In the world of repair, there is no licensing process. Any person can nail a sign to his or her door and start to work on instruments. There are schools for repair and apprectice programs but there is not a standard for every repair technician in the United States. Therefore it is up to you, the customer, to be aware of the skills that your tech possesses.
Thankfully, for us (the technicians) and for you too, there is a professional association that offers many opportunities for development. The National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians (commonly referred to as NAPBIRT) is an excellent resource for technicians to learn new techniques and to share knowledge about repair. NAPBIRT does not certify technicians and they are not a union and therefore do not set pricing standards. They are however an extremely helpful organization that provides many opportunities for professional development.
North Georgia Band had the opportunity last weekend to attend a NAPBIRT Regional Clinic hosted at KHS America (known to you all as Jupiter Band Instruments/XO/Altus Flutes (Azumi)/Majestic Percussion/Mapex Drums). Michael attended classes on key polishing, shop organization, and business practices. Keren was able to take a few classes from Joe Butkevicius, the Supervisor of Quality Control and flute product specialist, on padding techniques, best flute repair practices, and tools of the trade. In addition to the classes, we were able to tour the facility. They have a very large warehouse in a new facility just outside of Nashville, TN. We had a wonderful time and are thankful that we were able to attend.
The knowledge that we gained from this clinic will only help us to make your repairs better and better. We are always striving to work on our craft. When you are seeking out a repair technician, no matter where you are, make sure you find someone that is seeking to attain the highest skills in the trade and holds their work to the highest standards.