Ceramic Tile Education Foundation Announces New Training Initiative

The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) has developed a new educational course designed to enhance the knowledge of sales professionals within the ceramic tile industry.

“Fundamentals of Thin-Bed Knowledge,” was developed specifically for non-installers such as sales staff and field representatives who want to augment their familiarity with product and installation standards and best practices. It is scheduled to launch September 17, 2012.

Fundamentals of Thin-Bed Knowledge (FTBK) encompasses all material provided in CTEF’s Certified Tile Installer study guide.  Topics include safety, overview of thin-bed installation methods, concrete, masonry and wood substrates, installing backer boards and bonded membranes, setting tile on walls and floors, grouting, sealants, and movement joints.

CTEF executive director Scott Carothers stated, “A gap exists within our industry in our capacity to convey correct, up-to-date technical information about proper tile installation methods to sales representatives, field representatives, and others who have a direct or indirect contact with the tile contractor and client.  It is imperative that industry professionals and associations move quickly to fill this gap.  Fundamentals of Thin-Bed Knowledge is intended to increase that knowledge base for all tile professionals.”

Carothers continued, “The impetus for this new manual and program was a direct request from a distributor’s sales manager prior to a recently scheduled Certified Tile Installer (CTI) test.  She said, ‘We need this information for all of our sales and field representatives, to improve communication with the tile contractors. It’s necessary to ensure that our staff know the broad scope of tile installation so that they are better equipped to assist installers in the field.’ ”

To date, CTEF has certified over 800 tile installers across the United States.  The FTBK course does not convey certification credentials on sales and technical personnel who complete it. However, each individual, through the self-study manual and on-line testing, has the opportunity to develop the equivalent knowledge base of the installer. In addition, those who achieve the required test score are recognized as FTBK professionals – a credential that is valid for three years and must be renewed with a retest at that time. Re-testing requirements ensure that each FTBK-credentialed individual has current technical information based on revisions to the Handbook, ANSI standards, and the NTCA Reference Manual.

“Being on this level will allow them to assist installers, which is key to any successful installation,” said Carothers.  “This knowledge equips the salesperson to provide guidance about materials, installation methods, and scope of job for each project.  He or she will have the current technical knowledge to converse with and guide the tile contractor toward making the proper selections, thus reducing potential failures and the need to modify the project scope in mid-stream.”

The $99 per person fee for the course includes the FTBK Manual, 2012 TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation, and on-line testing.  The newly designed, portable manual will have a distinct logo, and will provide valuable guidance in using  the TCNA Handbook and ANSI standards.  On-line testing will be modified to accommodate the schedule of the enrollee, and allows greater participation throughout the industry.

Ceramic tile professionals throughout the industry now have another tool in their arsenal for increasing sales, supporting the tile contractor, and potentially solving installation challenges prior to occurrence.   “CTEF is focused on providing the end consumer with a choice of a Certified Tile Installer when selecting a tile professional for their project,” Carothers said.  “We are taking advantage of cutting-edge industry knowledge to raise the bar for sales professionals and the companies they represent.”

For additional information, contact Scott Carothers, 864-222-2131, [email protected], or visit  www.ceramictilefoundation.org.