Magazine article Techniques

Certifying High-Quality CTE Educators

Magazine article Techniques

Certifying High-Quality CTE Educators

Article excerpt


THE ASSOCIATION FOR SKILLED AND TECHNICAL SCIENCES (ASTS) serves as the professional organization for Trade and Industrial Education (T&I) teachers. As part of its mission, ASTS is committed to providing leadership, voice and support for its membership. Nearly one year ago, driven by its concern that federal or state education agencies should not independently establish and dictate quality benchmarks for the T&I education profession, the ASTS Board of Directors (BOD) determined that it would be in the best interests of its membership to define what constitutes a high-quality career and technical education (CTE) educator.

Other professions have established criteria that identify the "gold standard" of professionalism in their industries (i.e., CPA for accountants, CSP for safety managers, etc.). But as noted by Thomas and Wingert (2010) posit, "In no other socially significant profession are the workers so insulated from accountability" (p. 25). To this end, ASTS felt immediate action was required. The ASTS BOD appointed a committee of five subject matter experts (SMEs) to develop a relevant and rigorous certification program for review by and approval of its membership.

Step One

The official process to establish a bona fide certification began in March 2010 with committee chair John Gaal, director of training and workforce development with the Carpenters' District Council of Greater St. Louis and Vicinity, contacting the Certified Career and Technical Educator (CCTE) committee members and providing them an overview and timeline for this project. As noted in the sidebar on page 42, the SMEs represented various aspects of the secondary and postsecondary CTE community impacted by a potential certification system: secondary education, higher education, and business and industry.

The committee focused on crafting a structure that would be inclusive of the CTE field. Initially, original documents only considered a system that certified one level of high-quality instructor/teacher. As e-mails were sent back and forth to all CCTE committee members, the types of certifications, rules, etc. developed in an iterative manner. Often, sticking points were resolved more efficiently by means of phone calls versus e-mails.

Accordingly, the CCTE committee "cast a wider net" to include educators (instructors/teachers and administrators) and all areas of CTE - not just T&I educators! In addition, it turned to other industry models to develop a two-tier certification system (e.g., American Welding Society's Certified Welding Inspector and Associate Certified Welding Inspector). When the ASTS BOD met in Kansas City for the SkillsUSA Convention in late June of 2010, the CCTE committee was prepared to present a two-tier system of certification for their consideration.

Step Two

At the June 2010 ASTS BOD meeting, the BOD instructed the CCTE committee to be "more inclusive" by adding a third tier to the certification process presented. The BOD supported the resulting structure, and recommended its approval by the ASTS membership. The three-tier certification program was adopted by the ASTS membership and presented, as follows:

Certified Career and Technical Educator (CCTE) Levels:

Master CCTE

(Platinum Portfolio- MCCTE)

* Higher Education: Possess at minimum an earned master's degree (i.e., M.S., M.A., M.Ed., MAT, etc.) from a regionally accredited institution;

* Pedagogy: Possess at minimum a current state teacher's license (permanent or lifetime) or one of the following nationally recognized credentials related to GTE: National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification or Praxis II;

* Occupational Technical Qualification: Possess a current professional industry-recognized credential (i.e., RN for nursing, U.S.-Department of Labor Journey worker certificate, etc. …

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