- Now What? Becoming an IT Trainer and the CTT+ Certification
- What Makes a Good Trainer?
- What Is a Good Teaching Philosophy?
- What Is the CTT+ Certification?
What Is the CTT+ Certification?
The CTT+ is a multivendor, cross-industry certification available to all training professionals who provide technical instruction and education. Like everything in IT, it has gone through changes since its inception. The Chauncey Institute originally administered the CTT program. In 2001, the CTT program was acquired by CompTIA, and the CTT certification became the CTT+ certification. The CTT+ was initially created through the collaborative efforts of the Information Technology Training Association, Inc. (ITTA) and the Computer Education Management Association (CedMA). The CTT+ was developed to help define and establish professional standards throughout the technical training industry. In as much as it is a cross-industry certification, it is a certification that training professionals in industries other than IT are also attracted to.
Why Pursue the CTT+ and What Are the Benefits?
When the CTT+ was rolled out several years ago, it was this question that I wrestled with the most. I already had the Microsoft MCT and Novell's CNI, so I kept asking: Why bother? There were two reasons I decided to earn the CTT+:
This is a multivendor, cross-industry certification that is not managed by a vendor with a profit motive. The CTT+ would open other doors.
Because I was a Novell CNI and Microsoft MCT, I was grandfathered into the original CTT program and again into CompTIA's CTT+ certification. Based on my Novell and Microsoft credentials, I did not have to take any additional tests. All I had to do was apply and provide proof of my vendor-based training certifications. I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.
There is a bit of good news for those who are entering the training field and who are not being grandfathered in. Vendors such as Novell, Microsoft, and Prosoft are endorsing and recognizing the CTT+ certificate as a substitute for their own trainer requirements. The CTT+ certificate provides industry-wide recognition that the trainer has attained a standard of excellence in the technical training industry. If you earn the CTT+ certification, you have to do only a little administrative paperwork to teach authorized Microsoft, Novell, and Prosoft curricula. See each vendor's Web site for full details.
You can find detailed information about CompTIA's CTT+ certification at www.comptia.org/certification/cttplus/index.htm.
What Are the Requirements to Earn the CTT+?
The first requirement for the CTT+ certificate is the following:
The trainer must pass a computer-based test that assesses knowledge of the 14 Core Competencies defined by the International Board of Standards for Training, Performance and Instruction, also known as the ibstpi Standards. The computer-based CTT+ knowledge examination consists of 105 multiple-choice questions based on the 14 ibstpi competencies. Candidates have 105 minutes to complete the examination. The 14 competencies are as follows:
- Analyze Course Materials and Learner Information
- Assure Preparation of the Instruction Site
- Establish and Maintain Instructor Credibility
- Manage the Learning Environment
- Demonstrate Effective Communication Skills
- Demonstrate Effective Presentation Skills
- Demonstrate Effective Questioning Skills and Techniques
- Respond Appropriately to Learner's Needs for Clarification and Feedback
- Provide Positive Reinforcement and Motivational Incentives
- Use Instructional Methods Appropriately
- Use Media Effectively
- Evaluate Learner Performance
- Evaluate Delivery of Instruction
- Report Evaluation Information
Those who have ever taught for one of the public school districts in the U.S. recognize these standards as the basis for yearly teacher evaluations. They are a common sense list of what makes a good teacher.
The best textbook that I have seen for preparing for the CTT+ written exam is How to be a Successful Technical Trainer by Keys and Zeff. It is an excellent prep source for the written exam, although lacking when it comes to the video presentation.
The second requirement is the following:
The trainer must pass a performance assessment via videotape, in which the trainer demonstrates the skills set forth in the 14 ibstpi Standards. The videotape is 20 minutes long, and depicts an actual instructional performance. Professionals trained to evaluate the instructor's performance review the videotape. Additionally, the candidate must also complete and submit a written Videotape Documentation Form to provide additional information about the instructional performance. The best way to prepare for the videotape evaluation is to find a trainer who will let you teach a topic or two in front of a live class. Then, let the class and the trainer comment on your presentation based on the 14 Standards. You only learn to teach by teaching.
The CTT+ should not be looked at as an easy back door into the technical trainer profession. The written exam is very challenging, and the videotape is evaluated with great care. The advantage of the CTT+, once completed, is that it opens a door to several vendor-training options.