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Q&A with Charles Espinoza, Audio Video Systems

Charles Espinoza, CTS-I Espinoza is the chief training officer at Audio Video Systems in Chantilly, Va., and serves on InfoComm's CTS-I Technical Committee. With the CTS and CTS-I credentials now recognized by the American National Standards Institute, he and others have been grappling with change.

Charles Espinoza, CTS-I Espinoza is the chief training officer at Audio Video Systems in Chantilly, Va., and serves on InfoComm's CTS-I Technical Committee. With the CTS and CTS-I credentials now recognized by the American National Standards Institute, he and others have been grappling with change.

PRO AV: Why the changes to CTS certification?

ESPINOZA: The test now covers the broad spectrum of job functions in the AV industry, from salespeople to technicians to project managers. It samples the knowledge necessary to implement audiovisual best practices, processes, and procedures. Also, in order to gain ANSI/ISO certification, we needed a test that separated the InfoComm education curriculum from the exam. And we needed to update the test and remove some of the archaic technologies that are not standard practice today.

PRO AV: Can you describe the changes specifically?

ESPINOZA: The biggest changes are in the content and the way the test is administered. It's not just an exam for the technical staff. There are more questions focusing on sales/marketing, human resources, project management, and design. Also, the test is now administered at a testing center, rather than online, at places that offer tests like the CPA or medical board certification exams.

PRO AV: How will these changes affect training and testing?

ESPINOZA: General training will have to include a broader spectrum of information. You don't have to be master of a specific area to pass the new exam, but you have to have some knowledge about every aspect of the industry. For example, a salesperson will have to gain more technical and project management knowledge; installers will have to study project management. Everyone will have to think about things they didn't in the past.

PRO AV: How have manuals/curricula been modified to reflect the changes?

ESPINOZA: The education curricula have not been changed because of the test. Educational content will always need to be updated to keep up with the industry, as will educational and technical manuals. We now encourage a broader scope of knowledge be studied in preparation of the test. The things you didn't think about before, you might need to know tomorrow. InfoComm is currently working to compile the broad spectrum of resources into one specific location/library for ease of access and dissemination.

PRO AV: How will legacy credentials be treated?

ESPINOZA: Legacy credentials will be treated the same as before. The same requirements and renewal process will be used.

PRO AV: What will tomorrow's CTS know that yesterday's does not?

ESPINOZA: I think tomorrow's CTS will have a better understanding of the entire industry, not just his or her specific job. It will encourage a greater appreciation of adjacent positions in the same company, and foster better team work through that appreciation. It will also position individuals who are seeking specialized training and certification, like a CTS-I or CTS-D, for future career growth and placement.



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