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RV Tech Shortage: Why Now Is the Time for RV Technician Training

Published on May 25th, 2023 by Rene Agredano

With a persistent shortage of RV technicians across the country, small repairs that once took days or weeks can now take months to complete. Many service centers are even imposing a 10-year rule on RVs they are willing to work on, leaving owners stranded without their vehicles during peak camping season. 

Whether you’re a frustrated RV owner who wants to take education into your own hands, or someone seeking a career change, here’s why now is the best time for RV technician training.

Why Now Is The Time for RV Technician Training

You’ve seen the crowded campgrounds. You know that more people are RVing than ever before. And long before the supply chain shortages of the 2020 global pandemic, RV service centers couldn’t recruit enough skilled help to meet growing customer demand. “The RV tech shortage is not a new problem,” explains Tony Flammia, Sales and Marketing Director of the National RV Training Academy (NRVTA) in Texas.

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In an email interview, Flammia reports service centers were already seeing staffing shortages before the pandemic. When RVing’s popularity exploded during 2020, the demand for skilled workers with RV technician training skyrocketed.

RV technician student (Image: NRVTA)
Student learning systems at the NRVTA campus in Texas. (Image: NRVTA)

With the influx of RVs now on the road and the demand for service increasing rapidly, dealers are looking to hire more trained RV technicians to help their service centers turn over their service bays faster.

Tony Flammia, Sales and Marketing Director for the National RV Training Academy

Where Do Certified RV Techs Find Work?

RV Technician employment map of the U.S. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Florida, Texas, and California have the most RV Techs in the U.S.
(Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

People from all over the U.S. are signing up to become RV technicians. Between September 2021 and August 2022, 1,172 students (out of 1580 who started the NRVTA program) completed their training and earned RV technician certifications from the RV Technicians Association of America. Now, they’re reaping the benefits of earning a steady income in an industry that desperately needs their skills.

“RV Dealerships are hungry for qualified technicians,” Flammia says. Clearly, now has never been better time to jump into the RV industry as a skilled and credential technician.

Students at the NRVTA are generally older adults seeking a career change. Over half are between the ages of 41 and 60, and the school’s fastest growing age segment is are 31-40 year-old adults.

Student learning systems at the NRVTA campus in Texas. (Image: NRVTA)
Many students are older and seeking a career change. (Image: NRVTA)

What Does RV Technician Training Look Like?

Learning how to become an RV technician can be one online, in person, or a hybrid of both. At the NRVTA, a student only needs to complete the entry level Registered RV Service Technician curriculum to get started working in the industry. For better pay and more employment options, they can go on an earn the Advanced RV Service Technician title, but must attend classes in person.

What Registered RV Service Technicians Learn

The NRVTA program prepares individuals to apply basic technical knowledge and skills to build, test, inspect, repair, service and maintain recreational vehicles, systems, and interior and exterior components.

Learn brake, hydraulic, and towing systems; electrical systems; propane systems and propane and electric appliances; carpentry; plumbing; welding; and structural frames.

Advanced RV Service Technicians Also Learn

This program advances the student’s skills in the areas of propane, electrical, plumbing, fire & life safety, weight knowledge, and other technical skills as outlined in the RV Service Training Council.

The Advanced RV Technician curriculum provides a comprehensive focus on hands- on troubleshooting and reconstruction of RV systems.

Graduates gain the skills to work on systems within every RV class, but the program doesn’t qualify them to work on the automotive components of RVs like drivetrains and motors.

However, if a student goes the extra mile to earn an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified mechanic credential from an accredited institution, their skills become even more marketable and valuable to an RV service center.

What’s the Earning Potential for RV Technician Training Graduates?

US map of median wages for RV techs
(Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)
The highest wages for RV techs are in California, New Hampshire, and Washington.
(Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Becoming employed at an RV service center can be the fastest route to steady pay. “RV dealerships are actively seeking more qualified candidates for their open technician positions and we are seeing some dealership locations offering sign-on bonuses,” says Flammia.

Almost every RV dealership in the country is hiring right now. There is so much work that dealerships are backlogged 3-6 months on repair work. But the real money is in opening your own mobile RV tech business. The standard around here is around $130 dollars respond fee and $125 per hour. Seriously.

If you graduate from this school and do not find work, you are not really looking.

@mprevost, iRV2 Forums Member

Let’s Talk RV Tech Salary

Pay scale depends on experience, but about eighty percent of those who obtained advanced credentials at the NRVTA now report making over $100 an hour. Overall pay for employed RV technicians hasn’t quite caught up with the demand for skilled techs, reports Flammia. However, he says “We are hopeful that this will change as dealerships see the benefit of hiring graduates from programs like ours.”

For someone with an entrepreneurial mindset, starting an independent RV repair business can see immediate payoff. Since many RV service centers are so backlogged with jobs that they aren’t servicing older RVs, that work is falling into the laps of independent RV repair technicians.

“We are seeing more of our graduates begin their own mobile service businesses to serve customers on the road and in campgrounds,” Flammia reports.

Student learning systems at the NRVTA campus in Texas. (Image: NRVTA)
RV Technician employment can take on many different forms. (Image: NRVTA)

I’m a mobile tech in the desert southwest during the winter months, been at it on my own for the last three years and it has been the best decision I ever made. Our rates here average $50.00 trip charge $110.00 hour

@Parish, iRV2 Forums Member

RV Tech Job Security Isn’t Going Anywhere

You might have heard that the RV market is changing. Yes, new RV sales are definitely slow in 2023. The possibility of an economic recession, and a post-pandemic slowdown in new RV owners has slowed the industry. But remember, those figures only discuss new RVs hitting the marketplace.

Those RV industry numbers don’t take into account the millions of people who jumped into RVing during the pandemic, and are continuing to do so. The numbers do not factor in the millions of RVers who have no plans to stop traveling anytime soon.

If there’s one thing that’s for certain, it’s that their RVs will always need a skilled RV technician to keep their wheels turning.

This post may contain affiliate links or mention our own products, please check out our disclosure policy here.

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