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TX irrigators how do you choose a CEU class?

This is a poll intended for TX irrigators. I'm curious as to the motivation behind getting CEU requirements filled.
Is it purely a cost decision? If so what do you expect to pay at most for an 8 hour CEU?
Do you try and find something new to learn?
Do you choose classes based on teacher recommendations?
Do you scramble at the last minute and find whatever class you can grab?
Do you prefer on-line or correspondence?
If it's promoted by a University or College does that carry more weight?
Have you locked onto a teacher and repeat with them?
Do you try and take your CEUs in the winter when work slows down?
Do you pay for your employees or make them cover their own CEU costs?
Do you try and focus on classes that are service related and troubleshooting or install?
Would you have any respect for a 20 something age wise teaching CEUs?
What has been your general experience with CEU teachers? Good mediocre bad?
Do you prefer classes from salty old farts or educated alphabet types?
Would brisket for an encore help with your decision making?

Add any other hits and misses on the whole CEU thing.

No griping about CEUs being required. They are here to stay so I'm interested in what makes them work best.
 

Waterlogged

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Texas
I don't think I'm going to answer all your questions :laugh: but I do look at flyer's I get in the mail because they are on a subject I need. I try to mix my classes up. One good way to get hours is to join an association and go to their annual expo and get eight hours, if they offer it. You can learn alot. You might get four or five different classes in one day. That makes it go real fast plus you get to talk to vendors. It does not make any difference what class you take. You will get out of it what you put in it. If you sit in the back,talk on the phone,talk to other people,and work on your computer you will get nothing out of it and you will be the one that complains the most about the class. I have done correspondence courses and they are fine and less expensive. Keep an open mind and you will always learn something new from someone else :waving:

"How you do anything is how you do everything"
 

bcg

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Tx
I usually look for a class on something I'm interested in. I always look at the mailers I get from CEU vendors to see what they're offering and what their price is. I'm taking the BPAT course in a couple of weeks from a vendor that sent me a mailer. I chose them over another local provider because they were a little less expensive and their online material seemed more thorough.

I like going to a class where that's what I'm doing for the day. It minimizes distractions and I get more out of it.
 

Sprinkus

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
San Antonio, TX
Poll answer:
Is it purely a cost decision? If so what do you expect to pay at most for an 8 hour CEU?
Never a purely cost decision, more about when I can actually fit it in. The Tech course for 16 CEU's was $350, which is the most I've ever paid.

Do you try and find something new to learn?
If I'm in town when a course I haven't taken is available I'll take it.

Do you choose classes based on teacher recommendations?
I haven't had a teacher recommend a specific class.

Do you scramble at the last minute and find whatever class you can grab?
I have had to do this twice before.
This year I was able to take the Licensed Technician Course for 16 CEU's. This time I'm finally way ahead on CEU's since my license doesn't expire until 2013.

Do you prefer on-line or correspondence?
I prefer neither but have done the correspondence course before in the above mentioned scramble.

If it's promoted by a University or College does that carry more weight?
No.

Have you locked onto a teacher and repeat with them?
No.

Do you try and take your CEUs in the winter when work slows down?
Yes. We actually did slow down for about two weeks this winter. Unfortunately there were no classes available at that time.

Do you pay for your employees or make them cover their own CEU costs?
We pay for the CEU's.

Do you try and focus on classes that are service related and troubleshooting or install?
Yes.

Would you have any respect for a 20 something age wise teaching CEUs?
Probably not.

What has been your general experience with CEU teachers? Good mediocre bad?
Usually good.

Do you prefer classes from salty old farts or educated alphabet types?
I prefer classes from someone that actually works, or has previously worked in the business for many years.

Would brisket for an encore help with your decision making?
After the overpriced catered sandwiches I've had at the last few classes, yes, a decent brisket would be great!
 
Peter, I find my CEU's based on schedule availability and location.

It has been my experience that very few CEU classes are worth the money and time spent to attend and I do so solely to maintain my license in good standing.

I base this on my twenty or so years of experience with irrigation, my under graduate degree in Agronomy and my fluid dynamics training and I absolutely detest the attitude of spoon feeding the information to the least common denominator.

As such I vastly prefer on-line CEU's to classroom attendance.

Also, I would have essentially zero respect for a limited field experienced "instructor" spoon feeding material I could just as easily acquire myself much more quickly.

Food or the promise of a catered meal has zero bearing upon where I attend CEU's.

Regarding subject material, I feel the actual business side needs better representation. The actual mechanics of installing or repairing a system is relatively static, the real improvement needs to be in the presentation/sales of a install or repair. Texas has a stringent licensing requirement so a successful license holder has already demonstrated some ability for information processing and retention. That said I have been continually amazed at the lack of understanding most irrigators have concerning specific market demographics, targeting, selling and even how to approach a potential client to solicit work.

I realize my approach isn't for everyone but it works for me.
 
OP
FIMCO-MEISTER

FIMCO-MEISTER

Banned
thanks tx. I can imagine the biggest struggle a ceu teacher has is not being a beatdown for seasoned professionals. To me the best thing you can do for the old timers is give them a nice vacation tax write off while getting ceus. Other than that the best thing you can do for them is to get their underlings or employees to be better company reps and salespeople. Increase their soil and plant knowledge and show them the benefits of upgrading and rebooking customers. I did the math and in my mind a service tech in Dallas, Tx at the rates that I felt were market competitive should do 180,000 to 200,000 a year gross sales. To achieve that they have to do some of the selling. But it has to be good selling of quality improvements. Just selling apples for apples will eventually come back to bite you. That is assuming a 210 day year. Henry was at a recent ceu class I think the Lone Star one and said one teacher was an absolute joke.
 
How I tolerate CEU classes in person is to emulate a bump on a wall.
Kind of like Sgt Schultz from the old Hogan's Hero's show: "I hear nothing/I see nothing" - meaning unless the instructor feels he has to whack my johnson for no reason I'll leave him alone.
When I had to take my forty hour class back in early 2000 to sit for the test I initially spoke with the instructor and we came to the same agreement. We would leave each of us alone and in this instance it worked as the rest of the attendees were too wrapped up in trying to absorb the material so they could pass.
I realize the instructors have to deliver the information to the least common denominator but nothing says I have to like it. I swear sometimes I felt cavities forming in my teeth from the pace of information delivery.
Actually the worst place I have experienced problem attendees is during my TDA mandated in person CEU's for my spray license categories. A couple of times I walked out to avoid drowning in the testosterone flowing around the room.
I finally got the guy sitting behind me to shut up by laying such a smelly SBD on him I actually choked up a bit. Got him right after lunch, a belly full of fast food, dude still acting up so I laid one out there. The dude was right in the middle of some ridiculous self important diatribe when he says "Holey Mother of God", starts urping a bit then runs out. After everyone started breathing again I received a round of applause.
 
OP
FIMCO-MEISTER

FIMCO-MEISTER

Banned
I haven't talked to too many so this is very unscientific but I think most instructors think irrigators are choosing the cheapest class possible. Treating the whole ceu thing like a commodity. Maybe most are. I truly try and find something new to learn. I made an azz of myself at a compost ceu class. It was titles COMPOST IS MAGIC. Well that annoyed the crap out of me but it seemed like something new to try. well it was a bunch of new age types that were basically criticizing green lawns. City of Plano was there and they have that compost plant they've created. So I ask one simple question and make a point and you'd think I had brought a gun to class. All I said was that throwing compost on an existing lawn does nothing for the already existing gumbo that the grass was laid on after the builder scraped the lot clean. And asked if the City of Plano was doing anything about soil prep on new homes? First they exploded because I said "gumbo" and then because I didn't seem to be all caught up in the "magic". Screw'em friggin new age commie rat hippies. When I was a hippie I was cool.
By the way that fart trick won't work on me. I have no sense of smell.
 
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