CEDIA View: What’s Certification Got to Do With It?
We’ve heard it before: “What does certification really have to do with making money? I’ve got the skills—isn’t that enough?”
Let’s take a step back, and look at certification this way: In nearly every type of industry, professionals proudly display the credentials that set them apart from their peers. Doctors, professors, accountants, architects, computer technicians and auto mechanics all have credentials that prove they’ve mastered a body of knowledge, and have made the effort to quantify this accomplishment in the form of a professional credential.
But what about consumers? Do they really care if you have a special designation within your industry? The answer is yes! According to a recent survey conducted by CEDIA and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), more than 70 percent of home buyers believe contractors with special designations—such as those from trade associations—are more reliable, professional and credible. Also, more than 60 percent say credentialed professionals are worth the higher price they often request.
Certifications can also help you become more visible on the CEDIA Finder Services. Companies with certified professionals on staff are listed first when potential clients look for home technology professionals in their area.
So now that you know about all the benefits of being CEDIA Certified, the question becomes this: How do you get certified?
The first step to certification is figuring out what path is best for you; CEDIA offers a variety of certification paths for every skill level. Check it out:
• The CEDIA EST II is well-versed in all rough-in and trim-out tasks as well as retrofit installation, component installation and troubleshooting.
• The CEDIA Residential Networking Specialist is an individual who has mastery of designing, installing and configuring a network in the home.
• The CEDIA-Certified Professional EST III assists in the training and mentoring of newer technicians; interacts with clients and other stakeholders; installs, troubleshoots and calibrates systems; programs basic control systems; and ensures installation meets the design specifications.
• The CEDIA-Certified Professional Designer is an individual who communicates with clients as well as design and installation professionals. This person selects the appropriate products and materials to be utilized in integrated residential systems including—but not limited to—alarm, telephone, data, audio, video, home theatre, HVAC and lighting control.
Once you’ve established your certification path, it’s time to dig into the training you need. Each certification has a job task analysis that can help you determine which courses you may need to take to be ready, or other resources that can help get you there.
One recommended in-house guide for home technology professionals is the “CEDIA Technical Reference Manual.” The book serves as a “go-to” reference for all staff members to ensure projects are done right, and that the best possible customer experience is provided. Hard copies of this book can be ordered through the CEDIA Marketplace; you can also download individual chapters from Amazon.com.
You can test your progress with pre-tests as you work through different topics. Luckily, CEDIA EXPO is where certification and training opportunities abound, and it’s just around the corner (Sept. 25-28 in Denver, Colo.) So check out the training schedule, or go ahead and get yourself signed up to take an exam.
Start making moves now to become CEDIA Certified, and get your company a leg up on the competition. Visit cedia.net/expo for more information on CEDIA EXPO, and cedia.net/certification to find more information on the specific certification that’s right for you. •