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What You Should Know about CRLA Certification
By: Marissa Bastian on Mar 15, 2021 2:00:02 PM
In the world of learning assistance and academic support there are several professional organizations who work to advance the field and support the professionals therein.
If you aren’t familiar with the College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA), it is one of the leading professional organizations for the field of learning assistance. For over fifty years, CRLA has been the go-to organization for learning assistance and developmental education professionals, faculty, and practitioners. CRLA serves as a resource for and intersection of peer education and developmental education, serving its members by sharing the knowledge of practitioners and researchers from these fields.
What is the International Peer Tutor Program Certification?
In addition to providing Special Interest Groups, an annual conference, and other professional development opportunities, CRLA also offers the International Tutor Training Program Certification (ITTPC) and the International Peer Educator Training Program Certification (IPTPC). These two certifications are available to those who want to certify their tutor and peer educator training programs — they are the hallmark of CRLA.
For over 35 years, CRLA’s ITTPC has been the premier certification for tutor training programs. Certifying your tutor training program can be extremely beneficial for a variety of reasons. Firstly, certifying the training that you put your tutors through shows them that what they’re learning is valuable, it provides recognition for them accomplishing training, and it offers incentive for resume building. Of particular importance to tutoring program directors, “CRLA's tutor training program certification process sets an internationally-accepted standard of skills and training for tutors” (CRLA). Having set skills, training topics, and established standards for training provides tutoring program administrators with critical guidance for how to structure and deliver their tutor training.
If you’re unfamiliar with ITTPC, you can think about it like accreditation for your institution. When applying for certification, you complete an application that requires you to address all facets of your tutoring program: from how you hire your tutors and how you deliver your training to how you track tutoring hours and how you evaluate your tutors each year. Much like with accreditation, there are several standards and requirements that must be met before your tutor training program can be approved. The ITTPC reviewers are themselves trained (much like accrediting committees) and have directed their own CRLA-certified training programs, so they can ensure all approved programs have been rigorously vetted for quality.
It’s important to note that ITTPC does not certify the tutor trainers or tutors themselves, as do other organizations of the Council of Learning Assistance and Developmental Education Associations (CLADEA). Rather, ITTPC certifies the training program itself, allowing you to recognize your peer tutors as long as they have met all of the requirements of your program and CRLA standards (hiring, training, tutoring hours, evaluation, etc.). CRLA and ITTPC take a holistic approach to tutor training to ensure that both breadth and depth are addressed when training collegiate peer tutors.
What are the Benefits of Having a Certified Training Program?
There are myriad reasons why certifying your tutor training program can be beneficial to your overall center and programming. These range from benefitting individual tutors to the program coordinator and directors to the centers themselves and even the institution as a whole.
Having a certified training program can significantly help when trying to garner buy-in and support from your institution’s faculty and administration. Faculty are likely to have more confidence in your tutoring program if they know that not only tutors are trained but that their training is certified by an external organization. Some faculty may have concerns about the efficacy of peer tutoring — knowing that tutors are trained based on best practices and international standards will help you garner trust and support from your faculty across disciplines.
While tutors might not be excited to participate in training in the moment, they appreciate the addition to their resume. Framing your certified training as a professional development opportunity and resume builder is a great way to amass tutor buy-in and active participation. As graduating tutors will find, many professional fields and industries are extremely competitive for even entry-level positions, so having an item in their resume about completing certified training for a paraprofessional role can make a difference to a recruiter. Over the years, many tutors return from interviews saying that the hiring manager asked questions about their role as a tutor — which was listed on their resume; some have even shared that they were told their experience as a tutor was one of the reasons they were hired.
Furthermore, certifying your tutor training adds increased quality and panache to your overall tutoring program. With certification, your training program provides a value add that other tutoring services on your campus may not offer; this differentiates your program and may be the X factor that encourages more students to seek help from your tutors and inspires more faculty to be confident in recommending your program to their students.
How to Incorporate Knack’s Training Modules into Your Certification Application
Since the fall of 2018, Knack has been a formal CRLA partner, participating in the CRLA Annual Conference and offering professional development webinars. The partnership also underscores the importance of tutor training and ITTPC certification through CRLA’s endorsement of Knack’s tutor training modules. These four self-paced, web-based modules align with Level 1 training topics and can be part of your application for ITTPC Level 1.
If you have included Knack’s training modules as part of your tutor training program, then you can indicate this when assembling your ITTPC application. We should note that there are a limited number of hours that can be delivered asynchronously for each level of certification. For Level 1, which Knack’s modules support, training programs can allow up to 4 of the tutor’s 10 training hours to be delivered asynchronously.
A great way to make the training modules more interactive (and synchronous, tutor-trainer led) is to incorporate them into your own training sessions. By going through the modules live with tutors (even virtually) you are achieving the preferred synchronous element while also utilizing content that you didn’t have to create yourself.
Having a CRLA-certified tutor training program can help bring your center and tutors to the next level. You can review the requirements for applying for CRLA’s ITTPC here.
For more information about Knack’s CRLA-endorsed tutor training modules, click here. These modules are available to any institution of higher education at no cost.
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