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Essential skills profile

This profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skills is generally performed by most workers in this occupation. The levels of complexity estimated for each task are ranked between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced).

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Recreation Vehicle Service Technician(7384)

Recreation vehicle service technicians repair or replace electrical wiring, plumbing, propane gas lines, appliances, windows, doors, cabinets and structural frames in recreational vehicles. They are employed by dealers and independent service shops.

Reading Help - Reading
  • Skim labels to confirm how to use a product, for example, a glue. (1)
  • Scan instructions on decals on RV systems, for example, how to do a safety check on a furnace. (1)
  • Read service bulletins and technical update sheets from manufacturers. (2)
  • Read recall notices. (2)
  • Read memos from the Service Manager concerning vehicles which require work or supplies which are on order. (2)
  • Read faxes/notes from customers inquiring about parts/service or describing a problem. (2)
  • Read trouble shooting charts in a manual, for example for an air conditioning system, and the longer sections to which they refer. (3)
  • Read manuals when taking training on a new product. This can be a reading situation where a manufacturer's rep guides a group of Recreation Vehicle Service Technicians through the manual. (3)
  • Read a section of a manual to learn and explain to a customer how to operate a system. (3)
  • Read warranty information. (3)
  • Read manuals to learn how to repair new or unfamiliar systems, fittings or equipment, for example, read the explanation of how a particular slide-out system works. Manuals for different systems come from different manufacturers, e.g., refrigerator, furnace, slide-out. Styles and layouts of manuals and the levels of reading and document use vary. (4)
  • Locate and read sections of technical information sheets, to supplement visual information on how to install a particular furnace. Combine this with information from document use: assembly drawings, schematics, charts and other documents. Integrate this information with the shortcuts they know from experience. (4)
Document use Help - Document use
  • Read signs, posters, warnings and labels, such as Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) labels. (1)
  • Use part and model names and numbers on a chart to determine if a particular model has that part or feature. (1)
  • Write up a purchase order, for example, for plywood and 2x4 lumber to reconstruct a corner of a trailer. (1)
  • Use a check list while checking all the systems, for example, to make sure a rental unit is ready to go out again. (1)
  • Look at a work schedule or wall chart to see what work orders are assigned to them that day. (1)
  • Enter information about the problem, the cause and how it was repaired on a work order. Information must be concise yet complete enough to justify charges. (2)
  • Read work orders to establish what repairs need to be undertaken on a vehicle. Information includes type of vehicle, and may specify tasks related to diagnosis and repair, and estimates of parts and time to complete. The work order may simply direct Recreation Vehicle Service Technicians to another person for explanation and details. (2)
  • Read Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to establish the hazards associated with products such as propane. (2)
  • Look up the meaning of a term as used by the manufacturer of a particular appliance, in the glossary of a manual. (2)
  • Read and complete time sheets in tenths of an hour to record or track tasks done from a number of work orders. In a day, there may be 12 units to be checked and serviced/repaired on short turn around times. (2)
  • Read tables on chemical product directions before using a new product, such as a paint or glue. (2)
  • Read lists in supply catalogues. (2)
  • Make sketches, such as a floor layout, to show to a customer. (2)
  • Look at a sketch by service manager or owner to assess a problem and determine what to do. (2)
  • Use drawings, for example, to see how to connect a thermostat. (2)
  • Use a trouble shooting chart to diagnose a problem, for example, with a refrigerator. (2)
  • Make sketches of reconstruction projects, not to scale, with measurements and arrows showing where the components go. (3)
  • Refer to wiring schematic diagrams and assembly diagrams of, for example, awnings, hitches, slide-outs, furnaces, and electric steps. (3)
  • Read blueprints of the structural design of coaches to determine how to approach the installation of a new feature or how to adapt an existing one. (3)
  • May draw an interior of a van or trailer to scale to show how a new installation fits with various furnishings and pieces of equipment. (3)
Writing Help - Writing
  • Write reminder notes to co-workers regarding customer requests, deadlines or supplies. (1)
  • Write brief notes to service managers and/or customers to list repairs which should be carried out. (1)
  • Wite reminder notes about job details and tasks to complete. (1)
  • Fill in a parts log and a mileage log to keep track of service work done outside the shop. (1)
  • Enter information on work orders to record what tasks were completed. This is done to protect warranties and to show customers what was done and why. In some situations this writing is supplemented by oral communication. (2)
  • Write reasons for recommending a particular repair. (2)
  • Write notes to the service manager to make suggestions on how to improve a design or how to make a better repair. These notes may be several paragraphs long. (2)
  • Write notes to the service manager describing a repair and the time used, for the manager to use to write a warranty report or to explain and negotiate with the customer or the manufacturer. (3)
  • May write warranty reports. Careful explanation results in realistic warranty compensation. (4)
Numeracy Help - Numeracy Money Math
  • Take payment from customer: using credit card, cheques, cash. (1)
  • Make out bill, including hourly rate totals, parts prices, GST. (1)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Measure openings for, for example, refrigerators and stoves and measure lumber for building drawers. (1)
  • Weigh cylinders on a scale. (1)
  • Use a variety of meters and gauges such as multimeters which measure voltage, ohms and amperage and a manometer or U-tube which measures propane pressure and/or pressure drop. (2)
  • Measure the location and size of the openings before replacing a wall, roof or floor. (2)
  • Develop a materials-list for reconstruction of a section of a trailer from measurements of the existing section. (3)
Numerical Estimation
  • May estimate the square footage of the available floor area of a motorhome interior, with the Shop Foreman. (3)
  • Usually with the Service Manager or Service Writer, estimate how much time it will take to complete various jobs. Estimating involves determining the times for the many steps it takes to remove, for example, window coverings, frames, furniture or wall board to expose the area to be worked on and to replace everything after the repair or installation is made. For example, to strip and take apart an existing roof on a particular trailer may take 12 hours. Because many problems are hidden, more than one estimate may be needed, the first, for example to remove a wall as part of a diagnosis. These estimates are used by the Service Manager when preparing cost quotes to customers. (3)
Oral communication Help - Oral communication
  • Call suppliers to obtain information about products and deliveries. (1)
  • Explain features and demonstrate the operation of a system to its owner. For example, they may discover that an owner has caused damage to their vehicle through improper use such as not putting stabilizer jacks down for slideouts. They explain the problem, emphasizing the correct procedures to use. This communication is done with tact and respect for customer. (2)
  • Talk to other staff to clarify work orders and to stay up-to-date on interactions with supervisors and customers. (2)
  • Provide explanations of service to Service Managers. (3)
  • Communicate with customers to explain and to present repair options. Recreation Vehicle Service Technicians use oral communication skills along with their trade skills to establish credibility and a sense of respect and trust with customers. They may invite a customer in at different stages of the work to show and explain what needs to be done, before the customer gets an estimate. (3)
  • Instruct and direct the work and learning of apprentices in the shop, ensuring their understanding. (3)
  • Discuss with other Recreation Vehicle Service Technicians and the Service Manager a complex repair problem and the best way to approach it. (3)
  • Discuss difficult construction adaptations with factory technical support and engineers. This communication may be complex because of the abstract nature of the discussion, and because the discussion is usually over the telephone. Troubleshooting and diagnosing take several telephone calls, picking up where a conversation left off, or beginning again with another person. (4)
Thinking Help - Thinking Problem Solving
  • Assess a problem with the rear lights on a camper going on and off. They conduct tests to find and fix the problem within minutes. (1)
  • Deal with misinformation from the customer as part of the problem solving process and take it into consideration when looking for causes of a malfunction. They may go back to the customer for more information, for example, asking if the stabilizer jacks were in place at the appropriate time. (2)
  • Often, think beyond the work order and fill in, from their own knowledge and observations, the details of repairs or modifications. (2)
  • May find that a drill hole for an antenna has been drilled in the wrong place. They search manuals to check factory specifications for specific models. They then take action to repair the damage and to inform co-workers of the correct location. (2)
  • May find that a refrigerator is creating too much frost and the manufacturer is unable to identify the cause. They use trial and error diagnostics, such as moving or replacing the thermostat. For many jobs, there may be no manual references. (2)
  • Discover and correct errors in information systems and manuals. (2)
  • Determine how to replace a part that is no longer available by searching parts' books for comparable items, consulting suppliers, and as a last resort, designing a replacement piece. (3)
  • Look for problems when checking trade-ins. For example, they may go through a unit with a moisture meter, also using sense of sight and smell to locate rotting wood. To determine the actual area from which to remove panelling, etc. to search further (behind walls, above ceiling, below the floor) is a judgement call based on experience. (3)
  • Deal with unexpected problems. For example, if a furnace doesn't light, or when there are recurring electrical failures in a battery system, they carry out a troubleshooting sequence. They troubleshoot using a schematic, and a sequence in a manual and consult with co-workers and supervisors. (3)
  • May encounter difficulties when making customized changes to a motor home, for example, installing new awnings or building kitchen cabinets. They consult with co-workers and supervisors and check manuals and schematics to see how such features have been handled in other models. They then use their own judgement to determine what to do. (3)
  • Locate the source of a leak, where evidence of water is some distance from the source, for example, the water damage may be apparent at one end of a wall, but the leak could be at a window at the other end where there is no visible damage. (3)
  • They may sometimes conduct extensive problem solving on one unit over a period of weeks, for example, when testing and replacing a faulty wiring system in a motor home. (3)
Decision Making
  • Decide what tools and supplies are best for a specific job. (1)
  • Decide on the priority of tasks on a work order which may include over twenty items. (2)
  • Decide on the best location for installing new equipment in a motor home. (2)
  • Decide which tools, equipment and parts to take with them on service calls. This decision is important since lack of the appropriate resources at a remote location will lead to extra cost and wasted time. (2)
  • Decide how much time to spend on a diagnosis, or on sourcing a part, before consulting someone else. (2)
  • Decide the actual area from which to remove panelling, to search for damage such as wood rot. Deciding where to look, such as behind walls, above the ceiling or below the floor and how extensive the tear-down should be is a judgement call. (3)
  • Decide what repair or reconstruction to recommend for the most workable result, taking into account factors such as time and expense and ultimately, the safe operation of the recreation vehicle. (3)
Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.

Job Task Planning and Organizing

Own Job Planning and Organizing

Recreation Vehicle Service Technicians plan a day or so ahead, sometimes using a planning calendar to pencil in appointments and to block off jobs. Most of the time, they work through the work orders assigned to them in sequence and supplemented by oral instructions and discussion. Recreation Vehicle Service Technicians prioritize, deciding which jobs to complete if there is not enough time to complete the work that day. (2)

Planning and Organizing for Others

Once tasks have been assigned, Recreation Vehicle Service Technicians exercise autonomy in sequencing their tasks for the greatest efficiency. Their planning takes into account the amount of work to be accomplished on each unit. They are aware of the stripping or tearing down that must take place before something can be replaced or rebuilt. For example, to rebuild a floor, they need to clear the area, tasks which may extend to taking out front and side walls. They work out a materials' list and order materials, with the goal of having all the materials they need when they need them.

Recreation Vehicle Service Technicians need to co-ordinate tasks with co-workers to ensure that assistance is available for tasks which require more than one person to accomplish. Disruptions, such as urgent telephone calls, unanticipated customer visits, or rush jobs may occur, after which they return to their planned work schedule. (2)

Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember the unit number of a rental unit to be picked up.
  • Remember bolt sizes for particular installations.
  • Remember a sequence of tasks.
  • Remember customers' names and details of the vehicles they own and formerly owned.
  • Remember what parts and procedures were used to carry out repairs on specific motor homes, for example, a year earlier.
  • Remember specific difficulties which occurred when carrying out repairs and how they were resolved.
  • Remember details beyond the work order, e.g. more specifics about how the Service Manager or customer request a task be done.
Finding Information
  • Talk to Service Managers and office staff to clarify work schedules and work orders. (1)
  • Look in parts' catalogues for a replacement part. (1)
  • Call another dealer for information about a part, a system or a procedure on a particular model. (1)
  • Look up specific information about repair parts and process on a manufacturer's information sheet. In some shops, Recreation Vehicle Service Technicians organize these in binders at their work stations. (2)
  • Discuss with co-workers ways to diagnose a problem and decide on the best course of action. (2)
  • Take apart a section to learn more about a problem, e.g. the extent of water damage. (2)
  • Look up information about the operation and maintenance of a feature or system to explain to a customer. (2)
  • Look in parts' catalogues, phone other businesses and ask co-workers to find a part to replace one that is obsolete and to determine whether a new one is comparable. (3)
  • Refer to service manuals and schematics to find out how to diagnose a problem and, for example, to repair a refrigerator. (3)
  • Call manufacturers' technical support lines to obtain information on the use of new equipment. (3)
Digital technology Help - Digital technology
  • May use other computer applications. For example, they may use handheld computers to do diagnostic work - e.g., using a tester for refrigerators. (1)
  • They may have access to service and repair information through CD Rom. (1)
  • They may use point of sale computer programs. (2)
Additional information Help - Additional information Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Recreation Vehicle Service Technicians work as part of a team which includes other technicians, Service Managers, Salespersons, Partspersons , Shop Foremen, Cleanup Staff and, rarely, Mechanics. They usually work independently on the several tasks on the particular unit assigned to them. They co-ordinate tasks with others as necessary and sometimes work with a partner, for example, when blocking a trailer, installing insulation or stripping a roof. They may work alone on a (rare) service call.

Continuous Learning

Recreation Vehicle Service Technicians learn continuously through hands-on experiences with a range of repairs. They learn from co-workers as a first resource. They read service manuals, wiring diagrams and schematics sent by manufacturers. They read updates sent on a regular basis. They participate in training courses provided by manufacturers and suppliers. These courses provide them the opportunity to network with personnel from factories, trailer companies and, generator and hitch suppliers. The cost of such courses is often shared between the training course provider and the company.

Recreation Vehicle Service Technicians also learn from videos sent from manufacturers, and also learn from their customers who can give the history of repairs and modifications, what worked and what didn't.

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