ACTE November/December2011 : Page 21

A By SUSAN REESE dence they need to enter the workforce or to go on to pursue postsecondary educa-tion or additional certifications. Mastercam is another company with a certification program designed to give students an extra edge with employers and, as the company notes, increases your school’s value to the local community. When a school is recognized as providing valuable skills along with the credentials to back up those skills, more students will be attracted to the program. As the company’s Web site points out, while certification was originally meant to create a benchmark for schools, many programmers see certification as a way to validate the skills they know. Mastercam describes its certification program as a rig -orous set of practical tests that recognize a programmer’s knowledge and ability to work effectively with Mastercam CAM software, overcome common issues facing today’s shops, and produce high-quality finished parts. According to the company, its certification program has additional flexibility for students and schools since it can be used as an online training course and can be worked into a dual-credit pro-gram. Mastercam instructor certification classes are now available online as well. ccording to Webster’s Diction-ary , a credential is something that gives a title to credit or confidence. The certifi -cates and diplomas earned in career and technical education (CTE) are providing students with both the credits to help them find success in the workplace or in further education, as well as the confi -dence of knowing they have the skills that are needed. There are a number of ways that CTE students are earning these cre-dentials. For example, NOCTI provides more than 170 standardized assessments in occupations that range from culinary to building trades to business to manu-facturing. (For more information about NOCTI, see the article on page 30 in this issue of Techniques. ) “As NCCER notes, these industry credentials give employers confidence in a craft professional’s skill, knowledge and desire for continuous improvement, and they provide those who earn them with portable, industry-recognized credentials.” credentials designed for Success As Autodesk notes, career and technical education programs across the United States equip students with marketable 2-D and 3-D design skills by teaching them to use state-of-the-art design software such as that offered by Autodesk. AutoCAD Certified User and Autodesk Inventor Certified User credentials include both academic and industry requirements in attainable certifications designed specifi -cally for students. According to Autodesk, the exams combine multiple-choice and performance-based questions to ensure students understand and can effectively use the company’s software. Through the Autodesk Education Community, students and educators also have the opportunity to get free software, learning materials and classroom support. Autodesk notes that not only do these credentials confirm that students have the necessary skills to continue their design careers, but it also gives students the confi -www.acteonline.org constructing credentials for Success The National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) maintains a credentialing and certifica -tion system through its National Registry, which tracks both training and/or assess-ments for its participants. For training, the National Registry provides transcripts, certificates and wallet cards to students who complete the company’s curriculum through an NCCER Accredited Train-ing Sponsor, making it easy to provide verification of their training to current or potential employers. For assessments, cer-tification of an individual’s qualifications is tracked through the National Registry, and credentials include certification of successful completion of the written assess-ment for a craft; performance verification for a craft; and certified-plus for successful completion of both the written assess-ment and the corresponding performance verification. Among the NCCER certifications is the Mobile Crane Operator Certification Program, in which students can earn 13 equipment-specific certifications. There is also a Rigger and Signal Person Certifica -tion Program that includes three levels of rigger certifications (basic, intermedi -ate and advanced), as well as a signal person certification. As NCCER notes, these industry credentials give employ-ers confidence in a craft professional’s skill, knowledge and desire for continuous improvement, and they provide those who earn them with portable, industry-recog-nized credentials. When the Home Builders Institute (HBI) established its Residential Con-struction Academy (RCA) initiative in 2001, it was intended to bridge the critical N ovember/december 2011 Techniques 21

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