Preparing for the CETL® Exam

There is no single "best" way to prepare for the CETL® exam, as each candidate's background, knowledge, and experience will differ. The CETL® exam tests the concepts found on the CETL Exam Detailed Content Outline, which was derived from a job analysis which researched the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for an education technology leader to perform effectively. The job analysis research was rooted in the Framework of Essential Skills of the K-12 CTO.
Because people come to the CTO field in a variety of ways (e.g. from a technology background, from an educational background), there is no best way to study for the exam. In addition, there are no preparatory materials that will “teach to the test.” Therefore, assessing your personal experiences in and knowledge of the education technology field should be your first step. Email us or call 202-524-8464 for any inquiries.

Before you pursue certification, you should be familiar with the scope and content of what is covered on the CETL exam.  Please be sure to review our Detailed Content Outline for the program.  Given that each candidate's background will be different, CoSN suggests you first take our Self-Assessment, which will help you identify the skill areas in which to concentrate your studies. Once you have gotten a sense of your knowledge levels, there are a number of ways to improve your skills.  No specific course of study is required or recommended.  CoSN has a variety of professional resources available.

  • Visit the CoSN Knowledge Center to review our library of resources available to education technology leaders. All of these resources are tied to content found on the Detailed Content Outline.
  • There is an additional low-cost resource, "Modern EdTech Leadership: A practical guide to designing your team, serving your teachers and adjusting your strategy for the 21st Century," prepared by CETL candidate Mike Daugherty.
  • View our exam format sample to give you a sense of how the exam questions are structured. These are questions that were written by the CETL item writing panel; however, none of these questions will appear on the actual exam.
  • Form a study group with members of your local CoSN Chapter or colleagues from your district.
  • Identify a mentor in the CTO field (especially a CETL) willing to guide you with your studies.
  • CoSN has a number of online courses which address specific sets of knowledge and skills that may be covered on the exam.  For those seeking a broad overview, CoSN’s CETL Foundation Course is available and focuses on the larger body of knowledge found in the Framework of Essential Skills.  This course is available in a variety of formats and is suitable for aspiring education technology leaders or those who may prefer a more structured approach to filling their knowledge gaps. Participating in this course does not guarantee qualification to sit for the exam nor does it guarantee success on the exam. For more information on these requirements please read our FAQ or contact our Certification team.

Degree Programs

  • Georgia, Degree Program - CoSN offers a graduate degree option aligned with the Framework of Essential Skills through Kennesaw State University. For more information, please visit their site.

Exam Performance

The CETL currently has over 500 recipients who come from 37 states and a wide variety of size and location of educational institutions, from mega-sized public school districts to small, independent schools, rural counties and urban areas.

Over the lifetime of the program, 71% of first-time test takers have been successful on Part I multiple-choice exam. 89% of candidates have been successful in the Part II essay exams. To learn more about past exam performance, please see the summaries below.