Career and Technical Education (CTE) Programs

There are a whole range of venues for these programs. They can be found in CTE Centers, Comprehensive High Schools, and Regional Vocational Technical High Schools. Generally, they exist as a series of courses in a particular occupation area and the academic courses are taken separately from the occupation courses thus differentiating themselves from career academies that use the small learning community concept for most courses.

CTE Centers draw students from area high schools and are typically found in more sparsely populated areas. Students typically take their academic courses at their “home “high schools in the morning or afternoon and go to the center for their career-related courses. The Berks Career and Technology Center’s Protective Services – Homeland Security Program provides a typical example. The school serves 16 public school districts, numerous nonpublic schools, and the citizens and businesses of the Berks County area. The Career Center is governed by a Joint Operating Committee comprised of school directors from each of the 16 sponsoring school districts.

Comprehensive High Schools have career-related programs within the school. Students at that school can choose to take a specific program. The academic courses are also taken at the school. Some such high schools allow students from other schools to take the career program offered at the comprehensive high school when scheduling and transportation can be worked out. The Law and Justice Program at Cambridge High School in Georgia offers a number of courses plus Skills USA competition program.

Regional Vocational Technical High Schools are those schools where students take all their courses at the same school: academic and career-related. Students attending these high schools must select a career-focused program. Massachusetts has a number of these high schools. Students in a particular program take their courses one week and their career program, which is experiential, the next week. The Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School’s Legal and Protective Career Program is one example.

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