What Is CTE and Why Should I Care?

CTE coverThe Career and Technical Education (CTE) offerings at FLVS includes a series of courses aligned to a specific occupational pathway.

CTE courses provide students with the skills, abilities, and attitudes necessary for success in college and careers.

These pathways range from Aquaculture to Web Design and everything in between. Most require multiple courses in sequence for students to develop skills needed for that occupation, but these skills are also valuable for students who continue their education beyond high school because the skills focus on work readiness, collaboration, problem solving, as well as technical experience. CTE, however, doesn’t start or end in high school. Career exploration begins early in elementary school through various career days, selective reading and instructional materials, and through informal education at home and in the community. Middle school often brings students opportunities to develop some technical skills that help further refine career interests. High school allows students to focus on coursework in a given pathway that can lead directly into college programs and/or the workplace.

There are two very distinctive impressions of Career and Technical Education (CTE), both of which have some validity and some misconceptions.

Camp #1: “CTE is for students who are not going to college.”

Camp #2: “CTE is for students to get a head start on college.”

The reality is that both of these are correct, but there is a lot more about CTE that makes it so valuable and such an important part of our education here at Florida Virtual School. I am hopeful that these lines will be less distinct as we cover more and more about the significant contributions of CTE to both education and the economy in this and future blog posts.

For those in Camp #1:

While many students may not aspire to earn a degree beyond high school, or aren’t sure which path to take, CTE provides valuable training that leads to marketable job skills and employability training. These skills are aligned to high skill, high wage, and high demand careers that can provide a sustainable living. Students have the opportunity to “try on” various career options to find one that interests them or fits well with their skills and abilities. Once they find a career pathway, students can pursue higher level skill development, including the opportunity to earn nationally-recognized industry credentials that help them build a resume while still in high school.

For those in Camp #2:

Most high school CTE programs, and all of the ones being developed for FLVS, provide the opportunity for students to earn nationally recognized industry certifications. These demonstrate not only career-readiness skills, but also can provide students with articulated college credit to continue their career education beyond high school. Florida has a Statewide Articulation Agreement for many of these certifications in addition to local agreements with technical centers, colleges, and universities that offer related postsecondary programs. Students who start in high school in a CTE pathway may continue that program beyond high school to further refine their skills.

Many students who are interested in a high school experience that prepares them for college are unaware that these courses may provide college credit, additional scholarship opportunities, and weighted GPA. Many CTE courses can also count toward meeting the graduation requirements in Florida for the Fine & Performing Arts credit. In fact, the industry certifications on the Statewide Articulation Agreement can also be used to satisfy the elective mathematics and science credit graduation requirements. For those not yet considering educational options beyond high school, CTE can help students discover that college is a better option than they had considered, both because of the head start on credits and experience, and because of the future career opportunities that they aspire to achieve.

Learn more about industry certification opportunities at FLVS at www.flvs.net/getcertified.

Post by Mellissa Morrow, Former Curriculum Manager for Career & Technical Education (CTE)



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