NAPT’s certification, training programs targeted for upgrade
To provide its members with the most comprehensive training and certification programs available, the NAPT is planning to revise the requirements of its Professional Certification Program and bolster the offerings of its Professional Development Series training program.
The certification program, established in 1989, recognizes the achievements and expertise of individuals in administrative and support positions. The four categories are: Certified Director of Pupil Transportation, Certified Supervisor of Pupil Transportation, Certified Pupil Transportation Specialist and Certified Pupil Transportation Driver Instructor.
Certification has been based on the individual’s experience and achievements, but the NAPT Certification Subcommittee is shifting the focus from experience-based to knowledge-based requirements.
“It will be more like a college course of study,” said NAPT President Lenny Bernstein. Currently, candidates who meet experienced-based benchmarks must pass a lengthy exam to become certified, but the Certification Subcommittee is reviewing the possibility of adding coursework to the requirements. “Combining the two concepts will add an additional base of knowledge and ensure that our people are well prepared for the daily demands of each job,” Bernstein said.
The NAPT is also enhancing its Professional Development Series (PDS) Program by adding more courses. Currently, the program includes 17 courses, but the PDS Subcommittee wants to develop another 20 or so courses in the next two years.
“At our board meeting in Austin, we voted to finish the remaining courses as quickly as possible,” Bernstein said. “We’re evaluating our budget and discussing a timeline with PTSI [Pupil Transportation Safety Institute] to see how fast we can get them done.”
Subject areas of courses that have been offered include financial management, human resources management, operations/systems management, leadership and special education.
At the NAPT conference in Austin, the series courses included Budget Development, Overseeing a Fleet Maintenance Program, Business Writing, Managing Human Resources and Personal Skills for Management.
The courses are currently offered via classroom instruction at national, regional and state pupil transportation conferences. Instructors follow an NAPT-approved syllabus. The PDS Subcommittee is evaluating online training options and is close to finalizing a deal to provide college credit for completed classes.
“Professional development and training have always been our hallmark,” Bernstein said. “We’re going to take an aggressive stance on this to send a message to potential competitors and ensure that we remain in the forefront.”