Certified Balloon Artist (CBA) is the only internationally recognised accreditation within the balloon industry. It is the benchmark of industry professionals, and customers should be ensuring the company supplying the balloon decor for their event has CBA's on staff.
The reason you, the customer, should do this is because it takes a considerable effort to attain your CBA. The process is as follows.
Firstly you need to join the Qualatex Balloon Network and purchase the three kits. The topics are Balloon Basics kit, Balloon Deliveries & Bouquets kit and Balloon Decor kit. Each kit contains an extensive DVD with demonstrations and information of that topic. Once you have watched the DVD you must complete the online test and submit it for a Qualatex Education Officer to mark. Once you pass all tests with 80% or more you are eligible to sit the 4 hour practical test.
The 4 hour practical test includes replicating a design, submitting two of your original designs, constructing a column and more. During that 4 hour practical test each person will have to face a panel of CBA's who will ask a number of questions that include colour theory, design, business principles and safety. Again the person must get above 80% to be awarded their CBA.
Last week I was in New Zealand to test a number of balloon professionals that had completed their online tests, and were ready for their practical tests. 13 people took the tests (in Auckland and Christchurch) and New Zealand now has 12 new CBA's. One person was not awarded their CBA because their work was not up to the standard required. Below is a 'fly on the wall' experience of the CBA 4 hour practical test.
"Your 4 hours starts now!"
after 1 hour the designs are taking shape....
2.5 hours in and it is looking good....
"you have 20 minutes to go..."
The new (and relieved) CBA's in Christchurch!!
So, next time you are looking for balloon decor, make sure the company you use has CBA on staff. It indicates a level of professionalism and commitment to the balloon industry that you can rely on.