The Framework of Essential Skills of the K-12 CTO is comprised of three primary professional categories that sum up the work you do in the education technology field. These categories encompass 10 specific skill areas which outline the responsibilities and knowledge needed to be a viable educational technology leader.

The Framework is the body of knowledge upon which CoSN’s CETL® exam is based and the guide to everything a successful CTO needs to know and do. All of CoSN's professional resources are based on the Framework.

The ten skill areas include:

  • Leadership and Vision Provide leadership while working with the executive team to develop a strategic plan that will support the organization's mission, vision, and goals with technology.
  • Strategic Planning Possess a high-level view across the organization and work with teams to identify steps needed to transform the educational and operational technology vision into a strategic plan in alignment with the organization's mission, vision and goals.
  • Ethics and Policies Manage the creation and implementation of policies and procedures relating to the social, legal, and ethical issues involving technology use throughout the organization and modeling responsible decision-making.
  • Instructional Focus and Professional Development Budget, plan, and coordinate ongoing, relevant professional learning for all staff using technologies; ensure or recommend a sufficient budget through the implementation and assessment process of emerging technologies.
  • Team Building and Staffing Create and support collaborative teams for decision-making, technology support and professional learning in support of the organization's mission, vision, and goals.
  • Information Technology Management Lead the integration of technology into all appropriate areas of the organization.
  • Communication Systems Management Use technology to improve communication and collaboration with stakeholders.
  • Business Management Manage the budget and serve as strong business leader who guides purchasing decisions, and fosters mutually beneficial relationships with vendors, potential funders, and other key groups.
  • Data Management Implement and maintain systems and tools for gathering, mining, integrating, and reporting data.
  • Data Privacy and Security Implement practices and systems to ensure the privacy and security of organizational data.  

The CoSN Framework of Essential Skills focuses on individual skills while the CoSN Digital Leap Success Matrix focuses on infrastructure and environmental variables. This Framework was last updated in December 2018.

Download full Framework