Value of the CETL®, Superintendents and Ed Tech Leaders

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The CETL is the first-ever aspirational certification for education technology leaders. It is based on a body of knowledge defining the skill areas critical to today’s education technology leaders: leadership and vision; understanding the educational environment; and managing technology and support resources. Specifically, the CETL is a rigorous, two-part exam that identifies those who have mastered the framework skills and knowledge needed to bring 21st century skills to schools. The exam is a true measure of today’s education technology field. The CETL program is also professional development to enhance the knowledge of learning technologies.


To date, more than 500 education technology leaders, from large and small school systems nationwide, have passed this rigorous program and earned their certification, with more in the pipeline. More than half of CETL-certified educational technology leaders hold district, cabinet-level positions. For the past couple of years, CoSN has worked closely with superintendents and district technology leaders to help them understand the value and importance of the CETL. Superintendents who have encouraged CETL certification have reported that: 


  • Stakeholders see that they are committed to the highest standards in administration.
  • They hire and promote only the most skilled and knowledgeable education technologists.
  • Their districts keep current on latest trends and best practices in education technology.
  • Asking for CETL demonstrates commitment to their employees’ professional growth.
  • The technology team skills are well matched to the job requirements of their positions.

Additionally, CoSN has been actively promoting the value of the CETL to State departments of education and education service agencies through the State Partnership Program. CETL Partnerships allow states to provide scholarships to their educational technology leaders for preparing for and taking the CETL exam. In exchange, these states show their commitment to 21st century learning in their districts and are recognized for this forward-thinking commitment. CoSN also partners with educational service agencies to offer professional development and CETL certification exam fees at reduced rates. In sum, the CETL provides independent validation of the competencies necessary for success as an education technology leader, empowering employers to make informed decisions between candidates with diverse backgrounds.

Ensuring that your district uses up-to-date education technology and that your teachers know how to use this technology to improve student achievement is the responsibility of your administration’s education technology professionals. But how do you measure your ed tech staff’s knowledge? How are you assured that these professionals are employing the most current technology tools and policies? Encouraging your education technology leaders to seek CETL®certification will help ensure that these professionals are equipped to implement your district's technology goals.

We have created an Administrators Guide with tips and information on how the CETL program can help your district achieve its 21st-century technology goals. The CETL certification exam is rigorous and is based on CoSN’s Framework of Essential Skills of the K-12 CTO.

Encouraging CETL Certification will

  • Demonstrate to your stakeholders that you are committed to the highest standards in your administration
  • Show your employees that you are committed to their professional growth
  • Help you hire or promote the most skilled and knowledgeable education technology leaders
  • Ensure that your district is keeping current on the latest trends and best practices in education technology
  • Help you match the skills of your technology team to the job requirements of those positions

Unique State Programs for Making the Digital Leap

Learn about how some states are making the digital leap by providing resources to districts in support of professional development and mentoring. CoSN hosted a webinar featuring efforts made in four different states. This interactive discussion focused on state education leaders who have thought about this problem and created an environment that is receptive to a Digital Leap. Tune in to find out what these leaders are doing differently. Read this blog post to learn how the State of Utah provided support to its ed tech leaders.

Other CoSN Resources you may be interested in: Superintendent Self-AssessmentDistrict Leadership Team Assessment, CETL Certification Flyer, CTO Evaluation Rubric, CTO Interview Questions, CTO Job Description, CTO Self-Assessment, and References & Resources.