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ICPI vs. NCMA SRW certification

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by PSUhardscaper, Apr 5, 2011.

  1. PSUhardscaper

    PSUhardscaper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 80

    I have the opportunity to take both seminars next week. They are both for the entry level certifications. Any recommendations (from those of you who have taken these courses/exams!)?
    ICPI is a 2 day course ($350 non-member), and the NCMA SRW is one day ($225).
  2. ParkWelding

    ParkWelding LawnSite Member
    Messages: 182

    I took both this winter. About one month apart, ICPI first then NCMA.

    I thought the ICPI class was great. The NCMA SRW I had about 1 hour of useful information that wasn't talked about in the ICPI class. Also NCMA seemed geared to get people to pass the test and get certified, not actually learn something. The NCMA class was too short and the books they gave out with the class are not that great. ICPI class taught a ton more and the book is very good for a noob and I'm sure it is good reference for others as well.

    I had the same instructor for both (by choice). So it wasn't a case of one good & one bad instructor affecting my feelings toward each. And I have never installed pavers or retaining walls, so I had no bias toward technique.

    Hope this helps.
  3. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    Go take them and go in with an open mind, ask questions, and be honest with the instructors and yourself. By no means will these courses make you an instant expert. In fact you probably wont learn much about how to install hardscapes. What you will learn about is things like gradation, compaction, and probably take home a few tricks you had not thought of before. You will also meet a bunch of people, some of whom will pretend to be big shots, but many of them will put their foot in their mouths by the end of the day. Otherwise dress comfortable cause you will spend most of the time sitting in a hard chair watching barely in focus projectors. In the end your customers wont care if you are ICPI certified or not, but since everyone else is you minus well too. A lot of people have issues with these organizations though because they are in more recent years aimed toward certifying everyone to get the fees, rather than the hands on approach they had 10-15 years back.
  4. PSUhardscaper

    PSUhardscaper LawnSite Member
    Messages: 80

    Thanks guys - I appreciate the advice
  5. OutdoorCreations

    OutdoorCreations LawnSite Member
    Messages: 66

    I have the NCMA certification. It cost $150 and I feel it is worth it. If you have any construction experience it is rather self explanatory. I make sure that I tell potential clients that I am NCMA certified.

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