[1] Workshop 2 Current Trends Presentation

Career Clusters and Career & Pathways

CTE classes fall into one of 16 Career Clusters.  A career cluster is a group of jobs and industries that are related by skills or products. Within each cluster, there are cluster "pathways" that correspond to a collection of courses and training opportunities to prepare students for a chosen career. The 16 clusters were established at the national level by the States' Career Clusters Initiative and are recognizable across the United States in middle schools, high schools, community and technical colleges, and the workforce. Each cluster has a page on this Website and each contains information on careers, affiliated student leadership organizations, education and training options for high school graduates after high school, and other related student resources.

Programs of Study

Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act  (Perkins V) calls upon states to create sequences of academic and CTE coursework to help students attain a post secondary degree or industry-recognized certificate or credential, otherwise known as programs of study (POS). The CTE POS incorporates technical, academic and employability knowledge and skills. 

Courses differ across states. The framework for evaluating a program of study will require a collaborative effort from local secondary and post secondary CTE faculty, staff and stakeholders, including educators, career guidance professionals and advisory group members.

ACTE has created an evidence-based framework defining high-quality CTE across 12 elements, to help CTE educators and administrators develop and improve the quality of their CTE programs of study.

12 Elements of a High-quality CTE Program of Study

Common Career Technical Core

The  Common Career Technical Core (CCTC) is a states-led initiative to develop high quality Career Technical Education (CTE) standards for what students should know and be able to do at the end of a CTE program and to be career ready. The standards have been informed by state and industry standards and developed by a diverse group of teachers, business and industry experts, administrators and researchers. The process for developing the CCTC was informed by: High-quality state and industry standards; Input and guidance from educators, business and industry and state leaders; and feedback from the public.

The CCTC also includes an overarching set of Career Ready Practices that apply to all programs of study. The Career Ready Practices are 12 statements that address the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that all students,  

regardless of their career path, should acquire to become career ready in the global economy. 

CTE Delivery Systems

Over the past few years there has been a renewed enthusiasm for CTE resulting in an increased number of delivery systems. CTE can be delivered in a number of settings- At the secondary level, CTE is delivered through comprehensive high schools; Technical/Vocational High Schools; Area Technical Centers; Early College High Schools, Pre-Apprenticeship/Youth Apprenticeship; and Career Academies, which are “schools-within-a-school” that provide college preparatory curriculum in the around a career-oriented theme. At the post secondary level, CTE is delivered through the state’s community and technical colleges, as well as independent and proprietary (for profit) schools.

2018 Policy Platform CTE

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