Google Certifications: Which is Right for Me?

Google has created a wonderful certification process that allows you to scaffold your learning. For instance, you don’t have to be a first adopter or a guru of all tools and all things Google to become certified. And with so many programs, features, and ongoing updates I have not met one person that knows EVERYTHING about Google, because Google is always changing features to better enhance the user experience -- which is what makes Google such a great classroom tool.

As a former high school business teacher, I remember the days when we would fight for our Microsoft Office Licensing because that’s what we had to teach. Back then Google couldn’t compare to the features offered by Office. Today is a different story, exemplified by the simple ability offered by Google Docs to automatically save, not to mention not having to deal with floppy disks that would get corrupted halfway through writing a 20-page essay, making you have to start over. (Showing my age here!)  I still work with business teachers, helping them understand the Google platform and how it compares to Office. The ability to perform most tasks is cross platform, it’s just a matter of where you find those features in each environment. The other issue we frequently dealt with was that “Microsoft is used in industry and we need to prepare our kids for that.” This is changing, however, as many businesses now use Google as their platform of choice.

Google Education offers the following certifications:

  • Certified Educator Level 1
  • Certified Educator Level 2
  • Certified Trainer
  • Certified Innovator

You can find more resources on the Google for Education Training Center at: https://edutrainingcenter.withgoogle.com/certification_faq

Let's take a deeper dive into each certification so you can find the one that meets your needs.

Google Certified Educator Level 1

Purpose:

Level 1 is a great starting point for educators who infuse Google tools into their classroom. This certification gives credit to the user who understands the importance of helping students learn tools that will be part of their future.

How It Works:

The exam has two components: multiple choice questions and a hands-on demonstration of your skill with Google for Education tools. I found it very helpful to go through the training modules provided in the Training Center, especially for the multiple choice questions. When taking the exam you will need to use an Incognito Window in a Google Chrome browser (File> New Incognito Window) and the device must have a working webcam. The exam must be completed in 180 minutes in one sitting as there is no way to pause the exam or come back and finish it later. Results are provided via email, usually within minutes of taking the exam.

Cost: $10

Google Certified Educator Level 2

Purpose:

This level of certification is designed for educators who go beyond the basics in their use of Google tools. The exam takes a deeper dive into the G Suite tools that are part of the education domain. The training module is helpful in getting a better understanding of the depth of these tools. By far, this exam did the most to open my eyes to the many G Suite features and depth to which these tools can go.

How It Works:

Just like Level 1, this exam has multiple choice and hands-on components. The time to complete the exam is 180 minutes and again requires an Incognito window in Google Chrome and must be completed in one sitting using a computer with a webcam.

Cost: $25

Google Certified Trainer

Purpose:

This certification is designed for leaders who plan to help get other educators onboard with Google. The program provides guidance on effectively infusing G Suite into classrooms and once the exam is passed, Google Certified Trainers gain access to materials that can be modified for their own training needs. The names of those who become certified are also added to the Google for Education Directory, found at: https://edudirectory.withgoogle.com/en

How It Works:

Passing Level 1 and Level 2 training is a prerequisite to signing up for the Certified Trainer exam. This exam is a 90 minute 25 question multiple choice assessment. Once you pass the test you must then submit an application and a three-minute video. The application asks you to list your last five G Suite training topics and dates along with a detailed dissection of one of those trainings describing what you learned. Using pre- and post-training results is a great way to demonstrate your learning experience as a presenter. The accompanying video should include a one-minute introduction and statement of why you want to become a certified trainer. The last two minutes should be a demonstration of you teaching how to use a G Suite tool. The evaluation of your application and video takes some time and it could be up to 6 weeks before you’re notified of your result. If you don’t get accepted in the first round, you will not need to pass the test again, just clean up your application and resubmit.

Cost: $15

Google Certified Innovator

Purpose:

This program is designed to support innovative projects and people who want to create projects to benefit a school or community, or to inspire others. The Innovator Program allows Google Certified Innovators to go onsite for a couple days and receive feedback from Googlers, Google Partners, and other Innovators to help improve a specific project. The program location changes quarterly and does have application deadlines. This is one of the best communities available for getting real feedback, gaining a better understanding of what innovation means, and discovering innovation happening around the world. If you decide to go for this certification, be sure to go big with your project and don’t hold back!  Enjoy the process as it is one of the best professional development opportunities I have had.

How It Works:

Becoming a Google Certified Innovator is an application process and does not require taking an exam, however passing Level 2 is a prerequisite. As part of the application, you will need to be able to define a project and its related goals, as well as explain the goals, potential outcomes, and the project’s intended impact. The last step in the application process is the creation of a three-minute video. This video includes a one-minute introduction and a two-minute opportunity to convince the committee that the project should be considered for Innovator Status. Once accepted into the program there will be quarterly project development check-ins, ongoing mentorship with an assigned mentor, and a final online project meetup.

Cost:  Free

Blake Everhart, Google Certified Innovator, Apple Teacher and the Technology Director for the Indiana Migrant Education Program.
Twitter: @TeCurator