Since its inception, thousands of mechanics have taken the MECH Certification test either at an ASHE-affiliate event or in their own facility.
Photo courtesy of MECH Certification
MECH Certification provides a valuable credential for health care maintenance mechanics, technicians and engineers to validate their knowledge and experience. MECH Certification also offers solutions for facility managers looking to justify staffing levels or costs, demonstrate staff competency, determine employment levels and pay incentives, or establish employee recognition.
MECH (Mechanic Evaluation and Certification for Healthcare) was created in 1991 by the education committee of the Michigan Society of Healthcare Engineering. Now, MECH Certification is an independent nonprofit organization providing a nationally recognized certification credential to health care mechanics and engineers nationwide.
The certification test was developed by working with a group of mechanics from a range of patient care facilities who determined the core list of fundamental knowledge and skills required to be a professional health care mechanic. This job and task analysis listed the duties, tasks and steps, as well as the tools, verbal skills, safety issues and physical requirements for the profession.
From these lists, the certification test was built covering seven categories of health care maintenance work — plumbing, carpentry, electrical, general maintenance, HVAC/R systems, power plant/boiler, and safety and support services — with the goal of certifying health care mechanics who are flexible, versatile and valuable employees.
Two levels of certification were established: MECH for those with at least two years of on-the-job experience in patient care facilities, and Senior MECH for those with four or more years of experience and a higher passing score on the test.
To help candidates prepare for certification, MECH provides two tools:
- The Test Prep Workbook is sent to all candidates when their application and payment are completed. The Workbook includes a checklist of skills, test-taking tips and information about the process, and a self-administered practice exam.
- The MECH Supervisor’s Implementation Guide is a stand-alone book intended for managers and team leaders who are preparing their employees for certification. It contains a more detailed skills checklist with training tips, sample curriculum, suggested training resources, information about on-site testing and a supervisor-administered practice exam.
Since its inception, thousands of mechanics have taken the test either at an American Society for Health Care Engineering-affiliate event or in their own facility. Today, hundreds of MECHs and Senior MECHs continue to maintain their certification by documenting their continuing education.
The MECH recertification program is unique in that many types of informal, on-the-job learning can qualify toward the required six hours per year of technical training. The Recertification Review Panel, made up of Senior MECHs from across the country, evaluates the education documented by recertification candidates and maintains high standards for excellence for MECHs and Senior MECHs.
Those high standards have not been lowered, although MECH recognizes the particularly difficult situation many health care mechanics have found themselves in since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
The Recertification Review Panel has extended grace periods and accepts different types of education in place of the usual seminars or webinars. Those who have suffered furloughs, department reshuffles or other impacts to their work are still invited to recertify with whatever educational experience they have, and the panel has worked to meet MECHs and Senior MECHs where they are as much as possible.
Additionally, MECH Certification has worked to smooth the testing process for those mechanics, technicians and engineers who have run into difficulties applying and arranging a certification test at their facility.
In today’s disrupted health care environment, MECH Certification continues to be an important tool for mechanics and their facility managers. Learn more by visiting its website.
Amy Urick is national coordinator for MECH. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.