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Unread 09-20-2021, 05:12 PM   #1
Lou_MA
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Tile certification pros / cons

In a thread on the advice board CX had posted

Quote:
I fear the industry's "certification" program has turned out to be a bit less than anticipated and advertised, but that's a separate discussion.
CX and anyone else - I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on this...
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Unread 09-20-2021, 10:44 PM   #2
Tool Guy - Kg
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I am not talking about mosaic artists…or any other artists in this industry when I say this: Installing tile is a skill, not a talent…anyone can do it. I think education is the nucleus.

The Ceramic Tile Educational Foundation used to be focused on education. There’s nothing wrong with their testing/certification. In fact, I applaud anyone who pursues an avenue to elevate themselves in the industry. But about a decade ago, education at the CTEF took a serious backseat to their certification program. IMHO, we need far more education in this industry than we do certification.
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Unread 09-21-2021, 02:10 PM   #3
Just In Tile LLC
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I'd agree on education over certification, of course not having intimate knowledge of the certification process I speak as an outsider.

I have no desire to prove a skill-set within a time limit, oddly though I'd gladly take a written test on anything tile related...even if it was timed. I do see the need to practically show what is written, so you don't have a bunch of keyboard warriors quoting lines of code without a context of what actual job sites are like to most people.

Hardest part about tile really isn't tile itself, it's running the business of tile in the realities of making money, not burning out or destroying our bodies, salesmanship to your potential clients.

Again this comes from a small town tile guy, who is higher than everybody because I don't backer-board often and if I do I waterproof it...which means every contractor I've ever worked for had no clue backboard wasn't waterproof. So take what I've said from my limited perspective.
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Unread 10-05-2021, 06:52 PM   #4
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I thought there’d be more opinions out there. Anyone else?
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Unread 10-05-2021, 07:43 PM   #5
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The way I see it, until bad tile installations become life and death situations like say, electrical, plumbing, NATURAL GAS! then any meaningful certification required just won't happen. Our field is mostly word of mouth driven. No one has ever asked me for any cert credentials.

On the other hand, someone who wants to get educated in every aspect of the trade should do just that. Know how can translate into more $$, but the line pretty much stops there I think.

I specialize in one type of installation, glass mosaics in pools. If I was still doing tile and stone I probably would have somewhere down the line gone to CTEF, learned how to's with sheet membrane, etc etc etc.....

I have to disagree with you a little on that "anyone can do it" Bubba. Our trade takes math skills and a good eye. Math can be learned to some extent, but a good eye is there or it aint. Some of the jobs we see here are a total wreck and I really don't see some of the hax responsible for those ever becoming an ace like you and others here on this forum. Just my opinion tho.
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Unread 10-06-2021, 05:54 AM   #6
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In 90-91 I took a 2 year apprenticeship program sponsored by TCA in So. Fla. at a community college. Certainly valuable reinforcement of proven practices and techniques. Personally feel this is what is needed over a 2 day course. I’m not knocking certification in general but most who go to get it probably don’t actually need it.

Construction is the wild Wild West because of HGTV, YouTube etc. Reality is over 50% of people installing probably only know 25% of what they need to. Personally feel if the TCA wanted to do some good they would get municipality’s lined up to require apprenticeship programs like electrical and plumbing. Tall order yes but it is the answer.
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Unread 10-06-2021, 09:00 AM   #7
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All things have to start somewhere.

The CTI program has been a bit misunderstood, I think, as some feel that it's some sort of "master tile setter" designation. As a result, there have been some rather public screw-ups from CTI's that have circulated around the web.

However, the CTI program is being used by some employers as a 'carrot' to motivate some of their employees. "When you get certified you get $X/hr". So, in that regard, it helps to drive education and advancement.

Admittedly, there really isn't a lot of personal benefit to becoming a CTI right now. It doesn't make you a better tile setter and it doesn't really open any doors for already established mechanics.

But, if you look down the road, the idea is that it will become quite popular and be specified by architects and big general contractors to work on their projects.

And if that's the case, then the sooner everyone buys in the sooner we get there.

Full disclosure: I'm a certified tile installer
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Unread 10-07-2021, 05:21 AM   #8
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A suggestion has been made to move this thread from the Private Pro Chat to the public Pro’s Hangout. The original thread starter is agreeable, but I don’t want to move it unless the other posters are also good.

Is that ok with Justin, Jerry, Jeff, and Jim?
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Unread 10-07-2021, 07:40 AM   #9
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Pro Hangout is fine with me. Didn't even notice it was in the secret room.
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Unread 10-07-2021, 01:27 PM   #10
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No problemo here
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Unread 10-08-2021, 12:57 PM   #11
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Update:

I’ve almost got everyone’s permission. Just waiting for a PM back. If it’s cool with him, I’ll move the thread.

Thanks
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Unread 10-08-2021, 02:34 PM   #12
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Ok with me.
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Unread 10-08-2021, 03:23 PM   #13
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Our business is an odd one. There is both skill and artistry involved. I think the worst thing that ever happened is the lack of apprenticeship. I apprenticed with a few guys who were good and really put me through the ringer. I learned a lot. That being said I think I learned way more here on this forum. Going to seminars and Coverings was eye opening. Learning how to apply the TCA Installation manual is a must. Just remember when you go to court the other side will have a copy of it. I cant say it enough but the one member here who gave me the most info was Dave Gobis. The amount of knowledge he offered on this forum has been priceless. Thank you for making me a better tradesman.
The CTEF Certification is a great experience for any one who is serious about the trade. I remember in my class the cockiest of setters failed the practical test. The instructors tried to give him help and clues but he was a master in his eyes.
Until this trade is a licensed one, it will always be the wild west. Ripping out showers done incorrectly has made me lots of money. Low bidders and hacks equal job security.
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Unread 10-10-2021, 04:15 PM   #14
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Ok, the thread has been moved into the public Pro's Hangout. Maybe we will get some more comments.
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Unread 10-10-2021, 06:26 PM   #15
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Years ago I thought this would be a waste, like many I get my work mostly from word of mouth and website. All the years of social media posts and such. I decided to do the certified installer and yes it's not a given. Tile is a trade of pressure, making decisions fast, but also planning and taking a step back. Tile is not for most but for many of you and myself we need the challenge. 22 years in I still have the passion and welcome the challenge.

I am certified tile installer #825. I did have a customer find me last year after a failed Schluter Shower(installer error) he wanted someone who was certified. I firmly think apprenticeship would be ideal but like many have said it's not like become a plumber or electrician. Tile can take you as far as you want to go.

In the end it can't hurt to be certified. Do you have to have it, no.
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