I about spit out my drink when I called one of our competitors and they told me online courses are a piece of crap. As the founding owner of SI Certs (of course, they didn’t know that), and have spent 6 years (at time of this writing) developing what I consider to be the most relevant, easiest, user friendly approach to preparing for and passing ICC’s Special Inspection certification tests. SI Certs has a team on board consisting of developers, consulting engineers, testing and inspection department managers, and master inspectors who all contribute to making SI Certs’ ICC study courses powerful training and test prep resources.
I called to ask this particular company for information about purchasing one of their certification building inspector courses that SI Certs did not offer (at time of writing). The sales person told me about the organization and then the conversation steered toward online courses. He emphatically said, “They are worthless.” He didn’t name a specific online course, but I could tell he was referring to SI Certs because he named the price of our Reinforced Concrete Course at the time.
Then he said, “You get what you pay for with these courses.”
Responding to Criticism
You certainly do, but sometimes it’s even worse. It’s easy for our competitors to bash SI Certs because they charge much more for a similar product (that is, the claim that their study material will prepare you to pass the test), but we have never been ashamed about the price of our course. We value our training at $599, which is still competitive. But we can keep the price down because the course is completely online, and we sell it for less.
There are benefits to courses taught in brick-and-mortar training environments. Personal one-on-one tutors, for example, can make the higher cost worthwhile. The courses may have good teaching methods and reliable resources. We know of a few training options out there, such as Larsen Inspection Training and Advance Contractor and Inspector Training Center in California, which are both built upon a brick-and-mortar training approach.
However, if you don’t have access to one of these courses, SI Certs gives you the option of learning from the comfort of your home. You can log in at any time day or night and go through the material at your own pace.
Also, if you want to save a lot of money, our course is much cheaper than our competitors.
The sales person I talked to said he’s had students complain about online courses, but we rarely hear any complaints. Over 98% of our customers are satisfied with our product. As we continue to refine our courses and add more of them, we find they are an even greater resource to our users. Check out our user reviews from just some of the inspectors who have taken our course and passed the exam.
Our competitors may tell you to stay away from online courses, but a few of them offer a mailed home study guide version of their brick-and-mortar course. What’s the difference in taking it online, other than the interactivity and convenience that is possible with your web browser? It’s a more current approach in today’s online learning marketplace.
The Advantages of SI Certs
We’ve engaged in online education so we understand the frustrations associated with this medium. Still, online education has made a big impact in the 21st century. If done right, it can be extremely effective, convenient, and even superior to traditional classroom methods. For many people, it becomes the best choice because it helps one juggle life’s demands of work and family commitments.
Anyone can post information online or mail out a study guide created on a Word doc. But it takes careful thought, intentional planning, and knowledge of designing curricula to create a course that is truly educational (not a cheater document). Our courses account for different learning styles. They cover the concepts and interpretations of the code, teach you how to read the structural plans, and teach you the structural discipline. This includes explaining engineering concepts when necessary.
The way the information is delivered is very important. Along with our written instruction, we provide audio commentary and explanation throughout the course. Also, there are many photos and custom illustrations to help you understand the information.
If you have questions, you can email orcall us and we’ll reply back with an answer. We also have a built-in chat interface right within our website. Simply create a free account on our site! We'll log you in after you create the account. Then, click the bottom right chat button and start chatting with us.
The Infamous Plan Reading
SI Certs teaches plan reading by showing you how plans are organized, how to navigate them, and where to find information. You will see actual portions of plans in your web browser along with commentary to help you understand them. This method has proven to be successful for many people but we knew it could be improved. Therefore, we created a physical set of plans to mail to our customers. We call it our SI Certs Training Plan Set.
These plans will help you pass the test because they contain specific strategies aimed at preparing you to understand the plans on test day. You’ll gain experience navigating through these plans as you flip back and forth between pages, sections, floor details, and general notes. We’ve added helpful notes and cross-referencing teaching guides right on the plans to speed up the learning process.
Each plan sheet page also contains audio links that are played right from the course. The audio guides enhance the blueprint reading process by providing additional teaching tips and plan reading techniques. You’ll learn how to think about plans, and learn how to perform complex navigation routes necessary for the plans part of the exam.
Also, we have a plans practice test online for you to answer about the plans, similar to what you will experience on the test. These questions are designed remove any confusion you may have about preparing for the test plans. This resource will lower your test anxiety and make you more confident to pass the plan reading portion of the test.
Our Training Plan Sets are shipped for free with the purchase of an ICC course.