becoming a CPF

elsa

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Joined
Apr 1, 2005
Posts
378
Location
Maple Valley, Wa
ok I have been a framer for 5 years, I was trained "on the job"
For sometime now I have been interested in becoming a CPF-I know you have to test. But that is all I know. Can you all enlighten me?
Mostly I want to know what the advantages are other than a title. Since I am just an employee is it really worth it? How difficult is this test and how do you study for it?
Thanks
Elsa
 
Elsa I got my CPF for my own gratification( knowing I knew what other good framers were suppose to know). I am a co-owner with my wife and partner.So I can't really say what benefit an employee might derive.

However if you are interested in finding out the same I strongly suggest you go for it. But I do suppose there are employers( maybe your present one) who would be willing to pay a bit more to a framer who was duelly Certified By the PPFA,since it does indicate your willingness to learn and the extent of what you DO already know.And even if your current employer doesn't think it is worth more pay there are more employers and there is no guarantee that you will always work for the same one or you might not some day have your own shop and need all the knowledge you can get.Which is what is being Certified in the first place.If you study all the recomended text you should pass,after all I did on my first try .God knows most other framers know as much if not more than I do.
Charles BUDDY Drago CPF ®
 
Elsa

Well I truly believe all framers should be CPF's there is one other thing to be considered. Once you receive your certification if you leave your employer it will be much more difficult to get a new job.
While I found the local shop owners to be impressed with my credentials they all felt I was over qualified and when one finally hired me I was told to not show off my knowledge. I paraphrase here but the just of it was that they did things their way for years and did not need to change. I was not to show up the existing staff. After leaving there I ended up simply not telling people that I was a CPF and Finally found work in a Craft store that was happy to find out they had a CPF on staff. After a Time I had to open my own shop to get the respect my credentials and hard work deserved.

Get the CPF for yourself and be happy with the knowledge that you are the best framer you can be. However do not expect it to open doors to better jobs, unless the shop owners in your area are much more confident in there own work then the ones around here.


Jill Hennes
Omro Gallery
 
Jill, I believe you, but that's the most absurd thing I've heard in a long time.

Anyone who's going to be intimidated by a CPF is probably not someone any one of us would want to work with - much less for.
 
Ron said it best.

Personally we would consider a CPF with a PPFA certificate, but all we get are the 30 hour wonders that Michael's CALL a CPF... big dif.

If I had to hire a newbie from the start, they would be at the prevailing minimum wage for at least a year.

This sounds harsh but it ties up MY shop time to teach the newbie... that is why the national average on training a new person to perform a "Skill level 3" job, is $25-45K before that person starts making up their wage.

Hand me a PPFA-CPF and at least I don't have to explain what a mat, fillet, and frame are.
We may cut things a bit different (by hand), and mount a bit different (1926 Frog), or sell a bit different.. but the basic steps are still the same and the CPF is also proof that this wasn't "just another job, so I don't have to watch Oprah, or listen to my dad whine about me finding work to help with the food on the table".
(That kid was in Saturday, he was 24 and on his skateboard)

elsa, to bad you just missed the Evergreen Picture Framers Guild's "Spring Fling". I think they had a class about CPF. I was busy judging and teaching fabric so I couldn't peek in.

Get your name on the EPFG mailing list and join. It's an AWESOME guild that if VERY active and friendly. They truly understand that they are a very small community of framers and they talk and help each other.

Terry should be along soon to give you numbers that I don't keep in my head... and the PDA is down right now.
 
This is interesting. I’m also an employee (about the same number of years as you, elsa) and I’ve been thinking about getting a CPF. As Jim Miller said elsewhere: most framers know less than they think they do. I’d like to make sure that I’m no longer in that category.

However, employers don’t necessarily want new information from employees. What Jill said rings true, and unfortunately it’s probably more the rule than the exception.

Also, I think that the time and money spent on getting the CPF might be better spent at the local community college, getting into a different field. Employers willing to pay better than poverty wages for a good framer seem to be few and far between.
 
Originally posted by framanista:
However, employers don’t necessarily want new information from employees.
I would KILL for an employee who brought in new information (even if I knew it already). It would mean that they aren't brain dead. I would mean that they think about thier job, and maybe, JUST maybe, they are even beginning to see that it is a very rewarding career.

IF I had an employee who was serious about sitting for their CPF, I would loan the books I have, buy any books that they may need, and support the classes that they would take at least 50% or full re-imbursment after they pass.

When they truly felt that they were ready, I would take them to the test.

I don't think I am THAT unusual.

Also, I think that the time and money spent on getting the CPF might be better spent at the local community college, getting into a different field. Employers willing to pay better than poverty wages for a good framer seem to be few and far between.

If you truly think that your time is better spent at college... by all means, you better go. And don't let the door hit you.

That AA that can get you into a Cubie at $8.50/hr and maybe benifits is a lousy ROI (Return on Investment). But by all means go.

Personally I always wonder where all those kids that are 23-25 with the spikey hair, leather & chains, slashed clothes, six pounds of body piercngs and tatoos everywhere expect to make a living...?
party.gif
Home Depot? Michael's? Head shop?
smileyshot22.gif
 
Originally posted by Baer Charlton:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by framanista:
However, employers don’t necessarily want new information from employees.
I would KILL for an employee who brought in new information (even if I knew it already). It would mean that they aren't brain dead. I would mean that they think about thier job, and maybe, JUST maybe, they are even beginning to see that it is a very rewarding career.

IF I had an employee who was serious about sitting for their CPF, I would loan the books I have, buy any books that they may need, and support the classes that they would take at least 50% or full re-imbursment after they pass.

When they truly felt that they were ready, I would take them to the test.

I don't think I am THAT unusual.

Also, I think that the time and money spent on getting the CPF might be better spent at the local community college, getting into a different field. Employers willing to pay better than poverty wages for a good framer seem to be few and far between.
If you truly think that your time is better spent at college... by all means, you better go. And don't let the door hit you.

That AA that can get you into a Cubie at $8.50/hr and maybe benifits is a lousy ROI (Return on Investment). But by all means go.

Personally I always wonder where all those kids that are 23-25 with the spikey hair, leather & chains, slashed clothes, six pounds of body piercngs and tatoos everywhere expect to make a living...?
party.gif
Home Depot? Michael's? Head shop?
smileyshot22.gif
</font>[/QUOTE]
 
Originally posted by Baer Charlton:


I don't think I am THAT unusual.

One thing that we can all be completely certain about is that Baer Charlton is unusual.

I’m just going on my own experience. My boss does not want to hear about anything I learned on the Grumble or in classes. He keeps right on doing the same things he learned the first year that he framed. Fortunately he lets me do what I want. I can hinge with micro-dot paste application to my hearts content and he doesn’t give a hoot. And framers I’ve met from other local shops tend to be negative toward CPA and the PPFA.

You’d kill for an employee who brings you new information, but would you PAY for one? I know there are lots of good framers who stay in the industry as employees for their whole careers. I just honestly don’t know HOW. They must have financial support form their spouses.

That AA that can get you into a Cubie at $8.50/hr and maybe benifits is a lousy ROI (Return on Investment). But by all means go.
[/QUOTE]


I’m not talking about getting a degree; I already have a BFA and look where it got me. I’m talking about getting some information and skills that may or may not get me somewhere. It’s either that or go along this way and then be homeless when I’m too old to work.
 
Framinista;I think what Baer and to some degree I am saying is if you are serious about wanting to be a framer than you should be personally satisfied with your own achievement and the knowledge that you know your craft as well as is reasonably expected( which is what a PPFA CPF is intended to prove in the first place) .We can't guarantee what any employer will pay ( that is between you and them and what the prevailing wage for Framing is in your area).However I also think what Baer is telling you is that your seeking all the knowledge you can find and having it Certified by the PPFA is a very strong indication of your worth to any serious Frame shop owner. However as Ron said if your employer doesn't ackowledge or appreciate your gainning a certification they may not be the type of Shop a good framer really wants to work for anyway.

However if you feel that trainning and knowledge in ANOTHER feild would be more beneficial to your income needs then you should by all means persue that field.

But if what you are suggesting is that an education in something like sound BUSINESS practices might be more beneficial to you as a framing assistant then that may have merit also. But be advised that after you are certified your Framing Education isn't complete and there are more classes and seminars avilable ,includeing but not limited to recertification. Guys like Bob Carter are teaching Business principles all the time at Framing /PPFA Trade shows .So you can achive Booth if you want to be a framer.But if this isn't your choice then Run to that Community Collage.

By the way while Baer may not be the usual Framer I don't really think the type pf employer you amd elsa are describeing is either.But I would rather work for a shop with Baer's attitude than those ya'll have described.
BUDDY
 
Maybe I'm unusual, too. I paid for the CPF exam for two employees. The first one got an overnight trip to New York, a Broadway show and dinner. The trip to NY wasn't necessary for the second one, but I still paid for the exam, her time and expenses.

These two employees were good employees and wanted to take the test. I footed the bill because I felt it would enhance the business and keep a couple of good employees happy. One moved on and opened her own shop (we are still friends), and the other stayed with me until she bought my shop.
 
Elsa: I am an employee, and I have my CPF. I paid for all my books, the test, and for my own traveling expenses. I don't see any problem with that.. I paid for my education to get my degree.... and I paid for my education and test to get certified. (Pamela is very generous, she must be good to work for!!) I've been framing for about 5 years also. I am also only 22 years old.... and a senior in College. I wanted my CPF because I felt that I was a good enough framer to have it and I didn't want my competence devalued by customers who just by looking at me, when they come in think I'm just a teenager who doesn't know what I'm doing. (I dress normal by the way Baer) My CPF on the wall helps my customers feel confident in me and actually gives more confidence to myself when dealing with people!! It will also make you look better for future jobs at other frame shops and you should get a raise!!!! Do it, it's worth it especially if you love framing. I do!!
 
By the way, I do not think that what Jill had to say about employees not wanting CPF's is always true... My CPF has been benificial to me and have been offered a job at a beautiful shop that I am going to take!!
 
Thank you all for your responces, you have certainly given me food for thought.
Baer--Every year I dream of attending the EPFG's education fair. I tried to get my boss to pay half my way one year--NOPE!! I think I will start a "spare change fund" and maybe by next year I can afford it!! Our shop is on the EPFG's mailing list and I do enjoy the newsletter however it usually gets to the frame shop by way of Boss's office a month or two late!
It's not really that I am unhappy at my job, I do enjoy it so, not much challenge anymore, just want to learn and grow and try fun new stuff, but "Boss" just won't go there!!
Mostly I am just frustrated, especially when it comes to bringing in customers. In my previouse job I learned a lot of marketing ideas, and have learned more from places like this. But every time I put forth an idea I get shot down. We have no referal program, no advertising. Business has really slowed down and I worry that we are not going to make it much longer.
Well thanks for letting me "vent"!!

Elsa
 
Originally posted by elsa:
...For sometime now I have been interested in becoming a CPF-I know you have to test. But that is all I know. Can you all enlighten me?
Mostly I want to know what the advantages are other than a title. Since I am just an employee is it really worth it? How difficult is this test and how do you study for it?...
Elsa:

As you've probably noticed by the way your questions have been whisked to the floor by indirectly-related commentary, certification is a hot-button issue with some framers, both pro & con.

We've been through all of this before. Check the archives for some good dialog & debate.

Anyone actively framing is eligible to take the CPF exam, but it's easier & less costly if you are a PPFA member or employed by one.

Get the "Study Guide" and study everything recommended. You'll have to buy or borrow the books. If you are a PPFA member, several local chapters have a free lending library. If not, PPFA's Bookstore has all of the reference materials.

The exam is not an easy one. It's a three hour multiple choice exam with a failure rate of about 40%, for first-time candidates. Those who come back for another try, after realizing the value of studying, do much better.

Do not assume that years of framing experience would help you pass the CPF exam. It is heavy in the areas of preservation, materials & methods. Veteran framers -- especially those who are self-taught or mentored by an old-school framer -- generally do not have exposure to much of the knowledge required to pass the exam. New information doesn't come from the back room; it comes via industry-wide sources such as books and educational classes.

If all of the veteran framers who took the CPF exam would take PPFA's advice seriously, and study diligently, the success rate for first-time candidates would be much better.

Whether becoming a CPF is "worth it" is up to you. If you're interested in consumer recognition, certifications don't count for much. I think that's because most consumers think of framing as four pieces of wood and a wall hook; they don't realize the value of technology & expertise in the presentation & preservation of their art & objects.

If you are interested in becoming a better framer, there is no better way to achieve that purpose than to study for the CPF & MCPF exams. The Study Guides actually tell you where all of the best information may be found -- you don't have to read every book under the sun, and still wonder if you've missed something.

The advantage of all certification programs is that they provide a detailed roadmap to learning the best about framing. And it's not a short trip to Knowledgeville. On the contrary, the more we learn, the more we realize we don't know.

To put it another way, getting answers to our questions only brings up more questions. There's no end to the learning process, which is why the CPF Recertification & MCPF Maintenance requirements exist.

The idea of keeping your framing knowledge and credentials secret seems, as Ron said, absurd. Knowledge is useful. Those who resent or feel intimidated by the knowledge of others only wallow in their ignorance. What's good about that?

Philosophically speaking, I say we should achieve all we can, and associate with people who acknowledge and respect our achievements.
 
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