What is CTE?

Hands-on Learning for your Future

The Office of Career and Technical Education provides additional learning opportunities for School District of Philadelphia students to develop professional skills and or provide intensive training and instruction outside the traditional classroom curriculum. In selecting to enroll in a CTE Program, students have an the opportunity to receive training in a specific career pathway in several career areas.

Career and Technical Education (CTE) incorporates rigorous and challenging academic content standards, and provides a sequence of courses leading to an industry-recognized credential or certificate in addition to the student’s high school diploma by

  • Empowering students for effective participation in an international economy as world-class workers and citizens;
  • Teaching students the high demand skills needed to get a job, to cross-train for different positions, or retrain for a new career; and
  • Preparing students for more than a good paying job – it serves as the beginning of a career path

There are over 120 CTE programs currently offered in over 30 high schools in the District. Students enrolled in these programs acquire both technical and academic skills by industry professionals, using state-of-the-art equipment in over 40 occupational areas.

What is a CTE Program of Study (POS)?

  • A three-year, competency-based program beginning in 10th grade and consisting of 1,080 total hours of instruction
  • Includes rigorous content aligned with challenging academic standards, and relevant career and technical content in a coordinated, non-duplicative progression of courses that align secondary education with postsecondary education to adequately prepare students to succeed in postsecondary education
  • Leads to an industry-recognized credential or certificate at the postsecondary level or an associate or baccalaureate degree, and
  • Includes the opportunity for secondary education students to participate in dual or concurrent enrollment programs, and other ways to acquire postsecondary education credits.

Why is CTE The Right Choice?

Recent data from the Association for Career and Technical Education proves that CTE is a success for high school students, and high school students involved in CTE are more engaged, perform better and graduate at higher rates.

  • 81% of dropouts say relevant, real-world learning opportunities would have kept them in high school.
  • The average high school graduation rate for students concentrating in CTE programs is 90.18%, compared to an average national freshman graduation rate of 74.9%.
  • More than 70% of secondary CTE concentrators pursued postsecondary education shortly after high school.

CTE works for business, and CTE addresses the needs of high-growth industries and helps close the skills gap.

  • The skilled trades are the hardest jobs to fill in the United States, with recent data citing 806,000 jobs open in the trade, transportation and utilities sector and 293,000 jobs open in manufacturing.
  • Health care occupations, many of which require an associate degree or less, make up 12 of the 20 fastest growing occupations.
  • STEM occupations such as environmental engineering technicians require an associate degree and will experience faster than average job growth.

Why Career and Technical Education is Necessary
Michelle Armstrong, Executive Director, CTE