Why I Continue to Renew My CTS Certifications
Earlier this month, I logged into my AVIXA training portal. I uploaded several certificates for CTS RUs that I had earned over the last three years. Some of those RUs came from moderating technical webinars or teaching workshops or courses for AVIXA. Others came from events like LAVNCH WEEK right here on rAVe. Still more came from completing courses on DISCAS display standards or how to properly commission AV systems. Thirty hours may not seem like a lot over the course of three years, however, because I hold CTS-D and CTS-I certifications, 15 hours need to be specific to each discipline to renew. General coursework is not an option, and there were a couple of last-minute courses I had to take online to round things out.
A couple of days after completing the application, linking to my transcript, and sending the $275 for renewal, my application was approved and my certification dates have been extended out until 2026.
It’s not difficult, but it’s also not easy. So why have I continued to renew my CTS specialty certifications? After all, I’m not a design engineer who needs a CTS-D, nor am I an installer who needs a CTS-I on a daily basis. It really boils down to creativity, credibility and professionalism.
As a business development director for a group that focuses on experiential technology, certifications help keep professionals up to date with learning about new technologies. When you’re talking about the blue sky of possibilities, it’s helpful to know how technologies work and interact. Knowing the way the technology works, allows me to understand the signal flow and capabilities, which in turn helps unlock possibilities not shown on the diagrams in the back of the manual.
I remember once putting together a distributed AV system for multiple zones of audio an video and controlling the system without a bespoke control system. I had sketched out the whole single-line drawing on a whiteboard in our shop to verify. A manufacturer of some of the products I was using looked at it and said, “I’ve never seen anyone use the parts like that before.” He stared at it a couple of minutes, turned to me with his eyes wide, and said, “That works, doesn’t it?”
Yes, it did work, and it solved a customer’s problem in a very efficient way, but it never would’ve come to life without knowing how the equipment worked. Knowledge unlocked creativity.
In my previous life, I was a regional salesperson for AV products. While at Legrand AV, I sold Chief mounts, Da-Lite screens and Vaddio cameras. While at Barco, I sold projectors, video processors and wireless sharing devices.
Much of my job entailed talking to engineers and installers about how the products worked and why they would be a good fit for their next job. Naturally, salespeople are often met with some cynicism, as their job and livelihood depend on integrators buying and using your products.
My certifications in these scenarios actually built early trust. I had some of the same coveted initials that the engineers and installers used in their signature blocks as well. I also had conversations about the AV whole ecosystem, even about products I had no ability to sell or profit from. It showed that I was interested in their success in integrating a working system behind the SKUs in my catalog, as well as demonstrated my knowledge of any downstream impact using my product (or my competitor’s) may have on the system as a whole.
Finally, even for customers who may not be familiar with CTS or its varieties, holding certifications communicate that you take your role seriously, that you’re a lifelong learner, and that you are serious about your career and profession.
I’ve had some customers and partners that already know CTS and understand the benefits and some others that may ask about them, giving me the chance to communicate what they infer.
It’s also nice to set yourself apart by accomplishing something others have not pursued. As for being a Dual Cert holder, when I achieved the feat in 2017, there were around 300 of us. Now there are 663 as of last formal count. The club is growing, but still relatively exclusive.
So, if you’re on the fence about earning or renewing your CTS, CTS-D and/or CTS-I, jump on over to this side! I’m even teaching a couple workshops at InfoComm this year that will earn you some RUs.