i would say you could get your feet wet with workshops, Henry.
'tile manufacturing' involves quite a number of skills: business, working with clients, design,production, clay, kilns, materials, moldmaking, glazing , developing a glaze palette, packing and shipping, pricing, etc. etc. etc.. it can seem rather daunting, but everyone starts somewhere. even an introductory workshop will give you a sense of what attracts you to it, and where your interests lie.
There are many small tile manufacturers throughout the US and you could try getting hired on with one of them.They produce quite a variety of work and run the gamut of single artist studios to small manufacturers with 20-50 employees. the larger the company gets, the more specific and divided work tasks will be, but a valuable employee soon learns a number of the essential skills.
if you plan on being a small studio, a good studio ceramics program will however give you a valuable familiarity with ceramics processes. if you are self directed , i bet you could focus on tile and still take advantage of the facilities and program. just try to find one with a good skill oriented instructor. it is essential that you pick up the basics. once you have that you will find differences between tile and pottery. clay bodies, the way kilns are stacked, etc. but ceramics , sculpture, bookeeping, design, computer, mechanical, management skills will ALL be useful. if you really love tile, explore the amazing history of tile making..there are some great books on the subject.
Anything you can do to familiarize yourself with the history of tile, and think about what aspects of it interest you will help. do you have a particular idea in mind? a certain look? what is it that draws you to it? are you interested in making decorative tile, or a line of tile?
i have been a bit frustrated in that i would like to teach tilemaking. i have an MFA in ceramics and sculpture, but i really didn't learn the tile end of it til i worked with tilemakers in a larger shop and became familiar with the trade that way. but both were important as i went into business. also important were jobs that i had in the interim. for example, i managed an art supply department in a store, which taught me a lot about running a business and customer service...which matters quite a bit once you go into business.
for now, i know of no program, save the internships at pewabic and moravian that do that. i would sure like to start a program somewhere, somehow. i hope to be able to take on apprentices at some time, but am not set up to do that quite yet..and admittedly not sure how to connect with students other than in a workshop situation at the present time.
we have communicated off forum a bit, I encourage you to keep researching . it is a field that will keep you learning for life!!!.