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IT Directors: 5 Reasons Why You Should Pursue Your CETL

Clay Burnett

As an IT director for a school district, you have a lot on your plate. You play a critical role in ensuring a strong educational experience for students, and it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day. Refocusing on your professional development can keep you sharp, while helping you deliver more value to taxpayers and prove you’re committed to being the best IT director you can be.

One way to develop new skills and stay at the forefront of industry trends is by earning your CETL certification.

What Is CETL?

The Certified Education Technology Leader (CETL) program is designed to help K–12 technology professionals learn the skills and become familiar with the practices they need to deliver 21st-century learning experiences to their districts. CETL credentials demonstrate a commitment to obtaining the knowledge, management skills, and leadership capabilities necessary to build and manage modern technology environments that create more robust educational experiences.

In order to take the exam, candidates must have a bachelor’s degree and at least four years of education technology experience, though some exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis.

The CETL exam is administered by the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), a national association for technology leaders in education. According to its website, CoSN is committed to supporting districts in their digital transformation initiatives. It does this by publishing thought leadership content, developing best practices, advocating for the best tools, and fostering a community of like-minded individuals who are all committed to educational excellence.

Now that you have a better idea of what CETL certification is, let’s take a deeper look at why IT directors should strongly consider pursuing the credentials.

1. CETL Certification Demonstrates That You’re Committed to the Highest Standards

It’s one thing to have a solid network of IT infrastructure across your district. It’s quite another to have a state-of-the-art technological backbone that keeps your district on the cutting edge of what’s possible in education technology. By taking the CETL exam, you’re showing your colleagues that you’re committed to the highest standards and want your district to have the best tools at its disposal.

2. It Also Shows That You’re Committed to Your Own Professional Development

For many people in all sorts of professions, work is just a way to collect a paycheck. Because no one is forcing you to take the CETL exam, your decision to pursue the certification proves that you’re committed to your own professional development. According to the CoSN, more than 500 education technology leaders have passed the CETL program, and more than half of those individuals hold cabinet-level positions in their districts.

3. Certification Makes It Easier to Hire or Promote the Most Skilled and Knowledgeable Ed Tech Leaders

Having the CETL certification sets you apart from other edtech professionals because it demonstrates you have achieved the highest level of excellence in the education technology industry. The CETL exam shows that you’ve mastered a vital skillset:

  • Leadership and vision
  • Understanding the education environment
  • Managing technology and support resources

Once you’ve earned your own certification, you’ll know how rigorous the process is. When the time comes to hire someone for your district—or recommend someone for one of your colleagues in another district—and you see a candidate with a CETL certification, the decision becomes that much easier.

4. CETL Certification Ensures That Your District Keeps Pace with Best Practices and Changing Trends

Even if you’re a tech guru who studies up on best practices, there might be a few things you’ve missed. CETL certification ensures you’re plugged into the latest developments in education technology—even the ones that are more under the radar. This enables you to stay on the forefront of innovation.

5. Certification Creates a District Resource That Staffers Can Rely On for Tech Guidance

The teachers and other professionals in your district aren’t all experts at technology. They’re focused on helping students succeed, so they may not know how every new gadget or platform works. By earning your CETL certification, you become a valuable resource to other colleagues in your district who can turn to you for advice whenever they need it.

Ready for CETL Certification?

If you’re an IT professional who works in education and wants to have more impact on your district, CETL certification is worth pursuing. At a basic level, certification shows that you care about the highest standards and are committed to doing what you can to enhance the educational experience.

Although the test may be a bit tricky and take some time out of your schedule, you’ll end up in a much better position with the knowledge and skills you need to make your district an edtech industry leader.

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