Value of the CETL®, Corporate Leaders

The CETL is the first-ever aspirational certification for education technology leaders. It is based on a body of knowledge defining the skill areas critical to today’s education technology leaders: leadership and vision; understanding the educational environment; and managing technology and support resources. Specifically, the CETL is a rigorous, two-part exam that identifies those who have mastered the framework skills and knowledge needed to bring 21st century skills to schools. The exam is a true measure of today’s education technology field. 


Individuals serving in the corporate community who have successfully completed the CETL or participed in CETL training programs have reported that they have a much greater understanding of the challenges face by k-12 ed-tech leaders.  These skills have allowed them to better prepare to meet the needs of their customers.


To date, over 400 education technology leaders, in school systems nationwide and in companies serving those districts, have passed this rigorous program and earned their certification, with more in the pipeline. More than half of CETL-certified educational technology leaders hold district, cabinet-level positions. For the past couple of years, CoSN has worked closely with district technology leaders to help them understand the value and importance of the CETL. Superintendents who have encouraged CETL certification have reported that: 


  • Stakeholders see that they are committed to the highest standards in administration.
  • They hire and promote only the most skilled and knowledgeable education technologists.
  • Their districts keep current on latest trends and best practices in education technology.
  • Asking for CETL demonstrates commitment to their employees’ professional growth.
  • The technology team skills are well matched to the job requirements of their positions.


Eligibility Requirements to sit for the CETL® Exam

Candidates must have a minimum of a Bachelor's degree plus four (4) years of education technology experience. Education technology experience is defined as demonstrable experience in the three overarching skill areas of the Framework of Essential Skills of the K-12 CTO: Leadership and Vision, Understanding the Educational Environment and Managing Technology and Support Resources.

In 2017, the Certification Governance Committee clarified that individuals do not need to be currently employed by a School District to sit for the CETL Exam. Individuals currently working in industry who have at least 4 years of  past experience working in a school district or for a private school are eligible to sit for the CETL Exam.  There are no restrictions on participating in CoSN online courses including CETL Foundation courses designed to assist individuals in preparing for the CETL Exam.

If candidates do not meet the minimum education requirements, they must have at least seven (7) years of demonstrable experience. To be deemed eligible using these criteria, candidates must appeal in writing to the Certification Governance Committee (CGC) with an explanation of their experience.  We encourage candidates to clarify their elgibility prior to taking a CETL Foundation course. Please contact our Certification Department for more information.

CETL Resources

Other CoSN Resources you may be interested in: Superintendent Self-AssessmentDistrict Leadership Team AssessmentCTO Evaluation RubricCTO Interview QuestionsCTO Job Description and CTO Self-Assessment.