National Inventory Certification Association – Education and certification for industry professionals
25 Jan 2017

Appraisal Examiner Course

Professional DevelopmentThe National Inventory Certification Association has recently released the course, Appraisal Examiner. This is the foundation course for the Appraisal Examiner Certification Program (CAE). 

To enable our members and other personal property inventory professionals to achieve their desired education for this industry, this course and all courses provided by NICA, are online and self-directed. This allows the participants to complete their courses all in one sitting or take one module at a time, depending on their time constraints. Associate Member Ray Nugent of Nugent Appraisal Services, co-wrote this Continuing Education course.

When completing an inventory service for residential and commercial clients, the home inventory professional is often asked if they know the value of items, or if they can refer a professional appraiser. Developing a working relationship between appraisers and inventory service providers will help both professionals serve the other.

This course presents the many benefits for a personal property inventory professional to become an appraisal examiner, the examiner’s responsibilities, and appraisal industry terms. Also included are the specifics required by appraisers to enable them to complete a thorough appraisal of each item.

The participant will also learn how to market their examiner service directly to the client and to a variety of professionals who could become referral sources for a continued revenue stream.

Module 1: Why Become An Appraisal Examiner

  • Reasons for Appraisals
  • Value Added Service
  • Additional Revenue Stream

Module 2: Understanding Your Role As An Examiner

  • Terms
  • Remote Appraisals
  • The Examiner’s Responsibilities

Module 3:  Processes Of The Examiner

  • Documenting the Items
  • Descriptions and Images
  • Information Delivery

Module 4:  Marketing Your Examiner Service

  • Direct Marketing
  • Referral Sources

The information that the home inventory professional will be required to collect when serving as an appraisal examiner is provided in great detail in this course. Once you complete the course, you will have ongoing access to this information so you can review and reference the material as necessary.

To register for this course, visit the Professional Development page of the NICA website.

04 Jan 2017

Collections Inventory Course Authored by Home Inventory Professional

NICA member authored a course for the National Inventory Certification Association’s Continuing Education Program.

HoekwaterThe National Inventory Certification Association (NICA) recently released an online, self-directed course, titled Collections Inventory. Extending the Continuing Education Program curriculum, this course was written by Tricia Hoekwater, Certified member of NICA and owner of Uniquely Yours Digital Solutions.

The association seeks to provide continuing education for members and others in the industry. The growing trend of having valuables and collectibles documented encouraged the creation of the Collections Inventory course. Often business and residential clients are not seeking an inventory of all their assets, but want to have an itemized inventory of their collectibles, such as figurines, stamps, weapons, artwork, books, sports memorabilia, etc. Others who choose to hire a home inventory professional to document all the belongings in their home also want the collectibles documented item-by-item, which is a more specialized service.

Collections Inventory Course

Cindy Hartman, Managing Director of NICA, stated, “Tricia is a member of the association and has extensive experience in providing itemized inventories for client’s collectibles. I was pleased when she agreed to share her experience and knowledge with the entire industry by authoring this course.” Topics include the purposes for collections inventories, examples of how to document specific types of collectibles, process strategies, and how to market a collections inventory service. Creating a collections inventory can be overwhelming. This course breaks it down into manageable steps to ensure a quality result for the client.

Hoekwater views her membership in NICA as an opportunity to serve the asset inventory industry. She explained, “I always strive to provide the best service to my clients, which is why I became a Certified Inventory Specialist. NICA is a resource for continued learning, which has helped me grow professionally and financially. Writing this course gave me the opportunity to help fellow home inventory professionals pursue this specialty.”  

In addition to providing comprehensive home inventory, collections inventory, decluttering, photo archiving, and paper management services, Tricia speaks to senior and community groups on the topics of Home Inventory, DeCluttering, Digital Legacy, and Digital Photo Libraries. For more information, call 925.206.0103 or visit Uniquely Yours Digital Solutions.

Click on this link to purchase the online, self-directed Collections Inventory course, which is available on the NICA website.

23 Nov 2016

Collections Inventory Course Now Available

ceuA course on Collections Inventory was the most requested topic in our survey about continuing education topics. With your needs in mind, we are pleased to announce that the National Inventory Certification Association (NICA) has recently released the Collections Inventory course. For your convenience, it is an online, self-directed course to enable you to fit it into your busy schedule.

Our member and Certified Inventory Professional Tricia Hoekwater of Uniquely Yours Digital Solutions, is the author of this very detailed instructional online, self-directed course. Tricia has found collections inventories to be a niche that she enjoys and has been quite successful in this market. Therefore, we couldn’t think of anyone who would be a better fit to provide her expertise on this topic. We have great appreciation for her willingness to share her knowledge with fellow members.

In addition to learning the inventory processes and procedures to thoroughly document collections, this course also includes information regarding how to market a collectibles inventory service, creating additional business through “upselling” this service, the tools and materials you’ll need, and how to price your collections inventory service.

The Collections Inventory course includes three Modules, as noted here:

Module 1 – Introduction to Collections Inventory Services

  • What Is A Collections Inventory?
  • Insurance
  • The Difference Between Home Inventory and Collections Inventory
  • Purposes For Collections Inventories

Module 2 – Process Strategies

  • Proper Documentation, Storage, and Updates
  • Develop Your Strategy
  • Appraisals
  • Challenges You Might Face
  • Materials and Tools

Module 3 – Monitoring and Identifying Success

  • Marketing Your Service
  • Partnerships and Alliances
  • Pricing Options
  • Attention to Detail

Upon successful completion of the Collections Inventory course, you will receive 3 CEUs that can be applied towards the required 5 CEUs per year to retain your CIS designation.

17 Aug 2016

We Asked; You Answered

SurveyOver the past few ,months, we asked you to take surveys, telling us what you think. We truly appreciate all of you who took the time to respond.

We kept the questions, and the number of questions, to a minimum, respecting your time. Knowing that everyone is busy, we truly do appreciate your responses. By giving us your preferences, you are enabling us to serve you in the manner you choose.

Survey categories

The three categories that were included were 1) member benefits, 2) continuing education courses, and 3) customer service. We discovered:

  • what benefits you find most important, so we can continue to focus on those first
  • what courses you want to see added to the curriculum, and one is already contracted
  • that we are very responsive to your calls and emails, and we commit to continuing to retain that level of assisting you.

That’s a lot of information!

You helped create the vision

We now have a vision for the remainder of 2016 and for 2017. We will use your survey results to guide us as we make these decisions of what to work on first, and what should be tabled for later.

We offer each of you a BIG thank you for your participation!

03 Aug 2016

Curriculum Survey Results

BooksThe final survey is now closed, and we’re already making plans based on the results of the Curriculum Survey results. We believe that education is the most important area to place our focus, and is really the foundation of why NICA was developed.

Based on one of the surveys, you believe that continuing education is the most important function that we provide.

The Curriculum Survey will guide us as we plan for upcoming courses. As you know, Project Management was recently released. Due to your responses, the course that received the most votes has already been contracted to be released early-mid 4th quarter; that course is Collections Inventories. The full results are below:

Industry-related courses ranked by number of votes

  • Collections inventories was the only course that received a 100%. That means every person who responded to the survey chose this course.
  • Next in line is Insurance Basics for the Inventory Professional.
  • We had a tie for third place, shared by Basic Bookkeeping for a Home Inventory Business, Understanding the Difference between Public Adjusters and Insurance Adjusters
  • Loss Inventories was ranked next on the list.
  • Another tie for the final three courses are Commercial Inventories, How to Start a Home Inventory Business, and Quoting and Establishing Price Points.

Non-industry-related courses ranked by number of votes

This category did not receive near the number of votes as industry-related courses accumulated. To report the results, though, we list them below, in order of preference.

  1. Sales Techniques
  2. Establishing and Sticking to a Budget
  3. Branding and Creating a Busiiness Image
  4. Developing Marketing Campaigns

The results showed an overwhelming preference for industry-related curriculum, so this is where we will focus our continuing education courses for 2017.

Again, we thank you for your time and responses.

13 Jul 2016

Renewing Your Designation

RenewalWe have just a little more than 5 months remaining in 2016. Therefore, we wanted to remind everyone who became certified prior to this year that it’s not too early to begin working on the 5 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) required annually to maintain your Certified Inventory Specialist (CIS) designation. Continued education is a key element of professionalism, and our recent surveys have shown that this is a highly valued component of being an inventory provider.

Course Choices

We have developed courses related to our industry, as well as general topics appropriate for any small business owner. Some of these are Customer Service, Time Management, Social Media, and of course, our newest, Project Management. For the full list of all available courses, and to get started on earning your CEUs, click here.

Members receive a 50% discount off all courses and the certification exam. If you don’t remember your code, please contact the NICA office and we’ll be happy to send it to you. We are including a chart that shows how you can achieve your 5 CEUs. It is also on the Professional Development page of the website.

5CEU

Earning non-NICA Continuing Education Units

If you have participated in synergistic industry webinars, seminars, or courses (insurance, appraisals, adjusters, etc.), or general business education, these may qualify toward your CEU requirement. Send the information to nica@nationalinventorycertificationassociation.com. The committee will review the material and let you know if it can apply to your 5 CEU requirement.

If you have any questions about a specific course, feel free to contact the NICA office.

22 Jun 2016

Curriculum Survey

SurveyWe are so appreciative to all members and also professionals in the industry who are not members for responding to our surveys. Your input is very important to us. The board will review all the tabulated results and will use this information for our 2017 planning session. Knowing what you want from your industry education association will help us provide more of what you want, and less of what is not of as much importance.

This Curriculum Survey will be the final survey for quite a while. We’ve accumulated enough information to move forward with your preferences in mind. We thank you for giving us your opinion in the previous surveys, and thank you in advance for taking the time to give us your input once again.

Curriculum includes a good mix of topics

The April survey informed us that you are happy with the mix of topics we offer. And now that we have achieved a good balance of industry- and non-industry-related courses, we will continue to strive to provide two new courses per year. To meet your needs, we want to know your interests. Growing our curriculum is essential so you can maintain your CIS designation. We want to ensure that we provide topics of interest so you can meet the 5 CEU annual requirement of continuing education.

Project Management was our first course released this year, responding to this request in the 2015 survey, two additional courses are currently in the initial planning stage, both also suggested in the 2015 survey.

Curriculum survey will help determine future courses

Your responses to this Curriculum Survey will help us plan future courses. Here is the link to the Curriculum Survey. It should take only about a minute of your time. Results will be reported in our July newsletter and also here on the website.

28 Oct 2015

Top 8 Questions About Certification

ceuWe have compiled the most common questions received since streamlining the certification process. This change was in response to feedback from members. One common issue that was shared with us was that having the membership renewal and the certification renewal dates being different cause confusion. Also, needing to remember what year their certification was to be renewed was a third date to remember. Major changes included certification renewal to be per calendar year (previously every other year). Feedback has been great, as it’s easier now for members to track CEU achievements, based on the calendar rather than what month they received certification. And since it is an annual renewal, they no longer need to remember in what year their continuing education credits must be met.

Of course, change brings more questions, so we are sharing the top 8 questions we’ve received in the NICA office concerning Certification.

  1. What is the CEU requirement to retain designation? Only 5 CEUs, earned annually, will keep your CIS certification current.
  2. How often and when do I renew my CIS designation? The new, more streamlined certification renewal is on a calendar year basis, making it much easier for everyone to remember and track the required CEUs. Upon completion of the 5 CEUs each calendar year, send an email to NICA@NationalInventoryCertificationAssociation.com, listing your 5 CEUs and where you achieved them (topic, organization, and # of CEUs received for each).
  3. Please use the subject line “5 CEUs for 20xx” and include the calendar year.
  4. Can I use other CEU courses towards this requirement or must I take only those offered by NICA? There are a number of ways you can accumulate the CEUs. Of course, NICA courses are faster and easier for you because we record them for you. You can also achieve CEUs by taking the webinars offered by the Inventory Institute. Another option is to take CEU-assigned courses, webinars, workshops, and seminars offered by ancillary industries (insurance, financial, adjusters, etc.). Other webinars and seminars will be considered, depending on the topic (small business planning, project management, financials, etc.), and must be reviewed by our committee before granting the CEUs. This number will be dependent on the number of CEUs or contact hours assigned by the organization providing the education. There are other activities that can enable you to earn CEUs, such as writing a course for NICA, participating in the National Preparathon, and others.
  5. How do I know the number of CEUs awarded to each NICA course I take? The CEUs are listed with each course description on the website.
  6. Are the webinars I attend with the Inventory Institute automatically added to my NICA profile? Since we are separate companies, we don’t have access to their records. Nor to we have access to other entities’ records from where you might receive CEUs. The best way to keep track of these is to create a document and list the date and how each CEU is being earned.
  7. Where do I find the complete list of CEU-earning options? Please consult the chart on the NICA website, or call the NICA office for specifics to receive approval prior to attending.
  8. How do I prove I participated in theNational Preparathon so I can receive the CEUs? Copy the form you completed, submit a link to your social media account and provide a few samples of your posts, or submit a document that verifies an event you sponsored or participated in.

Though we strive to have a comprehensive website, we know that all specific questions cannot be answered. If you have a topic that is not covered, please contact the NICA office via email or telephone. We are here to provide information for members and non-members of this industry.

14 Oct 2015

Networking For Business Course Now Available

ContinuingEdIn our continued effort to grow the course options, we are pleased to add the course Networking for Business to the Continuing Professional Education Program. Written with the home inventory service professional in mind, it is also general enough that all business owners and company representatives will benefit from this information.

Networking is not about selling, but about building relationships. These relationships, then, will in time result in sales or referrals for sales. All too often people enter a networking meeting, hand out business cards to as many people as they can, grab some food, and then leave. These are also the people who are saying that networking doesn’t work, they never get a sale at a networking event, and that it is a waste of time.

In actuality, people do business with people they know and trust. Trust takes time.  Approach networking events without expectations of walking away with a new client. Instead, attend these meetings with the goal of reconnecting with those you already know, and meeting a few people you don’t know.

With social media so popular today, many believe they can do all of their networking online. No matter how many friends and followers you have on your various social media sites, it is still essential to participate and contribute to face-to-face networking. Nothing can replace a live, in-person conversation. It is impossible to stay in your office, spending hours on social media, and expect to develop solid business relationships.

The most successful networking approach is a combination of social media and in-person events. Your plan should include a balance of your time for both online and offline networking.

Though many groan about the need to attend live events, this course will give you the guidance and knowledge necessary to network with purpose. Topics covered are the three phases of networking: preparing prior to attending the event, tips to achieve the most benefit while in attendance at an event, and what steps to take afterward to help ensure your time was not wasted.

Module 1: Prepare for Networking Success

  • Face-to-face networking
  • How to choose the right events
  • Prepare for the event

Module 2: Attending Networking Events

  • Have a plan
  • Techniques to work the room
  • Be a conversationalist

Module 3: After the Event

  • Review your results
  • Follow up
  • Building the relationships
  • Evaluate

This online, self-directed course provides 2 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to be applied toward certification or annual CIS designation renewal.

19 Aug 2015

Simplifying Certification Renewal

TimetoRenewIn our continued effort to improve the certification program, we found that there were a couple areas where our members were confused regarding renewal requirements. Many were unsure of the term that their CIS designation was up to date. Some were asking how many years their designation was current and on what date it was based. The questions was, is it based on the date when the designation was earned or on their membership date. Not being clear about this left them unsure when they needed to renew and by what date they needed to complete the required continuing education to maintain their designation with the National Inventory Certification Association.

In addition, the required 12 CEUs every 2 years to retain designation as a CIS was also reviewed. Our research and discussions with our members and members of other associations have encouraged the following improvements:

  • The 12 CEUs every 2 years easily translates to 6 per year. This number has been changed to a requirement of only 5 per year.
  • The renewal of designation will now be annually instead of every 2 years, making it easier for everyone to remember and document their CEUs.
  • Renewal CEUs will be based on the calendar year beginning the year after certification is achieved. Again, simplicity was the driving force on this decision. Therefore, if you achieved your certification in 2014, you have until the end of 2015 to renew. If you achieved your certification in 2015, then you will have the entire calendar year of 2016 to acquire the 5 CEUs to retain your designation.

There is no exam or cost associated with recording the renewal of your certification. The purpose of recording the renewal is to verify your participation in the continuing education program which helps you gain knowledge in the industry specifically, or business in general.

This process is simple! We will verify the CEUs you achieved through the NICA courses by reviewing your membership file, as this information is retained in your membership file. No effort on your part is required! If you achieved CEUs through the Inventory Institute or other accepted resources, an email confirming your 5 hours is all we need. Again – we chose a process that will be easy to manage for our office, and even easier for you! CEU opportunities that are available to renew your certification are listed on the NICA website.

These improvements take effect immediately, and everyone will be grandfathered into the new process. If you have any questions regarding your certification, or if this causes a hardship on you, please contact the NICA office to discuss your situation. We initiated these improvements in an effort to serve you better and we will work with you individually during this transition.