Course Administration FAQs
- What are the latest versions of the instructor materials for the Certification and Renewal Testing Courses?
- How much flexibility does the instructor team have in scheduling a certification course?
- As the lead instructor, what are my best sources of information on managing a Certification or a Renewal Testing Course?
- I want to offer a course with just one instructor. Is that even a possibility?
- I want to offer a Certification course with a minimum of two instructors. I know it will be challenging. What tips do you have?
- I would like to do a 3-day class, which I understand is the minimum. Do you have any tips to help it run smoothly?
- An interested co-worker is curious and wants to audit a certification course. Can she just sit in or does everyone who attends the course have to be on the roster?
- What is the pre-course Instructor meeting?
- How do I calculate instructor teaching hours?
- What happens if a student can't do the actual installations due to a physical restriction?
- A student doesn't show up to the checkup event and I find out from another student that there was a family emergency. As lead instructor, what are my options?
- How much supervision is needed to evaluate a technician candidate’s participation at the course checkup event?
- What are the options if a student fails the course?
- Does our teaching team have to use the PPTs when we teach the content car side?
- What is a Course Administrator?
- How long should the Lead Instructor keep paperwork from a CPST Certification course (e.g. teaching hour allocation, written and skills assessments) in case there is an issue or desk audit?
- Can I get instructor teaching hours for a technical update?
- What is the best way to conduct a quiz review?
1. What are the latest versions of the instructor materials for the Certification and Renewal Testing Courses?
The standardized courses were updated in January 2020. Each instructor and instructor candidate is provided one Instructor Guide.
The additional course materials, including the course prep guides (Certification and Renewal Testing Course), course management forms, quizzes and hands-on assessments must be downloaded.
To download the instructor materials, log into your Online Profile. Click on Instructor Downloads, being sure to note/copy the password. Log into the CPS Board site and download the materials.
The Technician Guide is available for download.
Instructors can purchase a USB with the updated curriculum using this order form.
2. How much flexibility does the instructor team have in scheduling a certification course?
You have ALL KINDS of flexibility when designing your course agenda! The only requirement is that there is a maximum of 10 hours per day and the course be completed in less than 6 months. Non-consecutive days may be an option if you are trying to recruit from agencies that are not able to have staff out of the office or field through consecutive days. If you do choose non-consecutive days, please consider storage for equipment and adding extra time for review to increase the ability of participants to successfully complete the course.
Instructors have the discretion to adjust time frames on the agenda for presentations, activities, assessments, breaks, and lunch times as these are decisions based on factors such as the number of participants, classroom logistics, and weather conditions. While Instructors cannot add or delete information from the course, they can add time to modules if class size or other circumstances warrant. Instructors may adjust the sample agendas provided in the instructor curriculum. Lead Instructors should adjust the agenda to fit their needs, however, content must be taught completely.
3. As the lead instructor, what are my best sources of information on managing a Certification or a Renewal Testing Course?
The Policies and Procedures Manual and Certification Course Planning and Logistics Guide (available under Resources-FAQs/Forms, and the Renewal Testing Course Instructor Prep Guide, which provides answers to most course-related questions.
4. I want to offer a course with just one instructor. Is that even a possibility?
All Policies and Procedures topics can be submitted for review using the Appeals form. One example of this would be to request permission to offer a course with just one instructor. The rationale for the 2-instructor requirement is to help ensure a quality course for the students. Safe Kids, NHTSA, and the National CPS Board are in unanimous agreement that team teaching is beneficial for the learning experience of the students.
In our continuing effort to be more responsive to the needs of people living in, or serving, rural communities, (i.e. technician proxy) the following was developed by the CPS Board and approved by Safe Kids. Any Lead Instructor requesting permission to provide a Certification or Certification Renewal Testing Course taught by a single Lead Instructor must submit an appeal with the following information:
- Written confirmation from the State CPS Training contact that they approve the LI offering a course(s) alone
- A brief explanation of how the LI has reached out to other instructors for assistance
- The name of at least one Technician Assistant who will be helping out with the course behind the scenes (no teaching)
- Agreement that the course will be limited to no more than 5 students
- The # of courses requested (no more than 3 over a one-year time limit)
- How the LI will assist the new technicians in serving their communities once they are nationally CPS certified
As with all appeals, members of the National Child Passenger Safety Board and state CPS training contact may be consulted. Should this be the case, no identifying information will be provided to any member of the board or the CPS community.
5. I want to offer a Certification course with a minimum of two instructors. I know it will be challenging. What tips do you have?
- Site Help: Have a course administrator on site. With just two instructors, the Lead won’t have time to handle site-related issues such as A/C, parking or dealing with caregivers who walk in for help.
- Experience: The course will go much smoother if you are teaching with an instructor that you have taught with before and whom your teaching styles flow together. This only comes with experience working together.
- Tech Assistants: Utilize local technicians as tech assistants. They can help an instructor set up activities and manage local logistics such as ordering food, making copies, setting up or taking appointments the checkup event, or organizing the classroom materials. They can’t teach or lead activities.
- Site Logistics: Make sure the site is perfect…plenty of room to work, a close walk to get from the classroom to the vehicles and extra training equipment. Consider bringing in lunch or choosing a site close to lunch options to avoid delays.
- Add time: Schedule a lot of extra time. Add extra time to allow the instructors to set up activities. Consider a 4-day course.
- Recovery: Schedule the course towards the end of the week or have a day off, after. You will be exhausted by the end of it!
6. I would like to do a 3-day class, which I understand is the minimum. Do you have any tips to help it run smoothly?
- Start Small: Start out with a small class (6-10 technician candidates) to get the rhythm and experience of a 3-day course.
- The training facility should have easy access to the parking area to minimize the time from classroom to outside activities and back. Consider a facility that has a connected garage or overhang so that weather is less of a factor in adjusting or slowing down the schedule.
- Pick a location close to places for lunch. Travel for lunch can take more time than expected, causing delays. Providing food or box lunches can help maintain a tight schedule. This could be covered by requiring a local fee to cover lunch and snacks.
- Technician Candidate Recruitment: Take care when recruiting students. People who have been out of school for a while and are not accustomed to the physical demands and test-taking skills may be very challenged and intimidated by the structure of a 3-day class.
- Expectations: Before the course starts, or before they are approved if the course is controlled, be very clear in writing about expectations before and during the course.
- A 3-day course may be great for technician candidates who are used to participating in training that involve longer days, physical skills and taking tests.
- Potential students should know in advance that the class is fast-paced and may run late. This may impact child care, so they should plan for that time.
- Instructor Team: The team needs to be crystal clear on their responsibilities and assignments to maintain the schedule and make time for those technician candidates that may need additional help.
- Have more instructors than the recommended 5:1 ratio, or choose days for additional instructors to help assure skills testing and hands-on activities are run on time.
- Consider assigning instructors for each activity with the same small group of students. This builds camaraderie and encourages discussion as they check in with each other regularly during and following the class.
- Technician Assistants: Experienced technicians to help with setting up the classroom and activities, running between inside and outside activities. They can also help by managing logistics such as ordering food, making copies, setting up or taking appointments for the checkup event. They can’t teach or lead activities.
- Breaks: Although it is a tight schedule be sure to schedule adequate breaks. Don’t skimp on breaks to try and save time.
- Refresh: Schedule the course towards the end of the week or have a day off, after. You will be exhausted by the end of it!
- Evaluate: Get the team together and discuss what went well and what would we want to tweak next time.
7. An interested co-worker is curious and wants to audit a certification course. Can she just sit in or does everyone who attends the course have to be on the roster?
Only registered students whose names appear on the official roster may attend a Certification course. Interested bystanders are not allowed to sit in or audit a course, even if they have no desire to become certified. Courses are open only to students who have registered, paid their fee and appear on the roster. This is in accordance with the National Child Passenger Safety Board policies and procedures: The Lead Instructor is responsible for making sure the roster accurately reflects all students and instructor team, including Instructor Candidates, by the end of the first day of the course.
Allowing a non-paying attendee to participate in the class increases the student to instructor ratio and takes instructor time away from paying students.
8. What is the pre-course Instructor meeting?
The pre-course instructor meeting is required. The Lead Instructor should have at least one conference call or meeting a couple of weeks before the course with the entire team (instructors, mentors, instructor candidates, and tech course assistants) to make sure that everyone is prepared and understands their role. A full instructor meeting should take place at LEAST the day before the course and include all instructors and tech course assistants. At the meeting, the team should:
- Confirm all instructors (including mentors and ICs) appear on the course profile
- Go over the detailed agenda
- Review the layout of the classroom
- Plan/review all hands-on activities, test situations
- Review general course administration
All members of the team should know what to expect and have a clear idea of the game plan for the entire course. All instructors on the teaching team need to be prepared to teach the whole course in case there is an emergency and they need to fill in. The team should also go over the various exam guidelines, discuss "what if" scenarios and plan for a test reading room.
The team should help set up the room and familiarize themselves with the equipment computers, course materials and child restraints. Every person on the team should feel included and ready for the days ahead. A well-led and organized team will be ready to handle unexpected situations with flexibility and trust.
9. How do I calculate instructor teaching hours?
Additional detail on calculating teaching hours are available on our website.
Teaching hours are automatically tracked by the system when the Lead Instructor enters the teaching hours during the course finalization process. Individual instructors are not responsible for inputting their own teaching hours.
Hours are assigned to the first day of the course, regardless of when the course was finalized. This standardizes teaching hours allocation for recertification.
Teaching hours are based on the number of hours of lecture and participation in hands-on skills exercises and skills testing. Just being in the classroom does not qualify for teaching hours except in the case of the Lead Instructor or Mentor as detailed in the Admin/Lead Instr: After the Course section. You do not need to round to the nearest whole hour.
Calculation of instructor teaching hours:
- Example 1: You were an instructor with no lecture time, but participated in eight hours of hands-on work. You earned eight teaching hours.
- Example 2: You were an instructor with five hours of lecture and 10 hours of hands-on work (includes 3 hours working with students at the checkup). You earned 15 teaching hours.
At the end of the course, the Lead Instructor must enter in teaching hours for each member of the instructor team. As this can be time-consuming, the LI should consider calculating them after every day of class.
The LI should be very sure of their calculations before entering them into the online system. The LI might choose to verify with the team the number of hours prior to submitting them. This avoids surprises and ensures accuracy. Once they are submitted, they are applied to each CPSC's online profile.
What counts for teaching hours?
- Teaching a chapter
- Co-teaching a chapter (both are active lecturers)
- Leading a classroom exercise
- Participating in an outside activity/skills test
- Actual time at checkup event (while students are checking seats) - e.g. 12 noon to 3 pm
What does not count for teaching hours?
- Back up for a colleague (following along in the book, etc.)
- Adding a comment to the teaching instructor's presentation
- Proctoring the written tests
- Setting up a classroom activity
- Setting up an outside activity
- Setting up the checkup event
- Breaking down checkup event
10. What happens if a student can't do the actual installations due to a physical restriction?
Should any student require assistance with the physical requirements of the course, they should talk with the Lead Instructor. The instructor team may accommodate the student by assigning an instructor to install seats following the student's specific instruction in each step of the selection, direction, and location process.
11. A student doesn't show up to the checkup event and I find out from another student that there was a family emergency. As the lead instructor, what are my options?
If the team agrees, contact the student and make arrangements for the student to complete another checkup event (of fitting station) that is scheduled within 2 weeks and supervised by a member of the instructor team. If they can't meet that requirement, of if the team chooses not to provide a later event, provide the Fee Refund Form (available under Resources-FAQs/Forms). Additional details in the Checkup Event Guidelines (available under on your instructor CD).
12. How much supervision is needed to evaluate a technician candidate's participation at the course checkup event?
Completing the checkup event requires the student to participate in at least a two-hour event with an instructor from the certification course roster directly observing the technician candidate.
The instructor must be able to sign off that the family was provided appropriate recommendations and the family is able to demonstrate that they are confident and competent to install their children's seat properly. This includes the whole process from introduction through selection, direction, location, and installation. The Instructor should then provide constructive feedback in this learning experience. Generally, there should be at least 1 Instructor to every 5 technician candidates.
It is not appropriate to allow the technician candidate to perform these tasks independent of direct supervision, i.e. a student works independently and then an instructor comes along to sign off that student. The seat installation may be correct but the information or how the family was educated is unknown. Once the student has become certified and is comfortable with their technical and communication skills, they will perform their responsibilities, and if possible, have a second pair of eyes check the installation and paperwork.
13. What are the options if a student fails the course?
When teaching a CPS Course, there are times when students fail the written exams or a skills evaluation. This situation should be handled delicately in order to preserve their privacy and avoid any possible embarrassment or ridicule for the student. The instructor team should discuss what they will do in advance of the class, at their pre-course meeting, so everyone on the instructor team is on the same page. Upon receiving a failing grade, the LI should talk with the student in private about their scores and discuss their options for the rest of the class. Though they did not pass, they likely still learned a great deal and can support CPS efforts in their community.
There are several basic options that can be made available to the student. The student paid for the course is welcome to stay in the course with only the instructor team knowing that they will not pass, keeping their manual. The first option is for the student to stay for the remainder of the course even though he/she will not get certified at the end. That student could act as a scribe for the check-up event. The student could choose to leave immediately, stay through the next break or stay until the end of the day. This would allow them to quietly leave without feeling like they are being singled out as failing the class. When the instructor meets with the student to discuss the score and course options, ask how they would like the team to answer questions, if they choose to quietly leave the class. The final option is that student may wish to leave because of an “illness” or “family emergency.” Do your best to work with the student to ensure a smooth transition.
Whatever the choice the student selects, grades are confidential and the team must be careful not to single them out.
14. Does our teaching team have to use the PPTs when we teach the content car-side?
The instructor team is encouraged to teach as much as they can hands-on in the vehicle. For courses with a great logistical setup, lots of vehicles, and a variety of child restraints, this is definitely doable and a great way to meet the needs of many adult learners. If you are teaching a course at a site with some restrictions, such as having to go out into a parking lot that is far away, or you have only a few available vehicles (belt system types), you may need to go over the slides and then move out to the vehicles, teaching in the more conventional way.
No matter how you teach the content, you must go over the slides in the classroom. This assures that all students get the same basic information.
15. What is a Course Administrator?
Anyone can apply to be a Course Administrator (CA). This is someone who wants to be able to Add Courses online. The CA is, by default, whoever adds the course online. They can do anything the Lead Instructor can do except finalize the course. They also do not get emailed notifications of registration requests for controlled courses. Those go to the Lead Instructor.
Certified Instructors are already able to add courses. This is an option for non-instructors. Check out the simple application.
16. How long should the Lead Instructor keep paperwork from a CPST Certification course (e.g. teaching hour allocation, written and skills assessments) in case there is an issue or desk audit?
Courses are subject to a desk audit, at which time the course paperwork and finalization is reviewed. The course finalization is the official course grading and teaching hours record but the Lead Instructor should keep the paperwork for one certification cycle, 2 years, in case there is a desk audit, appeals, complaints or other course concerns. Many Leads chose to scan and save the course documentation rather than keeping the hard copies. The course record of the class could include the finalization form indicating instructor teaching hours, the roster of the course with the completion of scores, instructor skills log form, Candidate score sheet, Skills Assessments, Course evaluations, daily self-assessments by students, and an instructor team summary of the course. The summary of the course could include any issues or concerns that occurred during the course and how they were corrected or resolved.
Keep the log of teaching hours, such as your notes on an agenda or Excel worksheet. These notes should also be kept for 2 years.
Checklists, as legal documents, should be kept for three years. At Safe Kids, we scan the checklists and keep them stored digitally.
17. Can I get instructor teaching hours for a technical update?
Instructors must provide a minimum of 20 hours of lecturing and hands-on in Certification Courses during the current two-year certification cycle. At least 10 of the 20 hours must be earned through lecturing or hands-on teaching of the full Certification Course. The other 10 may be earned from mentoring or teaching the Renewal Testing Course. The hours are automatically applied to their profiles when the course is finalized online.
Though CPSTIs cannot earn teaching hours, they can earn CEUs for providing technical updates. If they are in attendance and listening when they are not presenting, they can earn CEUs just like an audience member. If they develop their own new content, they can actually earn time and a half (1.5 hours for a newly developed 1-hour update). Of course, this can only be once per update.
Why are teaching hours only awarded for Certification courses?
- Only CPSTIs are certified to teach the Certification Courses.
- Anyone can offer a technical update and they don’t even have to be a technician. As long as the content of the presentation is accurate, up to date, and increases the CPS technical knowledge and skill of the CPST audience the presenters do not even have to be a CPST or CPSTI. Think of a service manager who talks about new airbag technology, for example.
- Instructor hours are only for actual teaching time, not time in the classroom. Most instructors earn about 13 hours per course. With only 20 teaching hours needed to recertify, this can generally be completed by teaching two classes every two years.
Related FAQ: How do I calculate instructor teaching hours?
18. What is the best way to conduct a quiz review?
“Reviewing” should not only be done just before a quiz but should be done throughout the module instruction. It is important that students understand concepts, how to make decisions by using deductive reasoning and not simply memorizing information. This can be done during the course by asking questions, posing scenarios, promoting discussions, and using module progress checks.
As is in the Instructor Prep Guide (page 5), “Instructors may highlight or stress material that is on the quiz during module instruction but must not indicate that the material is a quiz question. Instructor Teams are discouraged from using the quizzes as a review tool.”