Restoration Industry Association certificants holding the Certified Restorer (CR) and Water Loss Specialist (WLS) certification have joined an elite group of professionals recognized by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the National Center for Healthy Homes (NCHH) as being among the top industry professionals to help Americans maintain safe and healthy homes.

The new database, managed by NCHH and commissioned by HUD’s Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control, involved reviewing the credentials of more than 80 different certification programs. RIA’s WLS and CR certificants are among the 22 certification/credential programs selected for the public resource. The individuals holding the credentials will be included in a website ( designed to help consumers make informed decisions when considering a contractor or consultant to help resolve any healthy home issues.

Advanced industry certifications demonstrate that an individual takes his or her job and field seriously. Whether it’s carpet inspection, water or fire damage restoration, cleaning Oriental and specialty rugs, or residential or commercial carpet cleaning, clients expect that the individual performing the work knows the latest information that pertains to that field.

RIA Certifications

While RIA markets four different advanced certifications, several are currently undergoing a bit of “restoration” themselves.

RIA’s best known certification program, the CR, has implemented changes to the instructional delivery for its traditional week-long certification school with the launch of a “blended learning” format. This year, approved CR candidates will participate in the restructured format which includes diagnostic testing in September; three online live training courses in October; two days of live review in November; and the CR exam 2010 CR Prep Course, conducted immediately before the CR exam in mid-November.

Those interested in pursuing the CR certification in 2010 must have their application and prerequisite courses completed before Oct. 1.

Currently, one of the prerequisite CMP course tests, the Mold Remediation Supervisor (MRS), has been rewritten and will undergo beta testing early this summer with an anticipated rollout late in the third quarter of 2010 through a third-party testing company. The Certified Mold Professional exam will be the next to be rewritten.

The last traditional Water Loss Specialist course was held in September 2009. For 2011, two new prerequisite courses have been added, bringing the course requirement to six. A new WLS Prep Review course will be developed for those who have the knowledge and experience, but want a review before taking the WLS exam, which is also undergoing rewriting, beta testing and rollout through RIA’s third-party testing company.

Each specialty still requires a rigorous course of study and research, as well as meeting a number of pre-certification course requirements and successfully passing (with 80 percent or better) a standardized certification exam. Candidates must select a topic and submit a formal report and paper on a pre-approved subject (like a Master’s thesis in a university setting). Only after all of these steps have been completed and the final report approved will individuals be eligible to receive the Association’s appropriate certification.

And while every technician, owner or manager may not choose to pursue advanced certifications, knowledge may be attained through industry conferences, conventions or seminars. It is often the networking that takes place in the hallways between sessions, on the exhibition floor or in restaurants that are as valuable as the information gained in the actual education sessions.

RIA Fall Conference

RIA will be holding its annual Fall Conference in Albuquerque, NM, Oct. 6-8, which coincides with the city’s annual hot air balloon festival. The conference will return to its traditional lecture and panel format sessions, along with networking sessions featuring powerhouse speakers within the reconstruction industry.

As always, RIA’s conference is designed to encourage a dialogue between the attendees and the experts in the room. Registration details and more information on specific sessions and presenters can be found at the RIA website: