For quite a few years now, the PDAA Master Certification designation has been a much sought-after achievement, not tied to any vinyl manufacturer. For some, it was the challenge of another certification to complement those they already had. For most, it was the featured “Find an Installer” listing PDAA and SGIA had worked hard to develop to help the printing community connect with installers. What began as a “company” certification, rightly evolved into an “individual” certification that served to benefit the Master Certified installer's company. And, once again, this certification is evolving to maintain its status as the certification to hold.
In the past, Master Certification testing tried to cover vehicle and fleet application along with a basic flat surface (or some retail) application all in one testing. This meant if you were a retail application-focused shop, you had to make sure you were proficient in vehicle application, even if this was an installation you didn't do on a regular basis. And the same applied for those vehicle and/or fleet shops, as they struggled to manage the flat surface (retail) test when it was not in their wheelhouse. Meanwhile, color change was left out altogether.
The new program — developed by our PDAA Installers Committee — will be a “badge” program. There will be three badges as of 2020. The badges will be Commercial Graphics, Architecture 1 and Color Change.
Commercial Graphics will test an installer’s ability to manage any vehicle wrap, including the rivets found on many box trucks or trailers. Architecture Level 1 will test that an installer has the skill set, the knowledge of industry terms, and the proficiency with all the tools necessary to install any type of standard architectural film in a typical industry setting (retail stores, trade shows, banks, etc.). And finally, Color Change is designed to break down the key components for the Restyling Protection Industry (RPI), where the testers will focus on color change vinyl wrapping and shop operations for a color change installation company.
The great news is current Master Certified installers will have choices going forward in 2020 as they are grandfathered in to the new program with the ability to claim two of the badges (Commercial Graphics and Architecture). Each badge is $99, so a current Master Certified installer will save money if claiming both badges; however, if you do not perform retail work, you do not need to claim the Architecture 1 badge and would only pay for the Commercial Graphics badge for $99. As Color Change is a new program, you would have to attend a training event and pass a test to attain that badge. Also, moving forward, you will have the choice of event to attend so that you train and test for a badge that reflects the work that you do. This allows our Find an Installer listing to have more value for the end user and installer, as companies can match with the appropriate installer for their application.
With these changes underway, the term "Master Certified" will go away and everyone will be PDAA Certified — with the appropriate badge(s). However, in the future, we may bring Master Certified back with additional badges and testing.
To learn more about the PDAA community and get hands-on experience with the latest materials, I also encourage you to attend PRINTING United, where at booth 7250, we'll have the PDAA Pro Team Relay (limited spots still available!), the new badges and testing stations.