I’ve heard less about New Year’s resolutions this December than I’ve heard in any year in recent memory. It seems as if almost everyone I know is far more concerned with the end of the world as we know it than with making positive changes in the coming year. Whether or not you spend December 31 in a survival bunker, my suggestion for you is to take one step toward becoming a better trainer next year. For some of you, I hope that step involves obtaining the Certified Technical Trainer (CTT) credential.
Many readers have already expressed interest in CTT. In this first of a series of articles on the CTT program, I’ll give you the history behind the program.
How did the CTT program come about?
The CTT program grew out of a collaboration between the Computer Education Management Association (CedMA) and the Information Technology Training Association (ITTA). The goal of this collaboration was to eliminate duplication and overlap between a number of different instructor credentials, thereby establishing a standard of excellence in training delivery. According to Judy Lauter, CTT Program Manager, CedMA and ITTA were hammering out a set of training standards when they came upon the work of the International Board of Standards for Training, Performance, and Instruction (ibstpi), a nonprofit entity founded in 1984 to promote excellence and consistency in training, performance, and instruction. The core training competencies of ibstpi became the cornerstone of CTT.

The Chauncey Group, an occupational assessment and testing organization that is a subsidiary of Educational Testing Services, was charged with administering the CTT program. Since its inception in 1996, over 4,000 trainers have become certified, with a sharp increase in growth over the last two years as more industries outside of the IT field have recognized the value of CTT certification. Lauren Hebert, who is responsible for CTT strategy and direction, said, “[CTT] has been seen as an answer to the demand for standards within the corporate sector and within training organizations,” she said. “Within five years,” she continued, “we want to be the worldwide standard for instructional performance, increase our work with different constituencies, and become better known internationally.”

Part of the strategy for reaching these goals is overcoming cross-cultural barriers between disciplines and countries. The recent increase in the number of certifications granted, coupled with increased acceptance in fields as diverse as manufacturing technology, project management, and human resources training, would indicate that the strategy is working.

Ensuring that CTT remains viable
The Chauncey Group is committed to ensuring that CTT remains viable as technologies of all types advance. The group uses a CTT survey (available on the Chauncey Group Web site) as the primary tool for maintaining contact with real-world trainers and the training community. The survey contains questions on the relevancy of all aspects of the test. So far, so good. According to Hebert, the data shows “no surprises at all,” so for now there are no plans to change or adjust the actual test content in any way.

Expanding CTT’s presence
In addition to promoting CTT through trade shows and conferences, the Chauncey Group is considering expanding CTT’s presence through third-party preparation of external courseware or training to help with the computer-based test and/or video performance preparation.

Hebert said the program is just showing the tip of the iceberg in terms of implementation in organizations and industries. She wants the CTT designation to be regarded as a benchmark of training excellence. She also encourages each and every trainer to view CTT as an adjunct to train-the-trainer programs and other developmental tools. “They’re all part of the equation,” she said. “We are here to stay, to deliver benefits and value, for now and for the future.”
In the second installment of this article, I’ll give you my perspective on the certification process, with some tips on preparing for and passing both the written test and the video performance assessment.

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.

If you have a technical certification you’d like to suggest for technical trainers, please let us know by posting your comments at the bottom of this page.