Jan 18 2024

Your Questions About CETL Certification, Answered

As tech plays an increasingly crucial role in K–12 education, many IT professionals are aspiring to leadership roles. How can Certified Educational Technology Leader certification help?

People might understand K–12 education, and people might understand IT. But in today’s K–12 landscape, you need to understand both.

Whether they aspire to leadership positions or simply want to make a meaningful difference in their school systems, understanding the intersection of IT and education — particularly how technology empowers teachers and students to thrive — has never been more imperative.

DIVE DEEPER: Professional development is necessary in modern K–12 education.

So, how can IT professionals prove their mettle as K–12 ed tech leaders, and how can districts identify those who can best set their schools up for success?

These are questions that the Consortium for School Networking’s Certified Educational Technology Leader certification is specifically designed to answer. For some, pursuing a CETL credential can be a daunting endeavor. That’s why, in Ohio, we’ve assembled a cohort of IT professionals who we are now leading through the process.

Mike Daugherty
Certification shows your leadership team, teachers, board members and community that, as a technology director, you understand more than just the technical side of things. You understand education, communication and people.”

Mike Daugherty Director of Technology and Innovation, Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools

We’ve learned a lot about what today’s K–12 IT pros need to know about CETL certification, including why it’s worth the time and resources they’ll need to invest to achieve it.

What Is CoSN’s Certified Educational Technology Leader Certification?

CoSN describes the CETL program — first established in 2011 — as the only accredited, practice-based certification program for education leaders hoping to bridge knowledge gaps between technology and educational environments, leadership, and the management of technology and support resources to advance student outcomes.

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Earning CETL certification requires passing a 100-question exam. To qualify for the exam, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and at least four years of experience working in education technology. Candidates without a bachelor’s degree can also apply, but they need a minimum seven years of ed tech experience and face a more rigorous application process.

The CETL certification program was designed to help K–12 technology professionals play a meaningful and substantive role in their organizations’ leadership.

With eligibility requirements, exam topics and a recertification process based on CoSN’s Framework of Essential Skills of the K–12 CTO, the CETL certification demonstrates professionals’ mastery of the skills and knowledge demanded of successful ed tech leaders and their ability to bring those skills to bear on today’s classrooms.

What Makes Pursuing CETL Certification Worthwhile?

While the benefits of becoming CETL-certified are clear, there’s no denying that it’s also a costly and time-intensive endeavor. It’s also undeniably worth it.

Jay Newcome
I am working toward my CETL certification to grow as an educational leader for my school district and community. It’s important to continually evaluate processes and leadership styles, and the CETL certification path is a great way to do this.”

Jay Newcome Director of Technology, Ravenna (Ohio) School District

Many current CETLs recommend the certification to other ed tech colleagues. Additionally, a 2019 salary data analysis showed that CETL-credentialed professionals earned more than their uncertified counterparts.

In the realm of K–12 education, it’s only in recent years that IT has found a seat at the leadership table. For years, IT professionals largely operated as support for their schools or districts, charged chiefly with keeping requisite technology up and running.

To succeed and advance today, however, IT professionals need more than technological know-how; they need a deep understanding of the K–12 education landscape, an ability to think strategically, management skills and an understanding of what it takes to lead. Achieving CETL certification demonstrates that they possess the comprehensive range of skills and knowledge needed to thrive as a K–12 technology leader.

Steve Rutherford
Upon completing my CETL certification, I aspire to expand my insights and gain further experience in a K–12 educational environment that has eluded me in the past.”

Steve Rutherford Technology Supervisor, Nordonia Hills City School District

But that’s not all. The CETL credential is useful as a measure of ability and knowledge, but it also fosters professional development and serves as a tool to help ed tech leaders improve their understanding of 21st-century technology and its place in the classroom.

Pursuing CETL recertification motivates K–12 IT leaders to remain current — and even ahead of the curve — on all things educational technology-related.

This article is part of the ConnectIT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #ConnectIT hashtag.

[title]Connect IT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology

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