Leadership Essentials

Leadership is identified as a top attribute sought by employers. Leadership Development programs in Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) provide opportunities for individuals to develop leadership knowledge and skill sets for life and career success. The Leadership Essentials credential documents students achievement of leadership competencies.

The Leadership Essentials credential is appropriate for programs in secondary and post-secondary education, youth-based leadership development, community-based education, and employer-based staff development.   Eligible candidates for the pre-professional credentials have not attained a bachelor’s degree. Individuals with a bachelor's degree or higher are eligible for the AAFCS professional certifications

  • Leadership Fundamentals
  • Leadership Skills and Practices
  • Teambuilding
  • Conflict Resolution/Management

Assessment Bulletin

Includes detailed information on assessment design, scoring, content, sample test items, and resources

Aligned Curriculum Resources

The links below include instructional resources that correlate and align to the certification competencies.

Administration Format: Online

Paper & Pencil Available: No

Number of Test Items: 70 scored items and 10 non-scored (for research purposes)

Time Allowed (minutes): Untimed; Average time is 45-65 minutes

Can the instructor/teacher take this test? No*

* AAFCS Pre-PAC policy does not allow teachers to sit for the exam and earn the credential. If there is a state or district mandate/policy in place requiring the assessment/certification for teachers, then a written waiver of the requirement would need to be received and approved by AAFCS. For states/districts who have an approved waiver, AAFCS sets limitations on the actual test administration.

Click here for the list of current certification scores The national cut score for pre-professional certification eligibility is established annually by AAFCS. Scores can be used to demonstrate competency, identify gaps in performance, enhance programs and curricula, and demonstrate accountability to stakeholders. Through articulation agreements, scores may be used as the basis for advanced placement and/or credit-by-exam at post-secondary institutions. When the assessment is submitted, the results are immediately available to the test candidate. The results provide an overall percentage score, a breakdown of scores corresponding to domains, and indicate if the pre-professional credential was achieved.

AAFCS credentials are based on industry standards. The Development Panel was comprised of industry professionals and educators. The following stakeholders participated on the development panel for the credentialing assessment.

Patty Hendrickson, Hendrickson Leadership Group, LaCrosse, WI Christine Hollingsworth, Family, Career, & Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), Reston, VA Conrad Lucas, Capitol Resources, Charleston, WV
Vicki Ferrence Ray, Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY), Westlake Village, CA Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY), Westlake Village, CA Dennis Trittin, LifeSmarts, Gig Harbor, WA
Doug Swanson, Division of Youth & 4-H, National Institute of Food & Agriculture (USDA-NIFA), Washington, DC Wendy Wagner, Honey W. Nashman Center for Civic Engagement & Public Service - George Washington University, Washington, DC Wade Weber, Kansas State University Research & Extension - Kansas 4-H, Manhattan, KS
Mary Ballard, Center for Faculty Excellence, Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, LA Cheryl Empey, Teacher Educator, Brigham Young University - Idaho, Rexburg, ID Brenda Osman, East Central High School, St. Leon, IN
Robyn Sherman, Rockbridge County High School, Lexington, VA

Email Pre-PAC

Direct Telephone Line: 703-636-7641