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What is CTE?

Career Technical Education (CTE) provides students of all ages with the academic and technical skills, knowledge and training necessary to succeed in future careers and or, upgrade skills and to become lifelong learners. In total, about 12.5 million high school and college students are enrolled in CTE across the nation. CTE prepares these learners for the world of work by introducing them to workplace competencies, and makes academic content accessible to students by providing it in a hands-on context. In fact, the high school graduation rate for CTE concentrators is about 90% – 15 percentage points higher than the national average.

The California career technical education (CCTE) model curriculum standards are organized in 15 industry sectors, or groupings, of interrelated occupations and broad industries. Each sector has two or more career pathways.

A career pathway is a coherent sequence of rigorous academic and technical courses that allows students to apply academics and develop technical skills in a curricular area. It can help students discover their interests and passions or further develop technical career skills. Career pathways prepare students for successful completion of state academic and technical standards that can lead to success in high school, college and career. *

What are the Benefits of CTE?


  • Students enrolled in CTE programs are held to the same rigorous academic standards as all students.
  • CTE provides a strong foundation for those pursuing a traditional four-year degree.
  • CTE students are more interested and motivated in their coursewoork because of its connection to the real world, and have lower dropout rates than traditional students.


  • Many sectors of the economy that require skilled workers report a shortage of qualified applicants to fill these positions. CTE Programs prepare individuals for skilled professions that are essential to our nation's economic recovery.
  • CTE programs prepare students, adults, and displaced workers for entry into high skill, high wage, and high demand careers in every sector.

Articles of interest

  • Long Term Gain
    This article addresses benefits of CTE on a short-term as well as long-term basis
  • Impacts of CTE
    This document discusses how CTE has affected education all over the nation

* This information was derived from the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium 2014 and the California State Board of Education.