The PME tips are the Cadillac of tips. They are great for string work and adding the detail that Wilton tips can't provide. I have both complete sets. These tips don't change in color like the Wilton tips do after washing. Make sure you don't scratch the inside or leave any frosting in them...you'll see a change in these tips once you use them. Te piping comes out bad...what i do is boil hot water and soak them in hot water for 5 minutes and air dry. Now I've had them for a while and for me I love the investment. I actually purchases books on Lambeth, Nirvana, African, and Austrialian cake decorating Methods...and just love using them! If your serious buy the book The Art of Royal Icing by Eddie Spence MBE (Amazon is way cheaper don't spend $200...I bought mine used and spent less than $50). This book is the best with PME tips. Eddie Spence is awsome, and i just love his work. if you get a chance google him click on images and you'll see how beautiful and detailed his work is. If you research my earlier posts there are other books that I do have but you can't post their full name...that help with piping and detail.
With regards to PME tips buy them at PME arts and Crafts.com it's cheaper!
For PME courses, my Wilton instructor did take them and her work is fabulous. She took them in Texas. There are a few places I did find that offer them in Texas, but I had to cancel because my husband was laid off and just couldn't afford to take them...however, next year I will...so I'm super excited for 2013! She said its good to have PME certificate and their Mastery Certificates because home bakers mostly just have the Wilton certificates, not many people are certified in other places....and their work is just a different quality than Wilton's, so I recommend them only because I've seen my instructors work and seen how many cakes she sells. And she's busy!
If you really like them, there is a lady by the name of Kathleen Lange and she does classes in California. Now her work is amazing. Check her out on google click images and see her cake details. My instructor highly recommended her classes too. She said she was nice, very instructive, patient, and was really willing to help you achieve your goal to complete the class. I couldn't take them this year due to my husbands job loss, so I've been trying to master Eddie Spence book and I honestly love it! Her next classes after January 2013 I will be taking too! My hubby just got a new job so trying to get back on our feet.
My instructor says cake decorating always has room for improvement, she also recommended to keep taking classes and always work on your skill. Also, consider joining ICES in your state. If you go to their yearly cake convention you also have the ability to take classes. There is a membership fee so be ready to pay your yearly fee. I went this year and LOVED it! It's really a whole new experience, and the cakes, the people...are amazing!
Now I'm not an experienced baker, i'm still a beginner, but I'm not the kind of person to start a new hobby blindly. I was lucky to come across my instructor, and her wide knowledge. I researched different ways to decorate cakes, and simply love the PME piping tips. Yes, I still use my Wilton tips...I really love those, just hate the metal quality. My best advice is research, and if those cake methods are what you want to do...then consider buying the PME piping tips. If its not...honestly Wilton tips are not bad either. When they dent...buy a new one. I hope this helps...