ITEC: The Certification for Intercultural Professionals
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 over 500 trainers who have completed the Crossing Cultures with Competence training of trainers program, and 300+ 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. Emerging interculturalists can use the ITEC framework to shape their learning and development, building their ePortfolio over time until they are ready to apply.
There are two ITEC certification levels:
- ITEC Certified Trainer – the practitioner has provided evidence in all knowledge and skill domains and is prepared to deliver intercultural services
- ITEC Certified Senior Trainer – the practitioner has provided evidence in all knowledge and skill domains and has (a) delivered extensive intercultural services and/or (b) has demonstrated thought leadership through writing, teaching, or training
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.