I had decided it was time to put my knowledge to an actual test, and take the examination for Rigger Certification. ETCP (Entertainment Technician Certification Program) was established in 2005 to bring some standardization to the industry. And now, I am a Certified Rigger, for both Theater and Arena Rigging! Following is some information about ETCP from their website.
What is ETCP?
The Entertainment Technician Certification Program (ETCP), focuses on disciplines that directly affect the health and safety of crews, performers, and audiences. There are two areas of certification - electrical skills and rigging skills, and an entertainment technician may take exams to hold one or more of the following certifications: Rigger–Arena, Rigger–Theatre, and Entertainment Electrician.
Who created ETCP and what is the ETCP Council?
In March of 2003, the ESTA Board of Directors made plans to establish a personnel certification program for entertainment technology technicians. That same year, ESTA was joined by IATSE, USITT, IAAM, TEA and CITT, and in 2004, AMPTP, InfoComm International, Live Nation, and PRG, also came aboard to assist in the development of the program. Since then, the ETCP Council has added to its impressive list of members with The League of American Theatres and Producers, BASE Entertainment, Cirque du Soleil / MGM MIRAGE, Disney Theatrical Productions, and NBC Universal..
The Council, which is the governing body for ETCP, marks an unprecedented alliance of leaders representing all facets of the entertainment technology industry. At the core of the Council are the industry organizations whose presence ensures their members ' voices will be heard during the development process. Representing potential candidates, those who employ them, and those in whose facilities they work, these organizations have embraced the benefits that personnel certification can bring to our industry.
Why should I become certified?
Obtaining an ETCP certification gives an entertainment technician a stamp that says, “ I am confident in my abilities, and you can trust that I know what I am doing.” ETCP certification helps employers immediately identify riggers and electricians with proven capabilities. Companies that hire ETCP Certified Riggers and Entertainment Electricians, are saying that they want to further an industry-wide standard that ensures the safest possible workplace and a highly efficient workforce.
Major employers and unions have devoted many hours and dollars to the development of the program with the intention to integrate these certifications for lead positions into job bids and contracts. In fact, a few months ago, two major industry employers, Live Nation and Global Spectrum, announced the signing of collective bargaining agreements with IATSE which phase in a requirement for ETCP certified technicians in a variety of venues operated by the two companies. The new agreements call for IATSE to provide the venues with an ETCP Certified Rigger at any rigging call and an ETCP Certified head Electrician where a lead position is required. Most contracts call for a one to three year phase-in of the requirement.
Will being certified expose me to lawsuits, even if I'm not the crew chief?
Certification under the ETCP Certification Program establishes that a certified person possesses a certain level of knowledge and skill in the industry. It does not, however, increase liability for persons who are certified under the Program and there is simply no legal basis on which to make that claim." -David M. Saltiel at Bell, Boyd & Lloyd LLC
There is no legal basis for the belief that being ETCP Certified increases a technician's potential exposure to claims for injuries and damages. IATSE's Associate General Counsel, John B. Shepherd, Attorney at Law, Short, Shepherd & Stanton, wrote a memo to IATSE members that comments further on the issue.
Will this certification prove me to be a "qualified person" as defined by OSHA and NEC?
The goal of ETCP is for technicians to use ETCP Certification as a support in claiming oneself "qualified personnel." The ETCP Council is in the beginning stages making this objective (authorities having jurisdiction use this certification) a reality.
Which ETCP certification is right for me?
The rigging certifications are designed for highly experienced riggers (rigging supervisors, high steel riggers, fly-persons, etc.). The Arena certification encompasses rigging that employs chain hoists and truss systems to temporarily suspend objects from overhead structures in any environment. The Theatre certification encompasses rigging that employs the use of counterweighted systems, mechanical systems and hydraulic systems, usually, but not always, permanently installed in facilities for the use of theatre technicians in the execution of their rigging responsibilities.
What is the difference between the two rigging examinations?
There are currently two divisions of the main ETCP Certified Rigger credential: "ETCP Certified Rigger – Arena" and "ETCP Certified Rigger – Theatre." The Arena certification encompasses rigging that employs chain hoists and truss systems to temporarily suspend objects from overhead structures in any environment.
ETCP recognizes that these methods and hardware are used throughout the entertainment industry in arenas, convention and trade show spaces and in theatrical venues. However, the principles, practices, and components are consistent and similar in all applications and are different from those used in traditional theatrical spaces.
The Theatre certification encompasses rigging that employs the use of counterweighted systems, mechanical systems and hydraulic systems, usually, but not always, permanently installed in facilities for the use of theatre technicians in the execution of their rigging responsibilities. An applicant may seek certification in either or both of these divisions. Each division has its own Handbook separate examination covering the specific knowledge, skills and abilities needed.
It is a great honor to be included in the ranks of all the other certified professionals in the industry. I am proud to have passed these tests, and look forward to many more years of adventure in this business I'm in. Wahoo!