The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) which provides education and installer certification for professionals working in the ceramic tile and stone industry has unveiled its new logo.
“The new CTEF logo represents an evolution in the mission of the CTEF and in the maturity of the tile installation certification programs that CTEF sponsors,” says Scott Carothers, director of certification and training for CTEF. He adds, “The tile industry is experiencing a significant shortage of qualified labor to properly install ceramic and porcelain products correctly the first time. Only through ongoing training of existing talent as well as enticing high school students to enter the tile trade, will it survive. Our job is to train, certify, and fill the marketplace with enough skilled installers to meet the need.”
The updated CTEF logo includes the tagline, “Qualified Labor. Certification. Tile Industry Recognized.” This is recognition that the installer certification programs (i.e., CTI and ACT programs) are tile industry recognized and define a tile installer with those designations as being ‘Quality Labor.’
What is Qualified Labor?
Through the many hours of proposal writing and encouragement to the architectural and design communities, language now exists to aid the architect, specifier, and designer in the preparation of job specifications. This language is now a part of the Tile Council of America (TCNA) Handbook. One portion of that section says it all, “Because tile is a permanent finish, the lowest bid should not be the driving factor, but rather, who is the most qualified to perform the scope of the work specified.”
The Handbook Installer and Contractor Qualifications Guide provides an exhaustive list of the associations and organizations that provide the training and education necessary to produce an installer who has the skills and knowledge necessary to be known as Qualified Labor.
The Handbook also includes the section entitled, “Sample Language for Including Installer and Contractor Qualification in Specifications.” Here, specific language calls for installer and contractor qualifications and quality assurance based on the training and certifications provided by the recognized entities.
The Certified Tile Installer (CTI) Program
The CTEF Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program is the only third-party assessment of installer skill and knowledge which is recognized by the tile industry. It offers homeowners peace-of-mind that their tile installer has the right skills to complete a successful tile installation.
The CTI designation identifies the professional installer who has reached a level of proficiency to independently and consistently produce a sound tile installation that displays good workmanship. Certification is the validation of the skills and knowledge of the men and women who presently are installing tile successfully in the United States.
To qualify for the CTI Program, installers must have at least two years of experience as the lead installer setting ceramic tile on a full-time basis. This means having full responsibility for substrate prep, layout, coordinating with other trades along with properly installing underlayment, tile, grout and sealant materials.
“The CTI program is strictly a test of the installer’s skills and knowledge; it offers no instructional classes,” says Scott Carothers, director of training and education for CTEF. “However, many installers who have completed the CTI tests say that studying the written materials was very valuable and assisted in the completion of the hands-on test and that the CTI Manual provided the correct methods for tile installation which may not have been the way they installed tile in the past.”
The CTI program includes two separate tests.
The first is an online open-book exam which is taken at home or the office as the installer’s schedule allows.
The second is a hands-on test which is conducted at regional locations across the United States. The hands-on portion of the test begins at 7:09 am and must be completed by 4:00 pm. Installers should arrive at 6:30 am in order to get their tools set up and be ready to start the test at 7:09 am.
The Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT) Program
The Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT) include offers certifications in seven specific areas of tile installation. An installer may choose to become ACT certified in one or more of these areas:
Large Format Tile & Substrate Preparation
Mortar (Mud) Floors
Mortar (Mud) Walls
Gauged Porcelain Tile and Gauged Porcelain Tile Panels/Slabs
Installers wishing to become ACT certified must be pre-qualified in one of two ways:
Be a Certified Tile Installer (CTI) through the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation; or
Be a journeyman tile setter who has successfully completed the apprenticeship program conducted by the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers
ACT certification in each area is granted upon successful completion of a written online test – designed to measure the installer’s understanding of applicable ANSI specifications and TCNA recommended methods – and a field test conducted by trained, third party evaluators who assess the installer’s skills under real life conditions.
The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) which sponsors the CTI and ACT programs is supported by all segments of the ceramic tile industry. CTEF is headquartered in Pendleton, South Carolina, near Clemson University and near the offices of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA).
The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) provides education and installer certification for professionals working in the ceramic tile and stone industry. Certification programs include the CTEF Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program which is the only third-party assessment of installer skill and knowledge to be recognized by the tile industry, and the Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT). For more information, visit https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org.