Career and Technical Education Info for Parents

CTE gives purpose to learning by emphasizing real-world skills and practical knowledge. Programs in Career and Technical Education are designed to contribute to the broad educational achievement of students, including basic skills such as reading, writing, and mathematics, as well as their ability to work independently and as part of a team, think creatively, solve problems, and utilize technology. These tools and experiences make school more relevant, and ensure students are ready for the real world. Whether students plan to further their education in community colleges, technical schools, four-year colleges and universities, receive on-the-job training, or pursue careers in the military, CTE can be the first step in a pathway toward productive employment and citizenship.

We are proud to have 931,801 Career and Technical Education participants. The 2018 CTE Concentrator Graduation rate of 99.2% is evidence of how CTE is learning that works for North Carolina. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Career and Technical Education?

What is Career and Technical Education?

Hundreds of thousands of North Carolina young people get their start each year in exciting and rewarding careers through secondary Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses. Whether students plan to further their education in community colleges, technical schools, or four-year colleges and universities, receive on-the-job training, or pursue careers in the military, secondary CTE can be the first step in a pathway toward productive employment and citizenship.

The mission of Career and Technical Education (CTE) is to empower students to be successful citizens, workers, and leaders in a global economy. Programs in Career and Technical Education are designed to contribute to the broad educational achievement of students, including basic skills such as reading, writing and mathematics, as well as their ability to work independently and as part of a team, think creatively and solve problems, and utilize technology.

What is Career and College Promise?

What is Career and College Promise?

Career and Technical Education expands rather than limits college options. Career and College Promise offers North Carolina students a clear pathway to postsecondary education and a career. Students take exploratory and skills-focused courses during middle school and their freshman and sophomore years in high school. Then, as high school juniors and seniors, they can access Career and College Promise technical pathways to earn a community college certificate in their career interest area and acquire credits transferrable within the NC Community College System. Eligibility requirements apply, but the program is available at no charge to students who are accepted. 

Interested students should contact their Career Development Coordinator, Career and Technical Education Teacher, or CTE Director to find out what options are available locally.
 

What is Work-Based Learning?

What is Work-Based Learning?

Work-based learning (WBL) is an educational strategy that provides students with real-life work experiences where they can apply academic and technical skills and develop employability skills. The concept of work-based learning has been in practice for centuries and is an integral part of the Career and Technical Education system.

Work-based learning experiences occur in a work setting, typically at an employer's worksite. The work-based learning activities are coordinated with school-based activities in an attempt to show students the "why" of what they are learning. Work-based learning strategies provide career awareness, career exploration opportunities, career planning activities, and help students reach competencies such as positive work attitudes and employability skills.

Work-based learning can be tied to a specific course using the cooperative method, or can be independent from specific coursework. In cooperative education, the work-based learning is tied directly to a specific course. Sometimes everyone in a specific class is engaged in a work-based learning experience at the same time. This allows the teacher to have the students connect what they are learning in the classroom with what they are learning in the workplace. Job shadowing, internships, mentorships, and service learning are often not tied to a specific course and would be considered independent work-based learning.

Work-based learning experiences may be paid or unpaid. Other than a paycheck, remuneration might include company discounts or scholarships. Cooperative education experiences are always paid employment.

Interested students should contact their Career Development Coordinator, Career and Technical Education Teacher, or CTE Director to find out what options are available locally.
 

What are Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs)?

What are Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs)?

All students in career and technical programs have an opportunity to develop and extend their learnings through participation in active career and technical student organizations (CTSOs). The program of work for each organization should be based on instructional competencies and be an integral part of the program.

Any student enrolled in a career and technical course is eligible for membership in the career and technical student organization associated with that program.

CTSOs develop character, citizenship, technical, leadership, and teamwork skills essential for students who are preparing for the workforce and further education. They enhance students' civic awareness and provide opportunities for developing social competencies and a wholesome attitude about living and working.

CTSOs provide a unique instructional method for attaining the competency goals and objectives identified in each course. Their activities are considered a part of the instructional day when they are directly related to the competencies and objectives in the course blueprints.

How do I find more information about CTE programs in my district?

How do I find more information about CTE programs in my district?

Interested students should contact their Career Development Coordinator, school counselor or CTE Director to find out what options are available locally.