Trainer-of-Trainers (ToTs)

Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) Trainers-of-Trainers (ToTs) are trainers who co-instruct PSA Train-the-Trainer Courses to train future PSA Trainers and PSA Lead Trainers. It is critically important that PSA ToTs be highly skilled and knowledgeable trainers to ensure information about the PSA curriculum and the Food Safety Modernization Act’s Produce Safety Rule is conveyed to prospective trainers and growers with the utmost accuracy. It is anticipated that only advanced produce safety professionals and trainers will apply to become PSA ToTs. PSA ToTs will be expected to be active in conducting Train-the-Trainer Courses each year, so only those who have the time and motivation to be involved in conducting PSA Train-the-Trainer Courses should apply.

The ToT Process is designed to generate enough ToTs to meet the demand for PSA Train-the-Trainer Courses domestically and internationally. At least two ToTs are required to conduct a PSA Train-the-Trainer Course, and additional PSA Lead Trainers may co-instruct as part of the ToT review process. The PSA maintains strict control over the PSA ToT process and registration of Train-the-Trainer Courses conducted by approved ToTs. The PSA intends to keep the PSA ToT cadre to a minimum, approving only the highest caliber trainers dedicated to meeting the current needs for PSA Train-the-Trainer Courses. The PSA’s determination of need will influence whether co-training opportunities are offered to expand the cadre of ToTs.

To be successful trainers, it is important that ToTs have in-depth knowledge of the FSMA Produce Safety Rule and the PSA curriculum. ToTs must also demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of all four competency areas, and effectively teach the curriculum to adult learners by clearly presenting the modules, addressing a range of questions, and facilitating meaningful and insightful discussions.

PSA ToTs are able to:

  • Register PSA Train-the-Trainer Courses through the PSA, including the course registration process and abiding by all PSA training policies as outlined in the PSA Training Manual.
  • Conduct PSA Train-the-Trainer Courses with at least one other PSA ToT
  • Participate in all aspects of Train-the-Trainer Courses, including delivering any of the PSA Grower Training Curriculum, Train-the-Trainer modules, and guiding discussions

Criteria to Apply to Become a PSA ToT

PSA ToT candidates must meet the following minimum criteria before they apply:

  • Attend a PSA Grower Training Course,
  • Attended a PSA Train-the-Trainer Course,
  • Achieved PSA Lead Trainer status,
  • Served as a PSA Lead Trainer at two or more PSA Grower Training Courses, with a minimum of at least 20 participants total among courses, and
  • Must have excellent English reading and writing skills.

How do I apply to become a PSA ToT?

The PSA ToT application and evaluation is a two part process. 

Part 1: Application Evaluation by PSA ToT Review Committee

  1. PSA Lead Trainers who are interested in becoming PSA ToTs must submit a ToT application to the PSA.
  2. PSA Staff will verify PSA Lead Trainer status and confirm two or more PSA Grower Training Courses were conducted by the ToT applicant as a PSA Lead Trainer to ensure minimum criteria are met.
  3. If minimum requirements are met, the PSA ToT Review Committee will review the ToT candidate’s application and provide a recommendation for approval to co-train. Evaluation includes:
    1. Review of any training courses taught specifically for educator/trainer audiences besides PSA courses that demonstrate ToT proficiency within the field of produce safety, as provided on the ToT application
    2. Review of ToT candidate’s PSA Grower Training evaluations
    3. Contacting candidate’s references (2 required), if needed
    4. Other relevant information about the applicant's proficiency to become a ToT

If approved by PSA ToT Review Committee, the ToT candidate will be notified of the invitation to co-train at a PSA Train-the-Trainer Course. If the ToT candidate does not have the necessary training experience or background after committee review, the candidate will be notified of the decision and feedback for improvement or deficiencies will be provided.  

Part 2: Co-training Evaluation

After initial application and evaluation, the candidate may be invited to participate as a co-trainer for a PSA Train-the-Trainer Course with at least two other PSA ToTs. The PSA will coordinate with the candidate to schedule a co-training opportunity, keeping regional location in mind to keep travel costs low, when possible. The PSA cannot guarantee that the ToT candidate will be scheduled at their preferred Train-the-Trainer Course date and location.

The candidate will be asked to:

  • Present three or more modules during the PSA Train-the-Trainer Course,
  • Facilitate discussions among participants during the training,
  • Lead at least one break-out discussion or activity with participants, and
  • Pay all travel expenses required to attend and participate in the course.

The candidate’s performance will be evaluated against the standardized evaluation rubric. This rubric is designed to measure the candidate’s competency in the following areas:

  • Ability to answer questions about the PSA Grower Training Curriculum,
  • Ability to communicate the FSMA PSR requirements and GAPs concepts supporting produce safety, specifically to a trainer audience,
  • Ability to lead a discussion among trainers focusing on critical aspects of produce safety and the curriculum materials,
  • Ability to effectively conduct a PSA Train-the-Trainer Course, as evidenced by evaluation input from course participants and PSA Train-the-Trainer co-instructors.

Final ToT status will be determined as a result of the ToT Evaluation Rubric

Candidates earning ‘Meets Expectations’ in all trainer proficiencies within the evaluation rubric will be granted ToT status. If a candidate scores ‘Needs Further Evaluation’ in any proficiency area, the reviewers will need to decide what actions are required to address the issue. For example, reviewers may decide that consultation after the review process is sufficient to address the concern(s) or the reviewers may decide that the candidate needs more time to develop the necessary skills to become a ToT, through the delivery of future PSA Grower Training Courses or by co-training during another Train-the-Trainer Course. Candidates scoring ‘Below Expectations’ in any of the competency areas will not be accepted as a ToT.

Approved candidates will be issued a PSA Trainer-of-Trainers Certificate and will be added to the list of approved PSA Trainers-of-Trainers posted on the PSA’s website.