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Who hasn't, at some point in their life, given thought to owning their own "vacation on wheels" -- an RV! Just the thought of hitting the open road in search of grand discovery brings pleasant thoughts of driving a motor coach or pulling a fifth wheel across the highways of America, turning that dream into a reality.

Imagine sunsets on a deserted beach while grilling burgers on the pit. Or sipping coffee to the sunrise at one of thousands of national and state parks that dot the countryside. You're happy. The kids are happy. Even grandma and grandpa, who have come along for this historic adventure, are happy.

And why not? You've got the advantage of being out and in the middle of nature and still having a kitchen sink, hot & cold running water, at least one toilet and bath, a comfortable bedroom, state-of-the-art entertainment technology and a fully operative kitchen. You're saving the big bucks of luxury hotel, and life is just plain good.

That is, until something breaks or stops working.

Oh yes, there's more to RV adventuring than filling the gas tank and pulling on your favorite T-shirt. Of course, you knew you had to learn to dump the black and gray waters. You knew someone had to fill the propane tanks, check the air in the tires, secure the canopy safely. But, in spite of your commitment, you didn't learn how to replace the battery back up or to repair the generator, did you? And dealing with a water leak in the small line that leaves the back of the sink and enters the wall is not something you're too keen or qualified in repairing.

In fact, there's a lot more to owning an RV than just owning the title. Regardless how well it's built, like any machine and every tool, it's going to work only as good as you keep it running smoothly. That means preventative measures, regular inspections, and speedy repairs. It means understanding how it works and knowing what to do when one or multiple components goes on the blink. In an RV, like in a boat, it's more than keeping things pretty and functional. Often times it involves personal and family safety.

But what to do? Without a background in engineering and a mechanical aptitude, you probably don't stand much of a chance keeping up with the advancing technology or modular vehicles. Maybe you listen to your teenage son when he says, "Dad, I want a degree that keeps me in this RV."

"An RV degree?" You ask him. "Are you crazy? It would be nice, but where are you going to get an RV degree?"

And that brings us to our point. Why not an RV Degree? Believe it or not, there are now technical colleges across the nation offering a diploma program in this fast growing field of technology.

It's estimated there are some 25 million RVers in the U.S. hit the highway every year, and that number is growing. In the last six years alone over 1.2 million new RV units were sold in the U.S. alone. Now add to that the number of used RV's sold, and when combined with the increasing trend of RV rentals, you have a market in desperate need of highly skilled technicians.

RVs' over the years have become more luxurious, high tech, and more complex to work on. Most modern RV's have more in common with your computer than a truck in fact. With microprocessors, electronic systems and complex motors, not just any automotive technician will have the knowledge to work on these complicated machines.

For those interested in this career field, the prospects of employment are higher than for traditional mechanic professions. In fact, the future looks promising for anyone who can get certification from an established and well respected institution. And the good news is that there are several of them out there. While most programs are two year projects, Texas State Technical College of Waco is offering a special one year program to get qualified technicians into the field quickly.

Through the college's partnership with the Texas Recreational Vehicle Association, you can enter an intensive one-year Fast Track Apprenticeship Program to help you use your technical aptitude and quickly enter the field as a Recreational Vehicle Maintenance Technician, virtually guaranteeing employment upon graduation.

TSTC's Waco program was designed by recreational industry leaders to help ensure that graduates of the program possess the strong technical knowledge necessary to service both interior coach components and the exterior services of the recreational vehicle.

This course is designed to teach students the theory, operation, service and maintenance of the various systems in modern recreational vehicles. Further, the course will cover the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of RVs and common maintenance issues for each.

This course is ideal for students who want to learn how RV chassis and coach system function and for owners, potential owners, and mechanics who want to learn how to select, service, and maintain them.

While the state of Texas is lucky to have this fine program in Waco, there are other technical schools throughout the nation offering similar programs.
Another highly recommended program is offered in Sacramento. Sacramento City College offers a degree in Recreational Vehicle Technology, a 72 hour course offered in conjunction with other mechanical programs.

So whether you are looking for a new vocation or looking to save yourself some major dollars on your own RV repairs, consider going back to school and getting your RV degree. Going back to school could never be more fun or profitable! Or just say "yes" next time junior wants a degree in RVing! Think of all the free RV work you could get done!

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