Toastmasters: Getting your DTM through Pathways


Recently, I added an update to the District 22 blog on Pathways.

That FAQ has some useful information on the new program, and it has led to a number of questions about completing your Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) award before Pathways rolls out. Specifically, should you finish in the existing system or, if not, how do you decide when to transition to Pathways? In this article, I’ll try to tackle that question for a majority of members. Your individual case may require additional information, so don’t take this as the one and only answer for all.

First, let’s cover the basics.

How do you earn a DTM in the existing program?

Communication Track
Competent Communicator award (10 Speeches)
Advanced Communicator Bronze (10 Speeches)
Advanced Communicator Silver (10 speeches and 2 modules)
Advanced Communicator Gold (10 speeches, 1 advanced program and mentor a new member)

Leadership Track
Competent Leader (10 Leadership projects completing about 20 individual tasks)
Advanced Leader Bronze (6 months-1 year as a club officer and 2 modules)
Advanced Leader Silver (1 year as a district officer, leadership project w/2 speeches and serving as a club sponsor, mentor or coach)

Complete both tracks, and you have earned your DTM.

How do you earn a DTM in the new program?

Complete 2 learning paths (~14 projects each)
One year as a Club Officer (could be 2 six month terms)
Serve as a Club Mentor or Coach
Serve as Club Sponsor, or conduct a Speechcraft or Youth Leadership Program
One year as a District Officer (or six months as a Pathways Guide)
Complete a Capstone DTM project

Is there a translation from the current program to the new program?

Unfortunately, no. With one caveat – TI HQ has confirmed that club officer roles, district service, and club support (sponsor, mentor or coach) completed before the new system rolls out can be applied in the Pathways program (as long as they were not submitted for an award in the current program).


Simply put, there are too many differences in how the communication and leadership tracks are integrated in the new system.

Ok, next I’m going to go out on a limb and give some advice. Keep in mind that there is no simple formula, and no single answer that applies to every member.

So… what should you do?

Here’s my opinion, based on what I’ve learned as Chief Ambassador and from testing the new projects and the new assessment tool during the pilot testing. I want to stress that if you fit into a category I define below, and you don’t agree with my answer, you are free to choose another answer for yourself. The category of “Further Discussion” means I think that scenario may need to be handled on a case-by-case basis more often than not.

Finish current award in existing program Finish DTM in
existing program
Move to
Determined to finish DTM quickly X
ACG complete X
HPL complete X
CC, ACB with no HPL X
7 or more speeches done (at rollout) X Then
ACS without HPL X
CL, ALB and CC X

Should I keep working on my CC (or other award) right now?

Yes! Keep imporving your skills (the reason you joined, right?) and remember that all awards completed will remain valid, and any awards in progress through June 2020 can still be submitted for credit and will be recognized as they are today. Also, club officer roles, district service, and club support (sponsoring, mentoring or coaching) credit will be applicable in the new paths.

I want to reiterate that this is not meant to truncate discussion about your specific goals and situation. If you feel this advice is wrong for you, then let’s talk about your goals as the rollout occurs and make sure we help you find the right path.

Hopefully, you see from this that there is no single answer for every member. Moving to the new program is likely to be the best answer for a large percentage of members. The Pathways program will give you more flexibility toward achieving your goals, and allow you to measure progress better while completing achievements in a timelier fashion.

For more info from TIs website, click here.


  1. Hi Robert,

    I have currently achieved 2 DTMs and am working on my 3rd.

    I have cleared the following for the 3rd DTM

    (1) Club Mentor
    (2) High Performance Leadership Project
    (3) ACB
    (4) ALB

    I have the following to be done

    (1) ACS
    (2) ACG
    (3) Complete term as a District Officer

    Which is more suitable for me to undertake given my unique situation. Existing program or pathways .


    D D Daruvala

    1. D D Daruvala,

      If this were your first DTM, I would advise completing it in the existing program because you are very close. Since you’ve completed multiple DTMs already, you could easily take this either way without any major issues. If I were in your position, I would dive directly into Pathways.

      As an alternate thought, you could also blend the two. If you think you’ll do a fourth DTM one day, you could finish your third in the existing program while starting some pathways projects as you work on your ACS and ACG. It just means you’d be a ways out from a “Pathways DTM”, which might hold special meaning considering you already have DTMs in our current program.


  2. Thanks Rob. Very useful feedback. I am for now only aiming for my 3rd DTM. I think doing it through pathways is a great idea

  3. Hi Rob,
    I have completed the following,
    1. CC
    2. CL
    3. ACB
    4. ALB
    5. 1 year as a club mentor
    6. 1 year as a club officer.
    Please advice what is the right path for me.

    Thanks in advance

    1. Dany,

      My first thought is to ask if you think you can finish the DTM requirements by June of 2020, then continue on that path. However, if you aren’t sure about that, or if you want to make a more informed decision, then I recommend that you take the assessment as soon as Pathways rolls out in your district. Choose a path, and give your icebreaker in your first path. Then, you can make an informed decision about which path (Pathways or the current program) is better for you. Best of luck!


  4. Hi Rob,
    I’m a current DTM. Tto get a new DTM with Pathways will I have to do another year as a district officer or will my previous area governor experience used for my existing DTM qualify?

  5. I have completed the High Performance Leasership Project in the traditional system and only have to complete the remainder of my district officer position to complete the DTM.

    I am now working on Pathways. and am almost finished level 3. I have a project opportunity that would fit in a High Performance Leadership. Is the capstone the same as the HPL? I would like to use this program opportunity to do the capstone. Thank you

    1. Therese,

      I believe the answer is “no”. But I have been told that the capstone DTM project is much like the HPL, but without the guidance committee. I hope this helps.


      1. Hi, how can I access the guidelines for the capstone? Does the “system” require something before I can get access? I like the old method that allowed people like me— people that like to look at the big picture and plan ahead, to feel in control. Pathways doesn’t support planner, big picture people so well in this respect. I hope you can help me get the directions. Thank you.

        1. I’m sorry that I cannot help with that. What I’ve heard is that the capstone becomes available after both finishing one path and then making it a certain point on a second path. If I learn any additional info, I’ll provide it here.

          Also, you should see an HPL as either a required project or an elective in your level 5, after you complete level 4.

  6. Can I get some examples of Capstone DTM project? Is it similar to the current HPL or does it have some minimum criteria to be fulfilled? Thanks

    1. I got the answer: This is a project to benefit an organization of member’s interest. This is one important requirement (different from the HPL). It does not require a Committee, but does ask for a 360 degree evaluation from team, colleagues, higher ups, However even the HPL inside Level 5 of the projects does ask for this last evaluation??

  7. Thanks, Rob for all your efforts to put this together. I wish I had read this sooner to share with my members. We have pretty much figured out who needs to take which direction but this would have made it easier for sure. I’m finishing up in Legacy to acquire DTM but am also working Pathways to help other members working that path. I am very impressed with the updated content of Pathways and look forward to many members growing and developing their skills!
    Thanks again for all your efforts!

  8. I was serving as Logistics Manager (D 47) for the year of 2014-2015.
    My question is:
    Will this district officer (Logistics Manager) be counted or recognized as one year district officer position for DTM’s one year District Officer requirement under new Pathways Learning Experiences?
    Thank you.

  9. hey, I am a part of an online toastmasters club(undistricted). My one pathway is complete and about to complete the second. I have also served 1 year as a club officer. But how I can fulfil the district and club coach criteria from an online club?

    1. There is no requirement to be a member in the district where you serve as a club coach or district officer. It’s just about finding an opportunity where you can serve, and getting that district to approve your appointment. While some districts have more volunteers for district officers than they have positions to fill, many have openings each year.

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