CTEF Expands Tile Installation Training, Certification for 2023

Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF)

The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) announces newly expanded training and education for professionals in the ceramic tile and stone industry for 2023. The new programs address the foundations of tile installation and practical training to prepare installers for the Certified Tile Installer program, as well as an enhanced inspection course and additional sessions of a historically popular program.

Two New Tile Installer Course Levels

CTEF will be offering two new courses to expand the skill and knowledge journey of the tile installer as he or she progresses along a career path. Each individual course will be taught in a one-week span, with back-to-back classes. The individual classes in each level are geared toward having value for all.

“We’re excited about providing ceramic tile installers with a more defined career path with these new programs,” says Brad Denny, CTEF Executive Director. “The first course offers a beginning base to grow from, and the second solidifies the trade learnings, paving the way for tile installation certification.”

100-Level Tile Foundations

The 100 Level Foundations Series is a one-week program for Apprentices and Finishers. It covers in-depth the components of year one for a ceramic tile tradesperson and includes the following three components:

  • Intro to Ceramic Tile (One day, 8 hours) focuses on understanding the History and Overview of the Trade along with how to set up a jobsite.
  • Ceramic Tile Finishing (Two days, 16 hours) explores with hands-on practice Grouting, Cleaning, and Membranes.
  • Advanced Finishing (Two days, 16 hours) prepares an apprentice for Troweling, Measuring, Cutting, and Repairing so they return home with an understanding and practice of these essential skills.

Note that by completing the 100 Level Foundations Series, the student may take the ACT Membranes and ACT Grouts hands-on test modules, which can be taken without the prerequisite Certified Tile Installer (CTI) test required for the other seven ACT test modules.

The first round of 100 Level classes will take place April 3-7, and the second on August 7-11.

“The Foundations series gives an opportunity for an employer or someone new to the trade to build a foundation upon which to grow,” explains Denny. “So often in my own business, it was helpful for our team members to hear the same things we preached internally from someone else. Second, it gives someone established in the career choices of classes to brush up on a discipline.”

200-Level Practical Installation Applications

The 200 Level Practical Series offers the next step in the tile installation professional’s career and prepares them for the Certified Tile Installer test while focusing on the skills needed to be successful in the field as a full-time installer during years 1-3.

  • Installation Big Picture (One day, 8 hours) looks at what it takes to be Accurate from Prep to Finish by examining what the industry standards and methods are, why they exist, and how to meet them.
  • Attention to Detail (Two days, 16 hours) covers Layout and How to be Precise with a broad view of construction math and geometry and a close look at how to use that for accuracy in every aspect of the tile assembly.
  • Where Did the Time Go? (Two days, 16 hours) is an essential study of productivity and Techniques to Make You More Efficient, important qualities for the installer looking to be well organized by using time wisely.

Note that by completing the 200 Level Practical Series, spending time in the field practicing disciplines, and studying the CTEF CTI Manual, the student will be prepared for the CTEF Ceramic Tile Installer knowledge and hands-on tests.

The inaugural 200 Level classes will occur on June 12-16 and August 21-25.

“Installers have been asking for a CTI Prep course, but rather than have that be the only purpose new programming serves, we applied the same logic from the Foundations course to the “Practical” course” states Denny. “This practical education can be waypoints of knowledge and skill along the installer’s journey or an opportunity for focused improvement for an experienced installer. It also includes aspects of the CTI test that can help an installer be prepared for success.”

400-Level Ceramic Tile Inspection Course

The Ceramic Tile Inspection Class has been a key learning experience for many tile installation professionals over the years. Based on feedback from the industry, this class is being expanded to a “Course” with three separate classes held in conjunction with one another.

Dividing the content into focused studies will allow the student to focus on the exact information he or she may need in a shorter amount of time or take all of them and receive a discount for the week.

  • Using Methods and Standards (One day, 8 hours) is an In-depth study of the industry standards and methods documents and how to use them.
  • Forensic Demolition (Two days, 16 hours) utilizes mockups that are deconstructed, studied, and documented to understand How to remove it and what important aspects need to be recorded.
  • Report Writing (One and a half days, 12 hours) will cover case studies and examples of written reports for the student to grasp the art of Successful inspection writing techniques.

One round will be conducted at a West Coast site (to be named later) the week of June 26th and the other at CTEF in South Carolina the week of July 31st.

“Unfortunately, too much of today’s tile work, which many times results in failure, is being completed by individuals who don’t meet the requirements of Qualified Labor,” says Scott Carothers, CTEF Academic Director. “To meet the need for competent tile consultants, the CTEF Inspection course provides training for consultants who may not be up to speed on the many nuances involved in a quality tile installation as well as for current consultants who want a deeper understanding of the ANSI and TCNA Handbook documents.”

Additional Sessions in 2023

The ever-popular Understanding and Installing Ceramic Tile (UICT) and Mortar Shower Base and Waterproofing (MSBW) classes return for their 24th year and have been expanded to five sessions to meet increased demand.

The 4.5-day, 36-hour UICT Class focuses on the history, standards, methods, and basic techniques required for a trouble-free tile installation. Spending time in both the classroom and the “mod room”, which includes individually framed bathrooms with tubs, students of all knowledge levels look closely at tile installation from inception to finality.

  • The 1.5-day, 15-hour MSBW includes instruction in the classroom and in the warehouse, a deep dive into the reliable, yet often incorrectly installed TCNA B415 shower receptor method. Mixing mud, making screeds, assembling the necessary parts of the shower receptor, and finishing out the curb allow students to understand how a proper “water in water out system” should be constructed.

These two classes can be taken separately or in tandem. The 2023 dates are as follows: March 20-25, May 8-13, July 17-22, September 18-23, and November 6-11.

“Demand for proper tile installation education and training is at an all-time high, particularly for those interested in becoming Certified Tile Installers,” adds Denny. “That’s why CTEF has developed new course levels to instruct tile installers in best practices for tile installation before any bad habits have a chance to set in and expanded popular programs including Inspection to address the feedback we receive from those being approached to investigate problems.”

In addition to education and training events, the 2023 CTEF events calendar includes dates and locations for hands-on testing for the CTI and the ACT programs.

To learn more about CTEF and its programs, and to join as a supporter to help expand the organization’s reach, visit ceramictilefoundation.org.

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