Everything You Need to Know About Becoming a Google-Certified Educator

As Google continues to gain traction in the ed tech hardware market — snagging more than half of the market share in 2015 — educators are increasingly finding Chromebooks in their classrooms. These affordable laptops appear basic in their functionality, until you take a look at the suite of Google Apps. Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, Drawings and other Google tools have more bells and whistles than one might think, and it can be overwhelming for educators to learn the ins and outs of this robust platform.

Google certification is not only a resume booster, but also a resource for building community, connections and professional growth.

In an effort to create a community of Google-savvy educators who can provide support to those less familiar with its powerful suite of education products, the tech behemoth has an online Google for Education Training Center, where educators can become certified in Google Apps.

Levels of Google for Education Certification

There are four Google for Education certifications:

Image illustrates the four stages of Google for Education certification: Google Certified Educator Level 1; Google-Certified Educator Level 2; Google Certified Trainer; Google Certified Innovator

The latter two enable educators to lead training workshops for other teachers on behalf of Google, either in their district or at conferences. Interested in becoming a Google Certified Educator, Trainer or Innovator? Here’s a breakdown of each certification.

Google Certified Educator, Levels 1 and 2 (GCE)

Anyone can become a Google Certified Educator and even work toward certification from the comfort of their own home. The Training Center provides free online courses for both GCE paths. Each course unit comprises reading passages, audio clips and video testimonials from fellow educators as well as “Lesson Check”questions to help ensure you’re making progress. Each unit ends with a formal assessment, which features real-world scenarios GCEs may encounter in their classrooms.

Unlike some ed tech certifications, Google for Education training is a relatively significant investment of time, especially considering the ever-busy schedules of educators. Online training for GCE Level 1 takes approximately 12 hours to complete, while Level 2 training requires about 10 hours. As of July 2016, upon completing the online trainings, a three-hour online assessment is provided (with a $10 exam fee for Level 1 and a $25 fee for Level 2).

Google Certified Trainer (GCT)

For those who are already adept with Google Apps and are training colleagues in their school or district, obtaining a certification as a Google Trainer may be a logical next step. Similar to the GCE program, educators must complete online courses and exams to become a GCT. In addition to course completion, educators must submit a formal application, including a demo training video, professional references, resume and a case study of training strategies.

Once certification is achieved, trainers must continue to keep their Google skills sharp throughout the year. This includes:

  • Running at least three Google professional development workshops annually.
  • Collecting data on said trainings.
  • Sharing them with the Google crew.
  • Contributing at least one resource to Google’s online trainer community.

It’s worth noting that Google Certified Educators are not guaranteed to automatically move up to Trainer status. The application is thorough, and applicants cannot use GCE certifications as part of their application.

Additionally, there are periodic updates to the Trainer program. Google suggests checking their site and to review their FAQ.

Google Certified Innovator (GCI)

The crème de la crème of Google for Education certifications, Google Certified Innovators are a select group of educators who not only love Google and train others on it, but are passionately innovating uses for the Google Apps ecosystem in education. Similar to Google Certified Trainers, GCIs are provided special speaking opportunities to share their knowledge in the education field.

Google Certified Innovators are a select group of educators who not only love Google and train others on it, but are passionately innovating uses for the Google Apps ecosystem in education.

To apply to be a Google Certified Innovator, one must be a Level 2 Google Certified Educator and be able to demonstrate tech innovation in schools. Google only opens applications for the Innovator program periodically, so interested educators should keep their eyes peeled for updates on the next application round.

What makes the Innovator path starkly different from the other programs is Innovation Academy, a three-day in-person training. Those accepted into the program will likely have to pay their own travel expenses, although the Google site notes, “Limited travel assistance may be available.” The Innovation Academy is a time to meet and work with other passionate Google educators face to face; bring the knowledge back to the classroom; and continue to learn, share and grow together in the coming year.

Google certification is not only a resume booster, but also an ongoing resource for buildling community, connections and professional growth.

There are many options for educators to explore at all levels of Google comprehension. Google certification is not only a resume booster but also an ongoing resource for building community, connections and professional growth.