by Trina Pruitt, parent and Go Public Contributor
February is Career and Technical Education (CTE) month! If you are my age (not telling), you may not even know what CTE is or that it is a huge part of high school curriculum today. Public high school students have many individual interests, and school districts provide opportunities to obtain current technical skills in preparation for a wide range of in-demand and high-paying careers. High schoolers can gain college credit and/or achieve industry certification before the students complete graduation requirements. I don’t know about you, but I would have appreciated the opportunity to do this way (way) back when I was in high school. Our public schools have really upped their game in this new age of education. Through Career and Technical Education programs, our children are graduating from high school more career-ready and college-ready than ever!
What is CTE?
CTE curriculum prepares public school students for college and the workplace by introducing real-world concepts and providing hands-on academic experiences. There are more than 120 CTE areas that are categorized into 16 Career Clusters. The cluster organization provides a guide to help students discover and use their individual talents and interests.
The 16 CTE Career Clusters include:
Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
Architecture and Construction
Arts, Audio/Video Technology and Communications
Business Management and Administration
Education and Training
Government and Public Administration
Hospitality and Tourism
Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)
Transportation, Distribution & Logistics
Alvin ISD- Culinary students at JB Hensler College and Career Academy prepare sandwiches to sell at the school’s “CTEats” cafe
The multitude of CTE classes related to these career cluster topics is unlimited. Some of the most popular courses include Web Design, Culinary Arts, Baking, Business Law, Accounting, Energy Technology, Auto Mechanics, Business Management, Computer Information Systems, Architectural Drafting, Graphic Design, Metalwork, Floral Design, Construction, Welding, Building Trades, Agriculture, Furniture Making, Fashion Design, Health Careers, Law Enforcement, Multimedia Arts, Audio-Visual Technology, etc. The demand for more CTE opportunities has grown in order to prepare students for career fields who might not have the ability to attend college. They can also provide college credit to students who plan on pursuing post-secondary education.
Some Gulf Coast-area public schools are referred to as early college or career academies. The curriculum in these schools focuses on Career and Technical Education classes, and they may provide opportunities for students to graduate from high school with a professional certification or associate degree. All students and parents are welcome to research the many CTE options available within their school district.
What are some examples of CTE- related career options and Career Readiness Programs?
During my research, I found one career training program extremely intriguing- Cyber Security. Are you aware that currently there is a cybersecurity skills shortage? A report from Cybersecurity Ventures states that the Cybersecurity professional deficit today is projected to lead to up to 3.5 million unfilled jobs in the next two years. The demand for cyber specialists is increasing, as well as salaries. Last year an information security analyst’s median income was around $90,000!
In these types of CTE network defense and security classes, students can learn about servers and intrusion detection systems, configuring software and hardware, and firewalls. Cybersecurity isn’t the only profitable career option in the CTE world. There are ample high-demand jobs in the field of Health Sciences. Pharmacy technicians, medical and dental assistants, and similar health care professionals can bring in around $50,000 annually.
Cleveland High School CTE students visit Tulsa Welding School and Technology Center
Automotive service technicians and mechanics are now considered high tech workers due to electronic systems and sophisticated computers that currently run vehicles. Technicians in the automotive field, which is a significant component of the Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics cluster, need knowledge of the complicated workings of vehicles as well as comprehension of electronic diagnostics and technical reference materials. These CTE courses can lead to a lucrative career earning close to $50,000 a year.
The Architecture and Construction cluster includes the field of electricity. Electronics technicians can average up to $90,000 per year. These technicians learn to set up, manage, and restore electrical fixtures, wiring, and equipment.
CTE education in public schools assures that our students will stand a strong chance of having steady employment. Read a detailed list of CTE industry certifications and average incomes here: Certifications and Incomes
How do CTE programs benefit students?
- CTE classes are not just job training for high school students; they explore a wide variety of career fields that assist students in finding what they are most passionate about pursuing.
- CTE students are more likely to graduate from high school than non-CTE students because they become engaged in their learning experiences and become highly involved in real-world lessons.
- CTE students tend to have higher grades in core subjects like reading, math, and science.
- CTE jobs will always be in high demand. Students that have certifications might be able to start work immediately after high school or right out of college.
Career and Technical Education tracks provide students educational paths that can lead to individual success in high school, college, and careers in the future. CTE programs offer public school students a diverse set of skills, hands-on training, and practical experiences that are designed to give them a boost after graduation and benefits well into their future.