• CoSN’s Certified Education Technology Leader (CETL)tm Certification Program
    CETL The Indiana CTO Council strongly encourages our members to seek CETL certification. For K-12 education technology leaders, earning the CETL certification will demonstrate to your staff, superintendent, and other stakeholders that you have mastered the knowledge and skills needed to define the vision for and successfully build 21st century learning environments in your school district. 

    Achieving the CETL designation will:

    • Validate your knowledge of the education technology field and the evolving role of the CTO*
    • Distinguish you from your peers
    • Demonstrate dedication to advancing your career
    • Inspire confidence in your superiors

    Why Was the Certification Program Created?
    The education technology field is a unique profession. CTOs must

    • Understand the educational environment
    • Know how technology enhances the student’s educational experience
    • Play an active role in the school district’s long-term strategic and operational goals

    But while technology has had a transformative impact on our society, the influence of technology to improve and innovate learning in our nation’s schools has not kept up. To resolve this gap, CoSN set out to identify the knowledge and skills needed by education technology leaders and developed the Framework of Essential Skills of the K-12 CTO. The CETL exam will test existing and aspiring education technology leaders on their mastery of the knowledge and skills outlined in the Framework.

    Who Developed the Certification Program?
    CoSN’s CETL certification program was created by and for education technology leaders. This ensures that the program is a reflection of today’s CTO profession. The program is managed by the Certification Governance Committee (CGC), which is a volunteer group of subject matter experts with a combined total of more than 160 years of experience in the education technology field.

    Following certification industry best practices, there is a distinct firewall between those creating and monitoring the CETL program and exam, and those responsible for CoSN’s day-to-day operations. This ensures the integrity of the exam. Those overseeing the CETL certification program are not involved in CoSN’s decision-making and budget oversight. In addition, those at CoSN responsible for creating preparatory materials for the exam do not have access to the exam’s content.

    What’s On the CETL Exam?
    The CETL certification exam is based on The Framework of Essential Skills of the K-12 CTO, which is the body of knowledge defining the skill areas critical to today’s education technology leaders. The Framework was created and is kept up-to-date by two volunteer panels of education technology leaders. The Framework is divided into three primary areas:

    • Leadership & Vision
    • Understanding the Educational Environment
    • Managing Technology & Support Resources

    Under each of these areas, the Framework further identifies specific responsibilities and the knowledge needed to perform these responsibilities in order to be a successful CTO in today’s educational environment. All questions on the exam are tied to the Framework.

    How is the Exam Structured?
    There are two parts to the exam:

    • Part I is a multiple-choice exam administered through Internet-Based Testing (IBT) at proctored test sites throughout the country. (Please contact CoSN for information on hosting a test site in your community.)
    • Part II of the exam is essay based and also uses the IBT system; however, this part of the exam is not proctored and may be completed using your own computer. Candidates will have seven days to submit their essays (submission instructions and the deadline will be provided via email). Essays will be graded by a panel of CTO subject matter experts specifically trained by testing specialists using a pre-determined rubric.

    Only those who pass Part I are eligible to take Part II. Those who pass both parts of the exam earn the CETL designation. 
    What are the Eligibility Requirements?

    • Candidates must have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree plus four years of education technology experience.
    • Education technology experience is defined as: Demonstrable experience in the three overarching skills areas of the Framework of Essential Skills of the K-12 CTO, which are:
      • Leadership & Vision
      • Understanding the Educational Environment
      • Managing Technology & Support Resources


    If the candidate doesn’t meet the minimum requirements, he or she must have at least seven years of demonstrable experience in education technology. To be deemed eligible using these criteria, the candidate must appeal to the Certification Governance Committee. This appeal, in writing, must include an explanation of this experience plus a signed recommendation from the candidate’s supervisor.

    In addition, all those seeking or holding the CETL designation, must agree to abide by the Code of Conduct and Terms of Confidentiality.

    Do I Have to Recertify My Credential?

    Yes, to maintain the CETL designation, certificants must complete 60 hours of continuing education activities every three years. By recertifying your credential, you demonstrate to your colleagues and peers that you are committed to staying current in the education technology field and bringing this knowledge to your school district.

    For a detailed description of the CETL certification program, please download a copy of the Certification Handbook. If you have questions about the CETL certification program, please email CoSN at certification@cosn.org or visit our FAQ page.

    *CTOs are education technology leaders who are responsible for technology that is increasingly complex, greater in number and scope, and ever more integrated into the daily instructional and administrative routines of today's school districts. CTOs are known by many titles, including Chief Information Officer and Technology Director.