The Cabling and Infrastructure Technician (CIT) and Integrated Systems Technician (IST) are core elements of CEDIA’s workforce development strategy. These ANSI/ISO-accredited certifications, supported by vetted training, preparation programs, and textbooks, get us in the door with parents, teachers, and program administrators.
Inside our own industry, however, there are a lot of myths about certification that persist. If we’re going to attract the next generation of talent and seize the opportunities before us, we need to dispel those myths now.
Electricians, architects, and engineers recognize the meaning of ANSI/ISO accreditation, and are more likely to engage with partners who can verify their expertise to an accepted standard.
“Every day, I speak with architect associations, builder groups, and government agencies. The conversations always follow the same path,” says Paul Skelton, Regional Development Consultant for CEDIA in Australia and New Zealand. “They’re excited about the industry, but they want to know how they can tell whether an integrator is qualified.”
When subcontracting to an allied trade, having multiple certified staff members gives you a crucial competitive edge. As part of the bigger picture, a critical mass of certified integrators will prove to allied trade groups, government agencies, and lawmakers that this industry holds itself to rigorous, defined standards.
Pete Trauth, CIT-SME, IST-SME, ESC-T, ESC-N, ESC-D, Owner of Nirvana Home Entertainment, once told me, “I can’t ask my staff to commit to certification if I don’t first commit to it.” As the banner of letters behind his name attests, he has committed fully – and found personal growth in the process.
Certification is a journey that doesn’t end with passing the test. CIT and IST holders must renew every three years by refreshing their knowledge with any new material that’s been added to the exam content outline.
“There’s a difference between ‘years in the industry’ and ‘experience,’” says Trauth. “You can do the same things over and over again, but you don’t grow from that. Certification keeps you up to date. Keeping your learning going throughout your career is what builds real experience.”
You may arrive at a project with a clear plan and explicit instructions for inexperienced staff members, but things can change quickly on site.
“When a new person makes unsupervised decisions on a job site, a single mistake can cost a lot of money and time in rework,” says Amanda Wildman, ESC, CIT-SME, IST-SME, Owner of Trumedia and CEDIA Board Secretary. “CIT helps define what decisions a technician is qualified to make, and what decisions require approval or oversight from an ISE-certified staff member.”
“We worked extremely hard to make sure these certifications would be relevant in all the regions where there is significant CEDIA activity,” says Mike Ranpura, CIT-SME, IST-SME, ESC-T, ESC-N, Director of Smart Life AV. The CIT and IST, however, are different.
Making these new certifications reflective of the global CEDIA community was a core goal of CEDIA’s certification volunteers. As a result, preparing for certification empowers CEDIA members to communicate with their peers globally.
If you want an edge against competitors in your marketplace – especially licensed professionals like security integrators and electrical contractors – you need to get certified. If the industry wants recognition as a profession, its members must demonstrate their commitment to professional accreditation and standards.
CEDIA and its certification volunteers have built rigorous certifications; building the community of certified integrators is up to you. Visit cedia.org/certification to get started.