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DTM - The Highest Education Award
The Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) award represents the highest level of educational achievement in Toastmasters. The award is the equivalent of the organization saying, "we believe this person is a very good speaker and leader."
No. While you can expect an above-average skill level from every DTM because of the amount of practice they've had, the DTM award represents a member's persistence more than their skill.
There are a lot of tasks you have to complete to win the DTM award. Completing them all requires patience, effort, and determination. Think of it like completing a marathon - whether you finish it in 3 hours or 9 hours, it is still a big achievement. Similarly, there are people who finish their DTM in 12 years, and there are those who finish it in 2. The Toastmasters education program is self-paced, and we don't push artificial time limits.
However, in the process of achieving this award, you get to sample most of the offerings under the Toastmasters banner. You get to experience many different types of speaking and many different types of leadership. You may discover that you actually have proficiency in skills that you didn't even know existed.
Going through the DTM journey helps you discover your true strength and determination, while also giving you plenty of opportunity to practise several different skills, and discover your leadership style.
It is less about the award and more about the valuable experience you gain completing it. By the end, you may be a completely different person than when you started.
Of course, it doesn't hurt that you earn several certifications along the way.
The DTM recognition is the highest education award provided by Toastmasters. Aiming for this gives you a long-term goal and a north star to proceed towards.
By pursuing all the different challenges under the DTM program, you will find your personal affinities and skills, and truly earn the self-improvement that you signed up for when you joined Toastmasters.
In Pathways, you earn the DTM award by successfully completing two paths, and a number of leadership roles. After completing every preliminary requirement, you create a DTM project of your own design, of a significant scale.
The following image shows all the requirements, with a recommended order of completion.
Resources for each goal:
In the traditional education program, you earn the DTM award by completing two modules: The Advanced Communicator Gold (ACG), and the Advanced Leader Silver (ALS).
Both of those come at the end of their respective tracks.
The ACG is the 4th speaking module, and it requires you to give your 31st to 40th prepared speech, along with a few requirements such as mentoring a new member and giving a presentation. More about Advanced Communication.
The ALS is the 3rd leadership module, and it requires you to be a district officer for 12 months, be a club coach or club mentor, and a club sponsor, among other things. By the end of this module, you experience most leadership opportunities that Toastmasters International provides. More on Advanced Leadership.