Designations and certifications. How do kitchen exhaust cleaning technicians get it? Who monitors it? Is it worth it?
Unfortunately the word “certification” is being misrepresented in the commercial kitchen exhaust cleaning industry. One would think, if a company was claiming to be “Certified” then it would have employees knowledgeable and trained in what they are doing. This is not always the case.
Designations usually use letters after one’s name to denote the achievement of pre-determined standards, skills or competencies. In our company, technicians attain a designation of Professional Exhaust Cleaning Technician (PECT) through IKECA. Our crew leaders are proud to have attained this designation. A few have gone on to add certifications to this designation and become specialists in their field.
Certifications are attained by completing a professional development course or program in a specialized field. Certifications have expiration dates and require recertification. Think of First Aid, Fall Arrest or Lift Truck certifications that many of us hold. Some companies hold LEED or ISO certifications and must maintain these certifications annually.
Do your research. Always ask the company claiming to be certified, if their technicians have a professional designation. What specialization have they achieved with the certification? What organization provided the certification? Then contact that organization to ensure they are a certifying body and that that company is actually a member with certified technicians. Also ask what organization members have to do to maintain their certification. In some cases they just pay a fee and get hood stickers. Legitimate certifications must have an obligation on the members to maintain their certification by acquiring continuing education credits (CEC’s). The CEC’s will validate the technician is staying current with cleaning techniques and NFPA 96 Standards.
Pressure Kleen was the first Canadian company, over 30 years ago, to join the membership of the International Kitchen Exhaust Cleaning Association (IKECA); the first company to have a Certified Exhaust Cleaning Specialist (CECS) and a Certified Exhaust System Inspector (CESI) on staff. That means 30 years of continuing education credits to ensure we are serving our customers with the highest professionalism and cleaning restaurant kitchens to the highest standard.
Yes, it has been worth it.