Intercultural Training Expertise Certification
The Intercultural Training Expertise Certification (ITEC) program establishes and advances the quality of intercultural training in the international sphere (e.g., global relocation, multi-national teams, international education), by (1) helping interculturalists communicate their level of preparedness to do intercultural training in the international sphere, and (2) helping those who hire interculturalists assess the preparedness of trainers.
Over the last 25 years, The Interchange Institute has been training and mentoring interculturalists around the globe, including almost 500 trainers who have completed the Crossing Cultures with Competence training of trainers program, and about 200 interculturalists who are part of its Culture Chat community. In addition, the Institute recently completed an industry-wide survey of how emerging and established interculturalists have built and nurtured their careers.
In short, we have a deep understanding of how established intercultural trainers have successfully built their practices, and of the needs of emerging interculturalists who are looking for guidance about how to build the expertise that is expected of them.
While national or international certification programs exist in many related professions (for example, coaching, language teaching, education, mental health, relocation), this same structured approach does not exist in the intercultural field. This is, perhaps, understandable because the field exists at the intersection of many sectors (corporate, education, medicine, missions, military, foreign service, humanitarian aid) and many national cultures’ educational systems.
The Interchange Institute’s Intercultural Expertise Certification (ITEC) program is designed to fill this gap. It has been developed in consultation with senior interculturalists and those who hire them. It uses the knowledge we have gained from our community of new and established trainers.
The ITEC is not a requirement for hiring, and hiring agencies may have requirements beyond those included in the ITEC (for example, intercultural living experience, masters degrees, years of experience). Rather, the ITEC is a way for interculturalists to signal their readiness to offer services efficiently and with transparency, confirmed by an independent non-profit organization, and those who hire intercultural trainers to have increased confidence in their hiring, backed up by our certification.
The ITEC is designed to evaluate an applicant’s expertise in four general Skill and Knowledge domains based on evidence of accomplished practice. The ITEC applicant must provide evidence in an ePortfolio for each of the four domains:
- Cultural Concepts and Competencies
- Training Expertise
- Understanding and Awareness of Bias
- Professional and Ethics Issues
They must also provide evidence in an ePortfolio of their preparedness in one or more specialty area(s):
- Personal and/or Workplace Support for International Living
- Multicultural Work Team
- Cultural Aspects of Language and Communication
- Intercultural Coach
Applications will be evaluated by the ITEC Review Board, which includes The Interchange Institute’s board members and outside senior members skilled and qualified in one or more ITEC specialty areas. All have been trained on the certification process and how to apply scoring rubrics to ePortfolio assessment.
While the certification review process occurs quarterly, some applicants may choose to open an ePortfolio and collect evidence over time, demonstrating competency as they acquire it. The application payment is not due until the point of submission.
The certification process includes a review of evidence for four general domains and one specialty area. Additional specialty areas can be added for an additional cost.
In recognition of the fact that interculturalists gain their expertise in many different ways, the application process allows for a range of options to demonstrate expertise. Applicants who believe they have gained important insight and skill in a domain in a way that is not listed here are encouraged to include that, with a rationale, in their portfolio.