April is National Home Inventory Month: Find out more
27 Jul 2016

Creating an Online Self-directed Course

OnlineLearningWhen we announce that a new course is being created for our continuing education program, we state “coming soon” because we aren’t exactly sure of the release date.  Members have asked what the process is (why it takes so long) to develop a course and make it available. Simply put, they wonder why we can’t give a specific date.

There are many steps, and people, involved when developing an online, self-directed course and exams.

We thought you might be interested in learning the steps taken to ensure quality material, as well as ensuring that it is a smooth process when you take a course in the continuing education program:

  1. A person who has experience and credentials in the subject area is chosen to write the content.
  2. A conversation assures that they have the time to devote to this project and can meet the deadline. Other topics discussed are 1)  the educational goal of the course, 2) the desired length of the course, and 3) general topics to cover.
  3. Once the course and the exam questions are written, a minimum of two copy editors and/or education professionals review, edit, and proofread the content.
  4. Any suggested content changes are submitted to the creator of the course to ensure that the edits do not alter the intent of the subject matter.
  5. Upon approval of the edits, the course is returned to the NICA office for one last proofreading.
  6. The course content, questions, and answers are entered into the online software.
  7. The NICA webmaster is notified that the course it ready to be integrated into the website, and our work order is placed into their queue. They integrate the courseware into the website by connecting the links and completing the other technical steps required for the online purchasing and testing to work seamlessly.
  8. When notified that this is completed, the final step is for the webmaster and a member of the NICA staff to take the course and exam. This is to help ensure there are no glitches when the course is released.

As you can see, there are a lot of steps and time involved when developing a course and making it available for easy, online access. This process is to verify that members and non-members alike will have an issue-free experience when you take the courses of your choice. Though this is a long process, with many details to be addressed, we have chosen to take every step possible to ensure a smooth experience for our members and others interested in taking the courses.

01 Jun 2016

Customer Service & Education Survey Results

Time for FeedbackWe thank all who responded to the short, 3-question survey. The results are tabulated, and we are happy to provide the feedback we received. Following are the questions and the answers you provided.

Are you a member of NICA?
71% of respondents stated they are members and 29% are not members of NICA. We appreciate that even those who have not chosen to join the association and seek certification are showing an interest in the industry.

If you contacted NICA via phone or email, how was your issue handled?
Customer satisfaction is extremely important to us, as we seek to serve the industry with quality and friendly service. Those who have contacted our office either by phone or email gave a 100% approval rating! We are proud of this, and will continue to strive to keep this as the normal way to do business.

Please describe the courses and certification exam.
The majority agree that the online, self-directed courses and the certification exam are neither too difficult nor too easy. One respondent felt it was too easy.

We were pleased to learn that you are happy with the “good mix of topics.” An area we need to address is offering more topics, as 29% indicated this need. Our goal is to introduce at least 2 new course per year, and the Project Management course will certainly cover a new learning opportunity.

Some of the course requests are:

  • Basic bookkeeping and accounting specific to the home inventory industry
  • Loss inventories
  • What you need to know and how to get started
  • Collections inventories

We will most likely include this question in an upcoming survey so we can learn the preferred topics by the majority of our certified an non-certified industry professionals.

One of these suggested courses (Collections Inventories) has already been pitched to an industry professional. We will take the other suggestions under advisement as we begin our planning for the final quarter of 2016 and first half of 2017.

05 Nov 2014

Inventory 101 Course Added to Curriculum

ContinuingEdMeeting the needs of the improved Certification process, two industry-related, foundation courses have been developed for the National Inventory Certification Association’s Continuing Education Program. These were designed to establish the industry standards under which industry professionals conduct business, and to provide an overview of the entire inventory industry. The Code of Ethics course was the first developed and offered for members and non-members alike. The second required foundation course, Inventory 101, was recently added to the curriculum. All courses are presented in an online, self-paced format.


The Inventory 101 course description follows:

More commonly known than personal property inventories, the manufacturing and retail industries have been documenting and tracking their assets for a much longer period of time.

At one time, a shopkeeper could keep track of his merchandise in his head. Craftsmen knew what raw materials they needed, and how much they had used. The industrial revolution altered the business world, requiring more sophisticated and systemized inventory tracking.

Small retail store owners were often able to function with a best guess, believing that they could get along just fine with a general idea of what they had in stock. As stores became larger, and a wider variety of products were made available to their customers, the shop-keepers soon noticed the benefits realized by large corporations’ asset tracking and followed suit.

Personal property inventory is fairly new compared to retail and manufacturing, but the financial and emotional benefits are being realized. Though there is still plenty of need for educating policyholders of the importance of this documentation, great strides are being made.

People have learned, usually too late, that an itemized list is required to file an insurance claim to help assist with an equitable insurance settlement. Insurance agents recommend an inventory to their residential and commercial policyholders. There are a plethora of apps, software products, books, and paper forms encouraging homeowners and business owners alike to complete their home and company inventories. Yet even with all of this knowledge and recent technology, many businesses and homes still lack this important documentation.

As the general public continues to learn of the need to protect what they own, they are seeking professional service providers to complete the task for them. The reality of the value for manufacturing and retail companies to track their assets is now transferring over to the personal property inventory industry as well. Having a complete record of contents and the associated values, whether for a company or an individual, is a must for the many life events when this information is required.

CEUs: 2

Module 1 – Introduction to the Inventory Industry

  • An Overview of the Industry
  • Determine Your Role
  • Insurance
  • Business Bond
  • License
  • Certification

Module 2 – Inventory Sectors

  • Manufacturing
  • Retail
  • Personal Property (Contents)

Module 3 – Personal Property Inventory Niche Markets

  • Residential Inventories
  • Small and Medium Business Inventories
  • Related Inventory Categories
  • Benefits of a Third Party Inventory
02 Jul 2014

Membership Not Required

notmemberExclusive. Private. Restrictive. Closed. Exclusionary. Thanks to my Thesaurus, these terms are everything our Continuing Professional Education courses are not.

Though we are a membership organization, our Continuing Professional Education courses are available for anyone who chooses to learn about home and business inventories.  You might be someone ready to start a home inventory business and need some guidance on getting started. Possibly you have already started your business and want to learn more. Even a seasoned asset inventory professional recently told me, “Though I’ve been in business for quite a while now, even I learned a few things that were certainly worth the cost of the course.”

Online self-paced courses

The two courses currently available are Residential Contents Inventory and Business Contents Inventory. Both cover the foundation of the asset inventory industry, specific to residential and business processes. Insurance and a business code of ethics is also included. To accommodate your busy schedule, all courses are online and self-paced.

Association membership

As the title of this blog post states, you are not required to be a member of the National Inventory Certification Association to take these courses.  The reason for this “open” format is that we as an association choose to serve the entire industry, not just our membership. Non-members are always welcome to benefit from the education these courses provide.

I would be remiss, however, to  not mention that NICA members receive a great benefit – a 50% discount off the cost of all Continuing Professional education courses.


Our newsletter is also offered to anyone who is interested in learning about the home inventory industry or would like to learn more about the National Inventory Certification Association as we grow, evolve, and continue to find ways to serve the asset inventory industry. Click here if you would like to receive our newsletters.