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Instructor certification joins Arkansas Airmen

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. - Instructors and students take a group photo  Sept. 24, 2014 here during an Instructor Certification Program course. Instructors Tammie Smeltzer, Master Sgt. Bill Conner and Master Sgt. Clifton Boswell traveled from the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center, McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base in Tennessee to teach the two-week course, which is a requirement prior to teaching satellite education or professional military education. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Ian Caple/Released)

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. - Instructors and students take a group photo Sept. 24, 2014 here during an Instructor Certification Program course. Instructors Tammie Smeltzer, Master Sgt. Bill Conner and Master Sgt. Clifton Boswell traveled from the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center, McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base in Tennessee to teach the two-week course, which is a requirement prior to teaching satellite education or professional military education. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Ian Caple/Released)

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. -- Tammie Smeltzer, Master Sgt. Bill Conner and Master Sgt. Clifton J. Boswell with the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center's Professional and Continuing Education office here took their training to Arkansas last week for the Instructor Certification Program.

The program is a two-week, intensive course that certifies satellite education facilitators and career field trainers to develop lesson plans, analyze student needs and give informal lectures and demonstrations.

The TEC holds the popular course from its campus here as well as takes it on the road as a value-added alternative, said Conner.

"There's always a big demand for the class," said Conner. Classes have been booked for years running.

Sending three instructors to teach a class of 24 students costs the government much less than sending 24 students to TEC on a temporary duty assignment, said Conner.

Conner said they brought ICP to five states during the last year as well as held five classes on TEC's campus.

TEC certifies at least 100 new satellite education facilitators and Air Force specialty career trainers every year.

The Air National Guard requires satellite Airman Leadership School and satellite NCO Academy facilitators to take ICP before being allowed to instruct students at their home bases.

"You always want to be able to teach to a standard, consistently," said Conner. "That's a big part of it."

The requirement can create a waiting list of those wanting ICP certification.

"Classrooms have been full for a long time," said Dustin C. Russell, an instructional systems specialist at TEC.

Russell has taught ICP for two years and before he taught teenagers in high school English for six years.

"I wish I would have had taken the ICP before I taught in a public school," Russell said of the program's value.

Students receive four college credits for completing ICP, said Russell.

"There's a lot of homework, including reading, and writing lesson plans," said Russell.

Conner said that the pace of the class is demanding.

"It's crunch time from day-one, with lesson plans, studying and tests and graded instruction," said Conner.

A lot is expected of students, said Conner, but graduates tell them consistently that they are happy to have taken the class.

"ICP's value is not only in good, formal instruction, but it remains with you any time you have to present materials to someone else," said Conner. "You will do it better because of the tools we teach," said Conner.