After many years in the industry, I have come to the decision to pursue the Infocomm CTS designation. After debating how relevant it is, I have come to realize that it will provide the best way to prove to clients and employers that I am serious about my AV career. A lot of AV companies will pay a higher wage for CTS certified technicians, and it gives a lot more job options in the future.

What is the CTS?

CTS is a registered trademark of Infocomm international. Short for for “Certified Technology Specialist”,  It is an ANSI accredited certification. CTS is a certification for an individual, not a company meaning it goes with you if you change employers in the future. Once you get CTS certified, you need to renew it every three years. For renewal, you must earn 30 renewal units (RU’s). These are offered by eligible manufacturer’s training classes.

There are three types of CTS certification:

  • CTS – The general knowledge certification level. This is required before you can write the test for CTS-I or CTS-D
  • CTS-I – This is the Installation Specialization which focuses on all aspects of installing equipment. You need the CTS as well as two years of documented AV installation experience before you can write the exam.
  • CTS-D- The Design Specialization is for design engineers that plan out system configuration and provide plans for implementation. You need the CTS as well as two years of documented AV design experience before you can write the exam.

I’ve had several discussions with industry veterans and there seem to be two main opinions.

Opinion 1: Why get CTS certified? I don’t need to prove my credentials!

This school of though it that it doesn’t take a certification to prove that you know anything. If you are any good, you just don’t have time to jump through the hoops of taking another test. There are some valid concerns that one certification covering integration and rentals/staging lacks some focus. I think the specialization certifications (Design or Install) are a great way to provide more relevance to the certification. Unfortunately there is nothing for the rentals and staging side.

Opinion 2: You don’t have CTS certification? Why would anyone deal with you?

On the flip side, these people place a lot of value in the certification and feel it keeps them competitive in the market. Infocomm has done a good job of promoting “CTS” within the industry and a lot of us can recognize the value. It can be thought of as a good baseline assurance that people you are dealing with are competent and willing to spend time to learn.

How to get the CTS certification

Here is a video that Infocomm has posted on YouTube about how to get the certification.

You can find a lot of information directly from Infocomm’s website. Infocomm CTS information: infocomm.org/ctsforms

What to Study

Infocomm has published a physical exam guide book with McGraw-Hill that you can check out on Amazon here. I have not read the book, but there are some negative reviews, saying it doesn’t really provide a full compliment of AV information.

What’s Next?

Since I’m taking the test myself, ProAVSchool.com will be the hub of all the AV training information I can gather it. In the coming weeks, I will be going through many different topics that will be covered on the exam.

What are your thoughts on CTS certification? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

About the author

Dustin has been involved in the Professional Audio Visual industry for 20 years, working for integrators both big and small. Learning the ropes through many years of trial, error, and firsthand experience, Dustin is passionate about creating resources to help share the knowledge that he has obtained the "hard" way.

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