Fleet Certifications Benefit Careers and Driving Best Practices

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Release date: 10/16/2017

Professional media and advocacy groups are in agreement: being certified in specialized skills that pertain to your field makes you a more valuable employee, helps you not only to get a job but keep it, and can increase your earning power.
A 2016 survey conducted by Simplilearn, a professional online certification course provider, found certifications to be a key component to bumps in salary and job fulfillment. This affirms a finding in a 2014 article in USA Today, noting certification in specific professional skills can help individuals make that leap forward.
More than raises and advanced job titles, certification is a signifier of expertise, which is crucial in any competitive job market or professional field. An article published in The Atlantic on April 27, 2017, made this clear. “The country has entered a ‘prove it’ economy in which codified skills are currency. It’s driving a revolution in how education is constructed, delivered, used—and credentialed. Even as degrees, from associates to doctorates, proliferate, they are joined—maybe trumped—by thousands of resume-worthy credentials from shorter, non-degree programs.”
Fleet and mobility managers have an array of disciplines to continually expand upon and master: Asset Management, Business Management, Financial Management, Information Management, Maintenance Management, Risk Management, and Vehicle Fuel Management. With the advance of technology impacting vehicles, automotive regulations, and job requirements alike, fleet professionals regularly look to further education to stay current with change.
“(Certification) has helped my career advancement by garnering trust within the organization,” said Ronald Gitelman, CAFM®, MBA, MPA, Fleet Administrator at Yale University. “I have been able to show why we make the decisions we make, how we procure vehicles, the various products and services we implement, and how we run the fleet.”
Elda Diez-King, CAFM®, Fleet & Travel for ITG Brands, added, “When I first started in fleet as a clerk, I didn’t know anything about (the work requirements), so certification helped me immensely to understand so much more.”
“Oftentimes in the fleet management role, you are the sole ‘subject matter expert’ in your organization,” said Larissa Clinard, CAFM®, Fleet Manager for mechanical contractor J.F. Ahern. “Specifically, pursuing Certified Automotive Fleet Manager (CAFM®) certification added a level of legitimacy and professionalism to my professional resume – assurance to others that I made a commitment to continuing education in my field to ensure I am bringing relevant, critical, ideas and solutions to the fleet functions of our organization. This has added depth and confidence in the recommendations, conversations with business unit managers, and decision making – on both sides.”
Formal Certifications Are Top Achievement for Fleet Pros
NAFA Fleet Management Association offers a variety of methods to advance one's fleet education, from single-discipline certificates to the full CAFM® program with advanced instruction in the eight fleet disciplines. Candidates can complete the program in as little as five months, or take up to three years. Further, all materials are available online as a self-study program and certification can be acquired while maintaining a full-time job.
“I believe that certification was instrumental in my promotion to Deputy Division Manager for Fleet Operations for the City of San Diego, my selection for Assistant Vehicle Maintenance Manager, and VM Manager for King County Metro,” concluded John Alley, CAFM®. “I was the only finalist that had that distinction in all cases, so I definitely believe that certification may have been a leading factor in my selection.”
The world is rapidly moving toward the next transformative era of mobility. The United Kingdom intends to join France in banning fossil-fuel vehicles by 2040. China is considering this move, also. In a late-September statement that stunned many, Mary Nichols, Chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, said the state is considering a ban on cars fueled by gasoline and diesel. The rise of car-sharing apps services poses a serious challenge to individual vehicle ownership, potentially translating into fewer of them on the road.
“Automotive vehicle fleets, on the other hand, will still be in force for business transportation,” said NAFA Fleet Management Association CEO Phillip E. Russo, CAE. “With such dramatic changes occurring outside of fleet, the impetus for fleet operators to align with sustainable practices is that much greater.”
Sustainable Fleet Accreditation Grows
Why are sustainable fleet practices gaining interest? Some governments are mandating their fleets to become less dependent on fossil fuels, while a variety of corporations consider it as part of their “corporate social responsibility” initiatives. Further, fleets that aren’t applying strategies to reduce levels of “downstream waste” can not only increase pollution but also increase operational costs.
A sustainable fleet, on the other hand, manages and reduces net environmental impacts from fleet operations at or ahead of pace required for environmental need by demonstrating that the fleet is improving air quality through emission reduction, increasing fuel efficiency and reducing fuel usage. Through optimized waste management practices, fleets can reduce material outputs.
“There is an inevitability about the future of transportation and its impacts,” said Russo. “NAFA partnered with CALSTART (which provides the data collection and calculation tools) to develop the Sustainable Fleet Accreditation Program, which has further developed into a training regimen including a webinar series and various live training events throughout the year. Individuals who pass this training are at the top of the industry in terms of sustainable fleet initiatives.”
NAFA’s education provides a clear understanding of the costs incurred, both materially and monetarily, by fleets that aren’t aligned with sustainable practices, and offers the tools and skills that help fleet and mobility professionals succeed in their sustainability goals.
The NAFA Sustainable Fleet Accreditation Program serves as a guide to help set a course for continual improvement. For fleets that are just getting started on their sustainability efforts, the program offers easy entry. For fleets with robust sustainability efforts, the program is sophisticated enough to refine their best practices and standards.