Leadership

Tips for becoming a Certified Technical Trainer (CTT)

With all the certifications available, here's one that's in many fields and shows you have the basic "trainer" skills needed to facilitate training. Bob Potemski discusses the program requirements for becoming a Certified Technical Trainer.

Last week I shared my enthusiasm for the Certified Technical Trainer (CTT) program. I work with high-powered trainers, and I know this certification will enhance my credibility as well as boost my self-confidence. In this article, I share my tips for CTT success so that you can benefit from this certification as well.
For a history of the Certified Technical Trainer program, read Bob Potemski’s first installment titled “Make a New Year's resolution to become a Certified Technical Trainer (CTT) .” In this article, Bob discusses the core competencies of the CTT program, as well as tips for completing the computer-based test and the video performance assessment; both of which are required to pass the CTT program.
Core competencies of the CTT program
The CTT program consists of the following 14 core competencies developed by the International Board of Standards for Training, Performance and Instruction (ibstpi):
  1. Making sure the trainer analyzes the course materials and information the students are to learn
  2. Assuring that the instructional site is properly prepared
  3. Establishing and maintaining your credibility as an instructor
  4. Managing the learning environment effectively
  5. Demonstrating effective communication skills as a whole
  6. Demonstrating effective presentation skills
  7. Demonstrating effective questioning techniques
  8. Responding to the students' needs for clarification and feedback in an appropriate manner
  9. Providing motivation and positive reinforcement
  10. Using appropriate instructional methods
  11. Making effective use of all media
  12. Evaluating the performance of the student
  13. Evaluating the quality of your own delivery
  14. Reporting evaluation information in an appropriate manner

The computer-based test covers all 14 competencies. The video test does not evaluate competency 2, preparation of the instructional site. After completing the taping process, the candidate fills out a form that tests competency 13, evaluation of the delivery of the instruction.

CTT preparation materials
You can download course preparation materials from The Chauncey Group , an occupational assessment and testing organization that administers the CTT program. Simply click on the Trainer Certification link in the program information list to get to the CTT page. You can download some of the material, such as the candidate bulletins, at no charge. Some study material is available at cost only. You can purchase The Standards, Vols. I and II, directly from The Chauncey Group.

What worked for me
The free candidate bulletins are a good introduction to the CTT program, but not enough information to study from. Of the items for sale, I found Volume I of the Standards and a videotape titled “Creating a Successful Videotape for the CTT Performance Assessment” the most useful. You’ll need the Standards book because it explains the 14 competencies in detail and gives examples of how they will be addressed on the computer-based test. The video is useful because it features clips from videos made by successful CTT candidates. A narrator tells you what to look for in each clip. Perhaps the most useful sections of the video are the "unsuccessful" clips, where veteran trainers reenact poor training techniques as a teaching tool. Some of the errors demonstrated are subtle, so pay attention—making some of these mistakes could mean the difference between "pass" and "try again."

Computer-based assessment
You must memorize the 14 competencies in order to pass the computer-based assessment. The test consists of 105 multiple-choice questions, and you will need to know which competency applies to each question. When I began the test, I wrote a short version of each competency on my one, allowed piece of scratch paper. You might want to do this when you take the test.

Video performance assessment
For the video assessment, the candidate submits a tape of an actual training session. I don’t recommend that you create a tape for the sole purpose of submitting it for consideration. Neither should you submit a tape of a session you agreed to teach at the last minute. Instead, arrange to tape an upcoming session that you are scheduled to teach.

Well before taping day, think through how you will demonstrate each of the competencies. For example, if you are teaching software and are switching from talking about a feature to demonstrating it, do something that shows that you realize that the environment has changed, such as inviting people in the back to sit closer, or dimming the lights. In a similar manner, plan ways to demonstrate your commitment to each competency listed.

Closing thoughts
If technical training is your career field, I encourage you to check out The Chauncey Group Web site and to at least review the free materials available on CTT. Even if you choose not to pursue certification at this time, you'll at least be more knowledgeable of the opportunity available to you and what the CTT certification requires. If you do go for it, please let me know how you do. You'll be not only a better trainer but also a more valuable one by virtue of holding a credential accepted across a variety of industries. Good luck.

Bob Potemski, MS, CTT, is a writer and trainer transplanted from New York. He and his five dogs now make their home in the Midwest. Bob has a bachelor’s degree in science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a master’s degree in counseling from Long Island University. He has spent the last 10 years working in human development.

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