The CETL® program is the only practice-based accredited certification program available to education technology leaders that bridges technical knowledge, understanding of the educational environment, leadership and vision, and the management of technology and support resources needed to integrate technology across the curriculum to advance student outcomes.

The CETL® credential is a true measure of today’s education technology leaders, identifying those who have mastered the framework skills and knowledge needed to bring 21st-Century skills to schools. The CETL® program is also a professional development tool that can be used to guide edtech leaders' study of learning technologies. This certification requires satisfaction of eligibility criteria, passage of a rigorous multiple-choice exam, adherence to a Code of Conduct, and a recertification process every three (3) years.

To date, over 700 education technology leaders, in school systems and other education organizations around the world, and in companies serving those education organizations, have passed this rigorous program and earned their certification. More than half of CETL® certified educational technology leaders hold cabinet-level positions within their education organizations.

CoSN has worked closely with education organization executives and other stakeholders of education technology leaders to help those stakeholders understand the value and importance of the CETL®.

We have created an Administrators Guide with tips and information on how the CETL® program can help your district achieve its 21st-Century technology goals. The CETL® certification exam is based on CoSN’s Framework of Essential Skills of the K-12 CTO.


Superintendents who encourage (or require) their edtech leaders earn the CETL® credential report that:

  • Edtech leaders with the CETL® certification are consistently the most qualified, skilled, and knowledgeable education technology staff on their team.
  • Their edtech leaders who have earned the CETL® credential keep their organization current on the latest trends and best practices in education technology.
  • Supporting their ETLs’ pursuit of CETL® certification demonstrates a commitment to their employees’ professional growth and improves retention and performance.
  • The technology team’s skills are well matched to the job requirements of their positions.

Additionally, CoSN has been actively promoting the value of the CETL® to state departments of education and education service agencies in the USA through the State Partnership Program. CETL® Partnerships allow states to provide scholarships to their educational technology leaders for preparing for and taking the CETL® exam. In exchange, these states show their commitment to 21st-Century learning in their districts and are recognized for this forward-thinking commitment. CoSN also partners with educational service agencies to offer professional development and CETL® certification exam fees at reduced rates. In sum, the CETL® provides independent validation of the competencies necessary for success as an education technology leader, empowering employers to make informed decisions between candidates with diverse backgrounds.


Unique State Programs for Making the Digital Leap

Learn about how some states are making the digital leap by providing resources to districts in support of professional development and mentoring. CoSN hosted a webinar featuring efforts made in four different states. This interactive discussion focused on state education leaders who have thought about this problem and created an environment that is receptive to a Digital Leap. Read this blog post to learn how the State of Utah provided support to its edtech leaders.

Other CoSN Resources you may be interested in Superintendent Self-AssessmentDistrict Leadership Team AssessmentCTO Evaluation RubricCTO Interview QuestionsCTO Job DescriptionCTO Self-Assessment, and References & Resources.