+Preparing for the Exam

Purchase the new CETL Practice Examination.  This 89-item exam gives candidates the opportunity to simulate the experience of taking the actual CETL Examination, using the same system and software used for the CETL Exam. Once the practice examination has been completed, candidates will be able to see how they scored and the correct answers to each item.

There is no single "best" way to prepare for the CETL® exam, as each candidate's background, knowledge, and experience will differ. The CETL® exam tests the concepts found on the CETL® Exam Detailed Content Outline, which was derived from a job analysis that researched the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for an education technology leader to perform effectively. The job analysis research was also the primary driver of the CETL® K-12 CTO's Framework of Essential Skills Foundation Facilitated Online Course.

Before you pursue certification, you should be familiar with the scope and content of what is covered on the CETL® exam.  Please be sure to review our Detailed Content Outline for the program. Given that each candidate's background will be different, CoSN suggests you first take our Self-Assessment, which will help you identify the skill areas in which to concentrate your studies. Once you have gotten a sense of your knowledge levels, there are a number of ways to improve your skills.  No specific course of study is required or recommended.  CoSN has a variety of professional resources available.

  • Visit the CoSN Knowledge Center to review our library of resources available to education technology leaders. All of these resources are tied to content found on the Detailed Content Outline.
  • There is an additional resource, "Certified EdTech Leadership: The key to growing as a K12 CTO through standards-based best practices," prepared by Mike Daugherty, CETL®.
  • [To be posted soon] View our exam format sample to give you a sense of how the exam questions are structured. These are questions that were written by the CETL® item writing panel; however, none of these questions will appear on the actual exam. This is how the exam is structured.
  • Form a study group with members of your local CoSN Chapter or colleagues from your district.
  • Identify a mentor in the CTO field (especially a CETL®) willing to guide you with your studies.
  • CoSN has a number of online courses that address specific sets of knowledge and skills that may be covered on the exam.  For those seeking a broad overview, CoSN’s CETL® K-12 CTO's Framework of Essential Skills Foundation Course is available and focuses on the larger body of knowledge found in the Framework of Essential Skills.  This course is available in a variety of formats and is suitable for aspiring education technology leaders or those who may prefer a more structured approach to filling their knowledge gaps. Participating in this course does not guarantee qualifications to sit for the exam, nor does it guarantee success on the exam. For more information on these requirements, please read our FAQ or contact our Certification team.

Taking the Exam

More than 700 education technology leaders have earned the CETL® credential, from almost every state in the USA and around the world—and from a wide variety of sizes and locations of educational institutions, from mega-sized public school districts to small, independent schools, and from rural and urban areas. Over the lifetime of the program, 71% of first-time test takers have been successful on the multiple-choice exam.

Step 1: Apply to become a CETL® +USA


Once your payment and application have been received, it may take up to five (5) business days for your CETL® application to be reviewed and approved. After the review process is complete, you will receive an Authorization to Test email that will include your Eligibility ID# and instructions on how to make your personal testing appointment at any one of our testing centers worldwide. If you have any questions, email certification@cosn.org.