Two Different Pathways

ETA provides a stackable, latticed path for career advancement. Whether you need prove a basic understanding of electronics, or a specialized fiber optics certification, ETA can help you advance your career! ETA offers two basic ways to achieve certification through the Stand-Alone and Journeyman pathways. Reflecting the actual needs of the labor market, ETA certifications can be accumulated over time to build up an individual’s qualifications and help them to move along a career pathway or up a career ladder to different and potentially higher-paying jobs.

ETA offers over 80 certifications and endorsements that validate knowledge and skills in dozens of technology-based career fields. ETA programs are similar to the advance placement exams in core curricular classes and several states recognize ETA certifications for dual enrollment. Certification is voluntary but highly sought after, and ETA has certified more than 200,000 technical professionals since 1978.

What are stackable credentials? You can look at them two ways. First, if you already have a degree and decide to earn a certificate later, you’re stacking the certificate onto your degree. Or, if your education started with a certificate, you can stack on more courses and skills to earn a degree.

The emerging trend of stackable credentials has benefits for both employers and employees. As a potential employee, you can be confident that a résumé highlighting multiple ETA credentials will help you stand out and may lead to more job opportunities. If you’re still unsure how stackable credentials can benefit you and help you get a better job, be sure to check out available certificate options and call ETA to speak with a certified Customer Service Specialist who can help you along your career pathway.

Credentials can be stacked in many ways. The original and more traditional version of credential stacking, vertical stacking, thinks about credentials in a hierarchy -- with one level building on another, enabling the learner to progress toward a higher degree. With horizontal stacking, the level of the credential is less important than the subject matter. Learners expand their subject matter expertise by earning credentials in related fields that, collectively, prepare each person for a specific type of job. Unlike vertical stacking, there is no explicit ordinal ranking or prerequisites, although some credentials may build on others. Combining the concepts of vertical and horizontal credential stacking, value-added stacking is when a learner adds an area of expertise to an existing two- or four-year degree with shorter-term credentials to prepare for a specific type of job.

Regardless of the path you choose, ETA requires that your certification be maintained in order to align with ISO 17024 standards and keep accreditation through the International Certification Accreditation Council (ICAC). Certification maintenance shows that you are active in your chosen field, and your skills are up-to-date.


Stand-Alone Pathway

The Stand-Alone program is intended for those who do not wish to complete a career track. As such, they are not required to have a basic electronics certification. Many of the Stand-Alone certifications have a hands-on component where an individual must "show what they know", such as splicing fiber in the fiber optics program or ladder safety in the photovoltaics program. These certifications are many times acquired through outside training providers who develop programs based around ETA certifications and their competencies.



Journeyman Pathway

The Journeyman program offers extended, stackable certification tracks for the advanced electronics professional. The Journeyman CET program is broken down into five parts:

  1. Basic Electronics - The Associate CET (CETa) and Electronics Modules (EM1-5) are the basis for the Journeyman CET program. You must have one to proceed to the Journeyman level. These certifications make sure a professional has a good understanding of common concepts such as AC, DC, analog, and digital.
  2. Journeyman Option (CET) - Once the CETa or EM1-5 is obtained, a professional chooses their specialty area. The option can come from the Biomedical, Communications, Fiber Optics, Information Technology, Smart Home, and other popular technical areas. A Journeyman should have two or more years of experience to qualify as a Journeyman CET.
  3. Senior CET (CETsr) - A Senior CET is a professional who has more than six years of experience and scores 85% or higher on the Journeyman option of their choice. These professionals are well-rounded in their career choice.
  4. Master Specialty CET (CETms) - A Master Specialty CET is a specialized CET who excels in the area of Fiber Optics, Information Technology, RF Communications, or Telecommunications. These professionals must have six certifications, and at least four certifications must be in their chosen specialty category.
  5. Master CET (CETma) - A Master CET is the highest level offered by ETA. These professionals have six or more years of experience like the Senior CET, but they must pass six Journeyman CET options with no more than two (three for RF) originating from the same specialized category on the available Master CET chart. These individuals are the crème de la crème of professionals!


The Journeyman Pathway