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What is CTE?
CTE programs prepare students to enter today’s competitive workforce. CTE courses support the California Common Core State Standards and CTE Model Curriculum Standards, preparing students for a successful high school experience, postsecondary options and the world of work.


What is a CTE pathway?

A CTE pathway is a sequence of two or more CTE courses within a student’s area of career interest.  Pathways are designed to connect high school classes to college, industry certifications, and/or a career.

Why should students participate in a CTE pathway?

While in high school, students have the opportunity to acquire free technical skills training in the career field he/she is interested in.  Students will learn valuable technical skills and soft skills making them employable regardless of the field of study they actually end up in.

Is there proof CTE actually works?
Yes.  According to many studies, CTE graduates are 10-15% more likely to be in the labor force, and earn 8-9% more than graduates of academic programs (Sage, 2001).  Additionally, a ratio of one CTE class for every two academic classes minimizes the risk  of students dropping out of high school (Plank et al., Dropping Out of High School and  the Place of Career and Technical Education, National Research Center for CTE,  2005).  The average high school graduation rate in 2008 for students concentrating in  CTE programs was 90%, compared to the average nationwide graduation rate of 75%(U.S. Department of Education 2007-2008 data, National Association of State Directors  of Career Technical Education Consortium analysis).

Is CTE only for students who are not college bound?
No. CTE is designed for all students, providing a foundation of industry based technical skills and academic knowledge. CTE courses help all students make informed decisions about college and career choices.

How do CTE courses prepare students for college and career?

All CTE courses support the Common Core and CTE Model Curriculum Standards (MCS).  Learning rigorous academic skills, especially in English Language Arts and Mathematics are an integral part of each CTE course outline and competencies.  These skills help our students put English Language Arts and Mathematics to work in a real-world, hands-on environment they can relate to.  The CTE MCS are designed to assist school districts in developing high quality curriculum and instruction to prepare students for future careers.  The MCS were created with assistance from more than 300 representatives from business, industry, postsecondary and secondary education and reviewed by nearly 1000 members of the general public.  These standards are rigorous, evidence-based, relevant and reasonable in scope

Are CTE teachers credentialed?
Yes. All instructors who teach CTE classes hold preliminary or clear Designated Subjects CTE credentials issued by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.  To qualify for a CTE preliminary credential, CTE teacher candidates must show evidence of a minimum of three years of work experience directly related to each industry sector named on the credential. They must possess a high school diploma, GED or the foreign equivalent of a high school diploma. Candidates must obtain a fingerprint clearance and recommendation by Commission approved CTE program sponsor.  Candidates are required to complete a rigorous teacher preparation program from an accredited LEA or university program. For additional information:

How do CTE internships work?
CTE internship opportunities are available for students who are currently taking a CTE course. CTE teachers arrange student internship opportunities and track student  progress of CTE course objectives during the internship.  Liability insurance is covered by the school district for unpaid internships and by the employer for paid internships.

Can students earn community college credit for taking CTE classes?
Yes. Many CTE classes have articulation agreements with local community colleges.


For more information about CTE programs offered in California, click here or visit


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