Group of career professionals
Outside the Classroom

The Buzz about Career and Technical Education

In a recent study commissioned by Chegg and conducted by Harris Interactive, fewer than two in five hiring managers (39%) who interviewed recent college graduates found them prepared for a position in their fields of study. Conversely, around 50% of the graduates considered themselves sufficiently job ready. That’s a pretty significant gap in perception!

Career and Technical Education (CTE) deserves some attention as a viable solution for closing this gap. Here’s some information about this often underrated side of education:

What is CTE?

CTE is an educational approach for providing high school students with rigorous academic instruction while teaching technical skills and highly desirable employability skills, such as problem solving, time management, teamwork, and communication.

What is the purpose of CTE?

The goal of CTE is to adequately prepare students—of all abilities and interests—for a job or a career, as well as college. For these reasons, CTE programs provide students with the opportunity to participate in internships and apprenticeships, attain industry-focused certifications, and earn college credit.

What kinds of careers can CTE programs prepare students for?

The National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium developed sixteen Career Clusters, which are used to build and organize CTE programs across the United States. The sixteen Career Clusters are:
• Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources
• Architecture and Construction
• Arts, A/V Technology, and Communications
• Business Management and Administration
• Education and Training
• Finance
• Government and Public Administration
• Health Science
• Hospitality and Tourism
• Human Services
• Information Technology
• Law, Public Safety, Corrections, and Security
• Manufacturing
• Marketing
• Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
• Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics

These provide more than seventy-nine career-pathway opportunities for students to choose from—such as accounting, journalism and broadcasting, business information management, national security, health informatics, travel and tourism, programming and software development, engineering and technology, and more!

How is CTE funded?

Most funding for CTE programs comes from local and state revenue. These programs also receive funding from the federal government through the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.

How does CTE differ from vocational education?

Although a common misconception, CTE isn’t the same as vocational education—programs consisting of low-level classes that teach a narrow set of skills for entry-level jobs. CTE sets itself apart with demanding, high-quality programs of study that align with and lead to numerous post secondary education options, including higher education, advanced training, or employment.
Nationwide, CTE programs are growing, evolving, and innovating to better prepare students for success in today’s workforce—and with an estimated 3.4 million young adults unemployed, it couldn’t come at a better time!

About the Author


Katrina Brewer

Katrina is an Editor at Edgenuity on the Career Education and Electives team. She was a classroom teacher for six years before joining the world of online and blended learning with Edgenuity in 2011. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a MA in education. She is an educator at heart and enjoys being a part of and sharing with others the positive effect technology has on student learning.