Suppose you have taken a job that requires you to become qualified as a breath alcohol technician, or you simply want to make extra money with a side hustle. Either way, it’s essential to know that the DOT rules don’t require a breath alcohol technician to be “certified.” The DOT refers to it as qualification training, but many companies offer certificates upon completion. Here are the crucial training requirements you need to know to become qualified for DOT breath alcohol testing:
1. Complete a Qualification Training Program
The DOT doesn’t offer BAT training or a list of training programs. Organizations can conduct their own training or use a professional training service. When you search for courses on breath alcohol test certification, the class shouldn’t be self-taught. The instructor must follow the DOT model training course or an equivalent. To ensure compliance and prepare you to handle all types of alcohol testing situations, the instructor should cover the following:
- All BAT rules and regulations, including DOT Part 40 alcohol testing procedures
- Hands-on device training: You should master the specific device with a qualified instructor to pass the proficiency demonstration on that device later
- Your responsibility for maintaining the testing process and privacy and avoiding inappropriate or offensive statements or conduct
The course must have some method to ensure you’ve learned the information, so you will typically have a written exam or something similar. Afterward, you will move on to the mock tests.
2. Pass a Monitored Proficiency Demonstration
You must complete the training program first before moving on to the proficiency demonstration. The demonstration must include seven consecutive error-free mock tests. The monitor for this portion doesn’t have to be your instructor for your course, but they do need to hold the same qualifications. You will have an actor filling in as the donor, or your monitor will provide the sample so that you can perform the actions in real time for observation. The monitor will determine the scenarios for each test, but you need to demonstrate the following:
- You are able to respond to the device’s displays, messages, and commands.
- You can identify the procedures to perform an external calibration check on the device if applicable and when it would be required.
- Correctly identify and explain the actions you must take if the device doesn’t function properly.
- Take the correct action when a malfunction or error message on the device occurs.
- Conduct an air blank or demonstrate that you can tell it’s done.
You can use a checklist if the list was part of your training, and you will use it in your real-life tests. The monitor must attest in writing that your mock trials were error-free. You must complete step two within a 30-day window of completing step one to be a qualified BAT. Once you complete both, most trainers or organizations will issue a certificate proving your successful completion. Ensure you keep this documentation to prove your BAT qualification if needed. Only individuals can become qualified BATs, not collection sites, so your qualification will go with you for five years even if you leave the organization that trained you.
3. Breath Alcohol Technician Training Refresher
Once qualified, you must go through a refresher training course every five years to remain eligible to conduct DOT breath alcohol tests. You should use the same training class or find one equivalent to your initial training. You will be required to cover the content and proficiency demonstration again. The DOT expects you to stay current with any changes to their regulations and not wait for updates during your refresher training. You can subscribe here to receive all updates.
Error Correction Training
A fatal flaw is an uncorrectable error, leading to the cancellation of the alcohol test. If this happens, it’s like the test never occurred. For example, one fatal flaw when conducting a screening test on an Evidential Breath Test (EBT) is when the sequential test number or alcohol concentration displayed doesn’t match that on the printed result. If you commit a fatal flaw, you must undergo error correction training within 30 days of the notification of the error. This will include three mock breath alcohol tests. One will be straightforward, while the other two are on the fatal flaw.
Specific individuals are qualified in the eyes of the DOT to be breath alcohol technicians (BATs) without the BAT training courses. These people may be law enforcement officers already certified by either local or state governments to conduct the testing. However, they must be trained on the alcohol screening or evidential breath testing devices to be accepted by the DOT.
Becoming a BAT is relatively straightforward and is easy to maintain. If you are considering becoming qualified, keep in mind there is a separate qualification for alcohol screening test technicians similar to BAT training. You may qualify in either or both collection methods, but you must only administer the DOT tests you qualified in. Courses can be in person, virtual, or online, so you can enroll in the most convenient for you today.