NLC Launches Professional Technical Educator Program

First known craft training program teaches best methods of delivery in classroom, field, and lab

First known craft training program teaches best methods of delivery in classroom, field, and lab

Glen is an exceptional lineman trainer who enjoys teaching and working with apprentices. So NLC’s Professional Technical Educator (PTE) Program, which educates craft professionals to be excellent teachers and trainers of adult learners in field, lab, and classroom environments, was right up his alley. “The reward is immense,” commented the 25-year power company trainer. Glen has a knack for patiently explaining things in an easy- to-understand way. “I enjoy the questions and seeing the lightbulb come on. They’ll be better at their job tomorrow because of this training.”

Glen’s path toward becoming a professional craft trainer was not unique. He was someone with experience as a craft worker, but also someone who enjoys training while holding the attention of a group. Glen has taken a few teaching workshops, but nothing formal or structured. In addition, those workshops focused primarily on teaching in a classroom, not in a field setting or in a lab where hands-on training is predominant. Like most craft trainers, because his training options were limited, he had little growth potential to become a better trainer of adult learners.

In fact, good training programs for craft workers are remarkably difficult to find. The educational machine of America has largely skipped training in the psychomotor domain. Educational institutions and professors have focused on the K-12 classroom when researching and writing on the topic. But, most educational professors have never worked with their hands. Studying and writing about best methods of hands-on training is a blind spot for academia in America. And those who know how to do it well do not seek to write books on the topic.

Over 10 years ago Northwest Lineman College recognized this void and developed its Professional Technical Educator (PTE) Program. The first version of the program focused heavily on mastery of classroom training and included technical courses such as transformer connections. But it lacked focus on training trainers how to instruct in the field and lab.

Two years ago, Northwest Lineman College’s Department of Education rebuilt the PTE Program into a modern and unique program focused on educating craft trainers in both field training and classroom teaching. It’s designed for the very thing we all had been missing: training trainers in the art of adult education in classroom, lab, and field settings. Because its focus is education, it is well suited for any craft trainer, regardless of their trade.


Just as with any skill or sport, mastery is only possible after command of the fundamentals. The best basketball players master dribbling, passing, and shooting. To this end, the PTE Program is centered on NLC’s Four-Step Delivery Method, a method that is based on Madeline Hunter’s Seven-Step Delivery Method. The Four-Step Delivery Method is an established approach that improves student learning and retention. It also adds structure to every delivery, which helps minimize “teaching drift” where discussion can sometimes get sidetracked.

The most important element of the Four-Step Delivery Method is guided practice. This single component is the difference between a presentation and training. Teaching and training are most effective when the trainee practices what is taught.


The PTE Program is registered with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). This means that individuals successfully completing the first three levels (approximately one year each) will earn a U.S. Department of Labor certificate. This is the equivalent DOL certificate that lineworkers earn when completing their apprenticeship in linework, only it is for professional craft trainers.

The program is a total of four levels, and revisits the Four-Step Delivery Method at higher levels of performance each year. Individuals who complete level four of the PTE Program successfully will earn the “PTE” designation as sanctioned by Northwest Lineman College.


PTE courses are organized in an ascending fashion where topics introduced in the first stages of the program are then reintroduced at higher levels, commensurate with continually increasing student performance expectations. Successful completion of each level becomes a prerequisite for advancement into the next.

Courses Include:

  • Leading Students in an Educational Environment
  • Foundations of Coaching and Support
  • Educational Technology


At regularly scheduled intervals, the PTE Proof of Mastery Board assembles to review the Capstone of each participant for the level in which they are enrolled. Board members will use the PTE grading rubric(s) as the primary tool to determine if mastery of that level is proven. This grading rubric is provided long in advance of the Capstone.

Once mastery of a given level is proven, leadership will be notified that their training specialist qualifies for the next level of the program, or graduation. If mastery is not proven, the Proof of Mastery Board will provide guidance with the areas of needed improvement.

Participants enter the Capstone only when leadership and their immediate supervisor have reviewed and approved their body of work for the level of the program in which they are enrolled. Each course for that level must be completed to the standards of the grading rubric to qualify.

Northwest Lineman College has already begun administering the program with success and plans to open it to the industry in 2023. It will be the first known program available to craft trainers in all industries that teaches best methods of delivery in classroom, field, and lab environments. Watch for updates in The Handline magazine and on

The Handline Magazine
This story was originally published in Northwest Lineman College’s The Handline Magazine, Summer 2022 issue.