SAN DIEGO, CA --The University of Ceramic Tile and Stone(UofCTS) announced recently it has increased the renewal date of the Tile Installer Thin-set Standards (ITS) Verification certificate, to two years from one. This means that every two years the tile installer must retake the updated course in order to stay current with new industry standards. In the past, installers were required to retake the course annually to stay current.

The change to extend the renewal date of the ITS Certificate to two years was part of an agreement made between UofCTS and the Tile Marble Terrazzo Union Local 18.  Local 18 has placed a large order of tuitions for the ITS Verification course.  They are implementing two continuing education programs for their Journeyman Tile Layers -- one is the ITS Verification online course and the other is the Advanced Certification for Tile Installer program. 

"The Union leadership has recognized the need to educate tile layers on the new materials, standards and methods through ongoing training and testing of journeyman tile setters," said Local 18 President Chad Boggio.

Moreover, some are encouraging the Union to adopt the ITS course. "I saw a big improvement in my employees' knowledge of the industry standards and their heightened interest in making sure they are following the industry standards as they are installing tile," said Greg Games, President of Premier Tile & Marble Co., which was the first union tile installation company to send their installers through the ITS online training course. "Educating our team of setters and finishers brought a new positive dimension to the culture of our company." 

Non-union contractors are also committed to training their employees. "I am seeing a big improvement in my employees' knowledge of the tile and stone industry, and industry standards," said Martin L. Howard, Vice President of David Allen Company, Inc., who has put a large number of his employees through the UofCTS online training courses. "We are in the process of sending a large number of our employees through all three of the UofCTS online courses on ceramic tile, natural stone and on tile installer standards.  The David Allen Company is committed to providing quality tile installations, and our investment in training our employees is one of the ways we achieve that goal."

The Tile Terrazzo Marble Association of Canada (TTMAC) collaborated with UofCTS to create a Canadian version of the ITS course, which was released earlier this year.  Since then they have had a large number of TTMAC members take the course with great success.  There is a two page article on the TTMAC ITS course in the recent edition of the association's Hardsurfaces publication.

INTACO, a manufacturer of installation products in Costa Rica, recently purchased tuitions of the Spanish version of the ITS course for training their employees. Tile Council of North America Mexico (TCNA Mexico) had their trainers take the Spanish version of the ITS course and they now refer the installers that take the certification evaluation in Mexico to take the UofCTS ITS course as a value-added course.  They also believe the course will be good for Mexican architects so they can help ensure quality tile installations on their projects.

The ITS Verification course instructs installers, setters and finishers, on industry standards and practices, manufacturers' requirements and proper installation methods for tile thin-set applications that apply to ceramic tile, porcelain tile, stone tile, glass tile and other types of adhered tile materials.  The course also teaches how to inspect and prepare substrates and tiles, how to achieve full thin-set coverage and points out quality workmanship requirements and practices.  This course is also meaningful to architects, general contractors, distributors, manufacturers, consultants, inspectors and owners that recognize the value of understanding industry installation standards, practices and methods.

Tile installers who complete the ITS Verification course receive a certificate of completion and must renew it every two years to remain current with industry standards.  The ITS Certificate is a huge benefit to tile installation companies.  It demonstrates to architects, homeowners and other customers that their tile installers have been trained to install tile per industry standards.   It also demonstrates the company's commitment to quality installations, and ultimately helps companies earn more jobs, earn more money and avoid costly delays and failures.

The UofCTS's online courses -- Understanding the Basics of Natural Stoneand Understanding the Basics of Ceramic Tile courses -- offer an up-to-date comprehensive look at the stone and ceramic tile industry. The courses teach industry standards, technical information about tile and stone, and sales techniques, and is designed to give salespeople the tools they need in order to increase sales.  It gives installers, as well as design professionals, details about industry standards and information on how to assist clients with selecting and maintaining tile and stone products.