CCAF adds two professional certification programs

by Kimberly L. Wright
Air University Public Affairs

1/14/2011 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- At the start of the new year, the Community College of the Air Force strengthened its credentialing program by adding two professional certification programs -- the Professional Manager and CCAF Instructor certification programs.

"Both the PMC and the CIC provide Airmen with transcripted credentials beyond their CCAF associate degrees that measure their professional development and support their career transitions," said Lt. Col. Timothy Albrecht, CCAF commandant.

Both were approved by the CCAF Policy Council and Air University commander Lt. Gen. Allen Peck for implementation on Jan. 1.

CCAF developed the Professional Manager Certification program this summer in response to requests from senior enlisted leaders for a crediting program that would recognize a senior noncommissioned officer's advanced level of education, experience and professional accomplishments.

The program will "instill a higher level of accomplishment and professionalism within the Air Force NCO Corps and better prepare our senior enlisted leaders for career transition," said Estel Breeding Jr., director of credentialing programs at CCAF.
"The program provides a structured professional development track that supplements the Enlisted Professional Military Education and Career Field Education and Training Plan."

Although the certification is primarily designed for Air Force senior NCOs, enlisted Airmen who meet all program requirements may also be awarded the PMC, said Mr. Breeding. However, they lose eligibility once they retire, separate or are commissioned.

The CCAF designed the second new program, the CCAF Instructor Certification program, to boost the credentials of course instructors by formally recognizing the instructor's extensive faculty development training, education, practical teaching experience and qualifications required to teach a CCAF course. The program is designed for qualified officer, enlisted, civilian
and other service instructors who teach CCAF college-level, credit-awarding courses at a CCAF-affiliated school.

Mr. Breeding said the CCAF Instructor Certification Program replaces and improves upon the Occupational Instructor Certification Program.

"The OIC program was implemented in May 1991, and valid need existed for program changes to ensure continued civilian recognition and comparability to similar civilian credentials," said Mr. Breeding.

Concerns with the OIC included the difficulty of meshing the program with the civilian sector expectations for instructors, Mr. Breeding explained.

What was formerly a 2,000-hour requirement with the OIC is now split into a three-tiered certification -- CIC-I, CIC-II and CIC-III. These programs have corresponding instructor-hour requirements of 1,000, 2,000, and 3,000 hours. "The restructured, three-tier program is tailored to better support our CCAF faculty," said Colonel Albrecht.

Some CCAF instructors could not meet the now-discarded OIC program requirements regarding the accumulation of teaching hours because they taught courses that were only offered two to three times a year.

"Professional certification is a critical element of professional development," said Mr. Breeding. "This professional credentialing program will instill a higher level of accomplishment and professionalism within the CCAF faculty force."

In addition to the credentialing changes, a major command is further emphasizing the value of CCAF's many programs. The Air Force Material Command's "Year of the Community College of the Air Force" campaign this year highlights the need for that command's enlisted force to work toward attaining CCAF degrees.

In announcing the themed year, Gen. Donald Hoffman, commander of Air Force Material Command, noted, "Formal education after high school is a path to promotion and personal development for enlisted Airmen, and a commodity highly valued in all Air Force members. Even the wisest mind has something more to learn."