Choosing a Certification Course


New member
I plan to be taking the technician certification course within the next 6 months. I've been waiting for a course to either pop up close enough, or to save up to travel and stay in a hotel, whenever motherhood and my work schedule permitted. Well, my youngest and last baby is soon to be a year old and I'm ready to commit. I really honestly don't mean to toot my own horn, but I've been an car seat safety advocate for years and have always planned to become certified, and likewise always tried to only share accurate, up to date information and conduct myself with as much ethical concern as a certified technician would. I've always gotten my information from reputable sources, I have the online technician course manual downloaded, I'm active on carseat groups and do a lot of searching these forums for any questions I might have, and even watch webinars available on cpsboard youtube channel. I say this to only illustrate that I'm going into this course with much of the book knowledge already learned (though I'm so immensely excited for the hands on experience and instruction, and cannot wait to learn more!) and wish to find a course in which I can get the most out of it. I'm aware (sadly) that not all techs are created equal and really, really want to take as much possible home from the course. I've watched a webinar about the new curriculum, that can be condensed into 3 days, and noticed they said they wanted the most important material covered, and expected the rest to be learned through continuing education. Right now I'm trying to decide between two Indiana courses, one takes place in a larger city at a children's hospital in Richmond, another in what appears to be a smaller city(Batesville) at a fire department. I realize their locations or size of the cities may very well have absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the kind of instruction I might receive, but I'm a little torn on which to choose! I'm leaning towards the one that is more convenient for me(fire station - course that takes place on 2 different weekends in January, no need to take time off work), but if anyone thinks I might get more out of the other(MTWT course located at a children's hospital in March), I'd reconsider! Also, is there any specific questions I might be able to email and ask to determine the "better" one? Or should I just pick whatever is convenient, not expect more than the information in the technician handbook, and look forward to the continuing education opportunities once I am certified?


Well-known member
Since there is no way to guess which course will be "better" I would go with the most convenient one and plan on continuing to educate yourself beyond what the class provides. :)


Admin - CPST Instructor
Are they both 3 day courses? Both 4 day courses? Honestly, I can't imagine teaching the course in 3 days because I don't think I can give the average technician-candidate the knowledge base they need to be competent in 3 days. My point is to consider a 4-day class over a 3-day class because I think in general, most students (even the ones who are already very knowledgeable) benefit from the additional hands-on time that you are more likely to have with a 4-day class. Just my :twocents:


Ambassador - CPS Technician
You didn't present this as an option, but if you can take a course in the area you'll be working, that would be ideal. I went out-of-area to take my course for convenience/scheduling purposes, and honestly I regret it. In addition to course quality (which would have been better in my home area) it took me a LONG time to become a "known entity" to the CPST-Is in my area. Like you, I pretty much knew the curriculum going in ( literally only learned how to use a belt shortening clip) but forging those relationships would have been a positive for me. Not to say this is the end- all - I do hold one of the few paid CPST jobs in my community - but it definitely has made my life more challenging, even now, 4.5 years after certification because I am still seen as an "unknown " to some of our local team.

For someone coming into things with a good sense of passenger safety, I would almost consider those local connections of as significant as the course itself.

I do agree about the length of course. I took a three-day course and there is a definite difference between the techs I verified with and the techs who certify locally with a four- day course.


New member
Thankyou so much for your input. Both are 4 day courses, both about 3-4hours away in a neighboring state. I have much to learn and am very excited for the hands on.

Closest course/instructor is still an hour away from where I live. I had emailed her to ask if it was possible to be notified of any upcoming courses and she won't be teaching another for at least another year. I've already tried to reach out to other health department technicians in the area upon her advice to seek out a mentor and I don't get the sense that there is much working together anyway. I was sorely disappointed to not have my email returned as I thought that would be a fantastic learning experience and a good way to gain experience through observing. There's only one other independent tech in the area. I'm planning on having to work independently.


New member
Thank you so much nannykates for that suggestion. You would have thought that would have been something I had already thought of, but oddly I had not done that yet! When I googled the names of each instructor, I couldn't find any information on the one, but found lots of "hits" for the other, including registration lists for large, national safety conferences, in articles and in news clips, etc. I had emailed each as well, and based on her professionalism and seeming to have more passion for carseat safety, I'm choosing to wait to attend her course. I had gotten my hopes up for a course as soon as next month, but am very happy to wait for the March course instead if I may get more out of it. Registered for the course on Safe Kids, hotel booked, and now very, very anxiously - after a very, very long wait of 4 years due to pregnancies and nurslings - waiting to FINALLY getting certified!


Moderator - CPS Technician
When you are certified, you are certified. Most techs never have much to do with the people that taught their class. Good techs are the ones paying attention to multiple sources. They are balanced and they think on their feet and they are truly listening to parents and trying to solve the problems that make it hard to follow best practice and that takes time that no class, even the old 40 hour curriculum, can possibly prepare you for. Any class should give you a firm grasp of the basics (READ THE FRACKING MANUAL!!!!...#1 rule) but a lot of this field is simply practice.

Since you are taking the course 3-4 hours away, know who your local peers are. These people are your mentors. Don't try to go off on your own until you have done several dozen checks with a senior checker. Each area is different. A farming community has vastly different problems than a metropolitan area. Talk to and work with many people in your own area. This is much more valuable than who teaches your class when you are so far away. I get that this is hard to accomplish. People are busy and don't return emails. Look up their check schedules and ask if you can help. Almost no-one turns down free labor. Look for independent techs. It's not that they care more, just that they have the time to be a mentor. (as long as you have the time to return the favor). Reciprocity is the name of the game, and once you are certified, you have a piece on the board.


New member
Thankyou so much again for that insight. I truly do want and hope I am able to find a more experienced mentor. For years I've been reading and searching these forums, as well as making technician friends online who so wonderfully answer all my questions and "mentor" me, but I know I lack the hands on experience and field experience, and no amount of online mentoring can make up for that. I will continue to try, but because I do work, and because the health department technicians probably do the majority of their checks during business hours (I've never seen a car seat event advertised in the two years I've lived in this county - so they either do not host them, or do a poor job advertising), I'm not sure that will be much of an option. Also, at my former address in a neighboring county... it was a poor experience with a health department "technician" that motivated me to have the ambition to one day graduate from "advocate" to "certified". So I am leery of the health department technicians in general that may have simply taken the course as a job requirement, but of course will still gladly give other local county health department technicians a chance to prove themselves. I didn't want to become annoying, but its been a month and I may try to contact them with their information available on the safekids website, instead of their work emails. It's winter, and not sure how much "action" they get, but it'd be great if possible to get in any experience while I wait for the course to come up in March, and beyond, of course.

There is only one other independent technician in the area that is brand new to car seat safety, newly certified, so not "mentor" quality, and though I would be willing to build a working relationship and learn alongside another new technician, for reasons I'd really rather not express on a public forum, I fear the feeling is not entirely mutual, as well as that I wish to build a positive reputation for myself through kind and gentle education.

Even if I recognize I know most of the material already, I have no desire to be a one-man show, certainly have some insecurities about being newly certified and thrust out into the wilderness, and would love, love, love to develop a mentor-student relationship with an experienced, passionate technician. However, I do fear I may have to just "go it alone". For someone that has no in person, local mentor or senior technicians, any other advice when first starting out and trying to create relationships with local sources to become a resource for my community?

Car-Seat.Org Facebook Group

Forum statistics

Latest member

You must read your carseat and vehicle owner’s manual and understand any relevant state laws. These are the rules you must follow to restrain your children safely. All opinions at Car-Seat.Org are those of the individual author for informational purposes only, and do not necessarily reflect any policy or position of Carseat Media LLC. Car-Seat.Org makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. If you are unsure about information provided to you, please visit a local certified technician. Before posting or using our website you must read and agree to our TERMS.

Maxi Cosi is a proud sponsor of Car-Seat.Org!Graco is a Proud Sponsor of Car-Seat.Org!Nuna Baby is a Proud Sponsor of Car-Seat.Org!

Please  Support Car-Seat.Org  with your purchases of infant, convertible, combination and boosters seats from our premier sponsors above.
Shop travel systems, strollers and baby gear from Britax, Chicco, Clek, Combi, Evenflo, First Years, Graco, Maxi-Cosi, Nuna, Safety 1st, Diono & more! ©2001-2021 Carseat Media LLC