee's in Temple Texas

I entered the office and spoke with the woman behind the desk to check in. She cautioned me that I would have my head down in study all week. I assured myself that I held two bachelors degrees and completed two police academies and that the NRVTA would not be challenging. Boy was I in for a shock!

Theres your sign

On day one we were introduced to the leadership and staff of the NRVTA. The owners, Steve Anderson and Terry Cooper, led the day off and shared the story of how the NRVTA came to be. We then met our lead instructor, Todd Henson. I recognized Todd from the two minute tech tip Tuesday video series on YouTube and Facebook. Todd wasted no time and launched into instruction. Day one covered DC electronics - a subject I struggled with in undergraduate college. Before I knew it, we were knee deep in Watt's Law, Ohm's Law, voltage and amperage. Todd and his assistants were patient and helped everyone grasp the concepts. After lunch, we went hands on with our testers and learned how to diagnose a number of issues common to RVs.

Hangin with Mr. Cooper

The rest of the week followed the same formula. The mornings were in the classroom studying theory, the afternoons were in the various labs. Topics covered included air conditioners, AC electronics, refrigerators, propane systems and RV plumbing. In the labs, we tested and diagnosed all manner of RV problems.

Ohming out a water heater element

Before class everyday, there was an optional RV business course hosted by Steve Anderson. Steve covered topics ranging from CPAs and tax issues to start up costs and business tips. On Wednesday, we had the good fortune of attending a live presentation from attorney and CPA Mark Kohler who provided an overview of common tax and accounting issues in the RV business. Steve and Mark offer an additional small business "RVer School" which can be purchased at additional cost.

Studying after class on Day 1. Please note the "crusher car" my son left for me.

During the week, there are several opportunities for networking and socialization. There was a party at the club house, a Halloween party and a RV cooking class. Since most people in the RV park were attending the class with you, it was easy to get to know your neighbors.

On Friday, students take the course completion test. The test was comprehensive but Todd and his team did a great job on the review and I felt prepared for it. Pro-Tip: remember that Todd's shirt is black. If you attend the course you'll see why that's important.

The waiting area inside the big red school house.

For those seeking Registered RV Technician certificates, there is another round of testing on Saturday. There is a comprehensive review before the test which is good - this test was far more challenging than the first. Thankfully, the review was thorough and I am now a registered RV technician.

I thoroughly enjoyed my week at the NRVTA. In fact, I plan to go back in March for more training. I learned more about RVs in a week than I did in the years I've owned one. If you own an RV or are planning to buy one, a week at the NRVTA is for you.


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