Up to ArcGIS 9.3 Esri hosted an Authorized Training Program, allowing third parties to use company materials to train students, typically in two or three day long classes. Acheiving that status required candidates to pass an Esri-taught "train the trainer" course among other things. Instructors could teach:
- ArcGIS Desktop
- ArcGIS Spatial Analyst
- Geoprocessing Scripts
- Programming ArcObjects
- ArcGIS Server
In recent years Esri updated the program to the Certified Trainer Progam (CTP) which limited teaching to ArcGIS Desktop (I, II, III). The requirements are far tougher and include both certification via Esri's new tests as well and a teaching credential. One CTP posted that costs for the current certification ran to nearly $6000. This burden, and the change in demand have clearly impacted the number of trainers. At this time, for example, there are no ArcGIS 10 certified trainers in my state.
Letters to current Esri Certified Trainers went out in early November to explain the planned shutdown of the CTP program. Esri provided this statement to Directions Media:
Esri is starting to phase out the Certified Training Program, but will continue to support it through ArcGIS 10.1. The reason for discontinuing the program is the declining interest in instructor-led training. Esri currently has about 70 certified instructors. We notified each instructor individually and then sent a follow-up email. Below is an excerpt from the email sent to instructors in the program:
We have found that students are starting to lean towards more on demand learning and less instructor-led training. With this and the economy, we’ve seen a continual decline in the number of students being taught by both Esri and our authorized/certified trainers. As you can imagine, the business needs are not what they were when the program was first created.
Therefore, we’ve decided that the Certified Training Program will only support certified trainers through version 10.1. We will allow folks to upgrade to support their students on version 10.1. However, once existing certified trainers have upgraded to teach version 10.1, the program will move into maintenance mode.
Clearly, the economy, the nature of software training, and the relationships between Esri and its many different kinds of partners have changed in recent years. I hope those impacted by the change find ways to continue to make a living using the passion they have for GIS and their skills as both trainers and educators.