Career Technical Education Prepares Students for College and Career
In previous generations, high school students were forced to choose either an academic or a vocational/technical program of study. Selecting vo-tech closed the door to the Honors and Advanced Placement courses needed for college. But today, students need a broad education and 21st century skills to ensure successful long-term careers. Fortunately, with Career Technical Education (CTE) courses now available online, virtual school students can combine both college preparation and workforce skills development into one customized education program.
According to the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium, CTE programs are based on 16 career clusters, which include distinct grouping of occupations and industries based on the knowledge and skills they require. Career groupings include such diverse offerings as human service industries, manufacturing, information technology, and agriculture.
The CTE career clusters branch into 79 career pathways to help students narrow their interests further and design an education plan for achieving career goals. At Connections Academy, for example, 22 new CTE courses encourage students to explore and prepare for careers in finance, marketing, psychology, criminal justice, and more.
Educators have long suspected that students following education paths relevant to their career interests would be more likely to finish high school. In fact, the U.S. Department of Education found that students enrolled in CTE programs have a high school graduation rate of more than 90 percent, compared to the average national freshman graduation rate of 74.9 percent.
Perhaps even more exciting is the discovery that 70 percent of students concentrating in CTE areas stayed in post-secondary education or transferred to a four-year degree program, compared to an average state target of 58 percent.
If you’re a parent interested in helping steer your teen toward future success, you might want to encourage him or her to take a CTE student interest survey. This survey and other career planning tools can open a dialogue that will help your son or daughter set goals and navigate a clear path through high school, college, and his or her chosen career/profession.
How has virtual school helped your student prepare for college and career? Share your comments below.