4 Tips for Integrating Industry Certifications in CTE

Industry certifications are unique in offering value to students, professionals, schools and businesses. By earning an industry certification, students are preparing for their futures by strengthening their knowledge and skillset in a specific area.

Integrating industry certifications into CTE classes offers students the opportunity to advance in their career before entering the workforce. They can be easily integrated into your lesson plans, allowing students to earn certifications while completing regular coursework.

Danielle Johnson, agricultural teacher at Cookeville High School, has been integrating industry certifications hosted on the iCEV Certification Testing Platform for years. She has equipped countless students with the knowledge and skills needed to earn certifications. This blog highlights Johnson’s top 4 tips for integrating industry certifications within CTE.

Student Buy-in
When incorporating an industry certification into a course the most important step in ensuring student success is to obtain student buy-in. In a classroom setting, it is important for students to understand the “why” or value in earning a certification to get the most out of their learning experience. When explaining to students the value in the work and receiving a certification offer these points to help students visualize the short- and long-term benefits of earning a certification:

1.) Certifications add validation to content knowledge learned in the classroom

2.) They increase marketability when searching for jobs

3.) Offer potential for increased earnings

4.) Demonstrate academic performance

Share with your students the advantages of earning a certification and how they could use it in their current lives and future career. Certifications are impressive additions to any resume and speak volumes to employers looking for qualified and knowledgeable job candidates.

 Make it Fun
From a student perspective, earning an industry certificationto benefit their future can be overwhelming or hard to understand. To make the process of earning a certification more organic and engaging, use various teaching strategies to ensure time spent working on the certification is meaningful. One way to encourage time spent working on a certification is to incorporate certification work into everyday learning such as bell ringers or mini lessons.

Use blended learning techniques and personalize learning for students by tweaking and editing playlists on the iCEV platform to fit the individual needs of students. Teachers can also cover content in class related to certifications to increase mastery of topics and skills. When incorporating an industry certification into the CTE classroom, ensure the hands-on component that makes CTE impactful remains part of your student’s experience. Hands-on learning offers many benefits and when paired with a certification it can elevate students’ learning experiences.   

Setting Students Up for Success
Another key component of successfully integrating certifications into CTE classrooms is intentionally planning and communicating with your students. After obtaining buy-in, help students set goals and expectations by developing a timeline for when to have work completed each week. Include students in the decision-making process for deadlines to increase a sense of responsibility and ownership of their certification experience.

Other ways educators can intentionally set their students up for success is by picking certifications to match student interest. Time spent working on certifications in class should be an opportunity for students to work intentionally and ask questions. As students are working towards becoming certified, reward their successes along the way.

Rewarding Student Success
Rewarding student success is one of the best ways to encourage students to earn an industry certification. One way teachers can reward student success, if their school district allows, is to post on the department’s social media. Posting pictures of students with their certifications let’s community members celebrate students outside of school and develops morale around earning certifications. 

Other ways to celebrate student success can include having a party for students with food and drinks to celebrate their hard work or giving students chords to represent earning a certification to wear at graduation.

Industry certifications are developed by industry leaders, reflect the needs of real-world career expectations and distinguish individuals from their peers when applying for jobs. Because industry certifications are based on real-world industry standards, students who earn certifications are more likely to experience academic and career success. For more information on certifications or resources on how to successfully integrate industry certifications into your CTE classroom, visit our website to learn more. 

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