Shon Parker CTI #999 compares becoming a Certified Tile Installer to going to college for computer programming and obtaining a degree. It increases your worth to employers and clients and signals your commitment to learning everything you can about installing tile correctly the first time.
Shon Parker is next in the CTEF Blog series about Qualified Labor based on articles in TileLetter.com.
Meet Shon Parker CTI #999
Shon Parker started in the tile industry in 1987 and has been a journeyman for over 20 years. His first position as a training level Helper opened the door to years of perfecting his craft, owning and operating his own custom tile installation company, and now bringing all that experience to Hawthorne Tile as a Project Manager.
Shon truly enjoys the art of tile. It requires not only a mechanical aptitude, but also an artistic frame of mind to excel, as well as commitment to keeping up with product and standard changes in the industry.
In addition to becoming a Certified Tile Installer, Shon has been through his local union apprenticeship program and received training from Nuheat and WEDI. He enjoys attending classes that manufacturers host because they allow him to learn new things and keep up on current trends in the industry.
How Certification Signals Tile Industry Education Commitment
Perhaps you feel you don't need any kind of tile certification to signal your professional commitment to tile education and training.
Those who do, though, agree that the experience means putting pride, ego, skills, reputation and performance on the line. Installers leave the test with a renewed appreciation for and understanding of how to apply industry standards, not to mention how it improves their own marketability.
Hands-on Certification Test Looks Deceptively Easy and Written Test Requires Understanding of Specifications
Take it from Shon Parker.
In 2014, when Shon Parker walked into his local Portland, Oregon Daltile certification facility, he glanced at the modules for the hands-on portion of the Certified Tile Installer (CTI) Test and thought it would take only a few hours to complete. He was surprised that it took six hours, and that the written part of the test was so thorough.
“The hands-on [test] looks deceptively easy, and, just like the written test, was broad in what was being tested... given the small space it was in.”
He describes the hands-on portion as “not too bad,” but admits the written portion required studying and preparation. He explains,
“I felt I had a good understanding of specifications in our industry before the test, but going through some of the questions made me realize how much is
really out there.”
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Certification Increases Tile Contractors Worth to Employers and Clients
In Shon's opinion, becoming tile certified is a no-brainer. He says,
“Why wouldn’t you [become certified]?” Parker asked. “As more people understand the value of what [certification] means, it will increase your worth to employers and clients. It’s really one of the best ways to bring up wages in our industry."
Just as someone who goes to college for computer programming and obtains a degree is able to obtain a better salary than a guy playing around on his laptop and reading some books in his spare time, so does a Certified Tile Installer. The benefits are obvious.
Tile Installation Expertise Requires Hands-on Skills and Industry Knowledge
Shon Parker emphasizes how success in the tile industry relies more than ever on both hands-on skills as well as an important base of knowledge. He explains,
“To be successful, you need to be equally skilled at both. There are so many new materials out and designers asking to put tile in new locations, plus all the new things tile is being made out of, from new types and sizes of glass to the relatively new thin porcelain type of material like Laminam. Education is key to keeping your liability as low as possible.”
And, as much as the CTI program is about being tested, it's also about education. For example, during his CTI testing, Parker learned about thin-set coverage and the differences between thin-set mortars:
“I always knew that more coverage was better, but there are differences between wet vs. dry locations.”
Hawthorne Tile: Dedicated to Tile Education
As Hawthorne Tile explains on its website,
"Education is a key component to the culture of Hawthorne Tile. We are the proud employers of CTI (Certified Tile Installers) and ACT (Advanced Certification of Tile) holders. This means our skilled team is formally trained and technically certified, as well as being able to successfully interpret your artistic vision."
"Our team of highly skilled and creative craftsmen understands that tile is just a decorative covering. Without the knowledge and understanding of how to properly build the foundation for a tile system, that decorative covering will leak, crack and fail."
Education not only prevents tile installation failure, but it also sets Hawthorne Tile apart from the competition. Shon explains that, since becoming certified, the Hawthorne Tile installers miss no opportunity to educate clients before a project begins. They also stay up-to-speed with new product introductions and the applications for installation projects. He says,
“Hawthorne Tile has always been about giving our clients the best-looking project we can. Now we know we can give them a well-functioning and technically correct one as well.”
Ready for a Tile Certification that Signals Your Own Professional Commitment?
If you haven't already, consider becoming a Certified Tile Installer (CTI). As a CTI, you set yourself apart from the crowd and know how to anticipate tile installation problems before they occur. Do it right the first time and get paid accordingly.
Are you ready now to take the tests and become a Certified Tile Installer like Shon Parker?
Let us know in the comments.