When a tile job comes out for bid, regardless of whether it is commercial or residential, how does the end user separate the good installers from the not-so-good people bidding the job? They all appear to be competent and seem to present themselves well. Some of them have even provided references from previous jobs while several have also included photos of past work.

So how do you tell which ones are most qualified? The answer is installer certification. The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) started the Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program in mid-2008 to test the talent and knowledge of qualified installers. The goal then and today is to provide the consumer with a choice when it comes to selecting an installer.

This rigorous but fair combination of written knowledge and hands-on skills tests require the installer to prove that he or she possesses the qualifications which meet the industry standards found in the TCNA Handbook and ANSI Specifications along with accepted best practices.

Successful participants must obtain a minimum score of 85% in order to pass the CTI test. This may appear to be high; that’s because it was intentionally designed to be so. CTEF wants to certify the better quality mechanics that have the proven abilities and knowledge to provide the consumer with a job done correctly the first time.

Certified Tile Installers’ names and contact information are placed on the CTEF website, which is growing quickly due to the number of buyers looking for quality work at a fair price.  Your listing is also placed in the TCNA Handbook, which is seen by over 50,000 professionals per year.

The registration fee for both the online written open book test (which is taken at home, so as to not take time away from the job) and the close-to-home, hands-on test is $295. If you are a NTCA member, you pay only $195. The sweet part of this deal is that the installer who successfully completes the CTI test receives $300 worth of valuable manufacturer’s coupons. It really pays to be certified.

So do yourself and your customers a favor. Get certified and proudly display the CTI logo, which signifies an installer who is a cut above the rest. For more information, contact CTEF at 

www.tilecareer.com or call (864) 222-2131.