David ZiemkeDavid Ziemke, CTS®-D, CTS-I, Engineering Tech for Torrence Sound Equipment, Inc., passed the CTS exam in 2016 and decided it was time to show his specialized knowledge by earning both a CTS-D and CTS-I.

“Having both designations gives you a better understanding of what installation and design requires. You know what everyone is doing on the job,” he says. The CTS-D exam requires knowledge of AV design and the CTS-I tests AV installation. Luckily for David, with an extensive and varied background in the industry, solving customer’s problems with unique designs and troubleshooting complex systems, he felt he could tackle both. Taking the practice exams confirmed that although he had a few trouble spots, both designations were within reach.

“I primarily studied the areas that I identified as most difficult for me a couple of months before I took the exams,” he says. “Experienced CTS holders are most likely ready for the D and I. There are a lot of shared concepts.”

To further prepare, he used both of AVIXA’s CTS-D and CTS-I Exam Guides, and talked through some of the more difficult topics with coworkers who were more familiar with those systems.

After going back and forth with some scheduling issues, he decided to just take the day off work and tackle both tests on the same day. Taking the CTS-D first and then the CTS-I.

“The exam proctor was happy to wait to give me the results for the first test until after I was done with both. I didn’t want to be distracted with the first results,” David says. “Although it was a long day of testing, both went well and I was happy to get the good news of passing both.”

David concludes that although taking two exams on the same day may not be for everyone, the benefits of getting the specialized designations is.

“The CTS exams are very well suited to the industry. Looking at it from a co-worker perspective, you’d be more comfortable working with someone who has those credentials and you know what they’re talking about,” he says.