Types of Career and Technical Education Programs

No matter the job, you can expect that you will need to know the specific skillset.

If you show interest in a job or career path and you are not sure if you have the proper skills, you may want to enroll in a career training program. Not only will you learn the specific skills needed for the job you desire, but you will also gain the confidence to do the job accurately and thoroughly.

When you enroll in a career training program, you are molding yourself into the ideal employee. You are also increasing your employability. Taking the time to explore the different types of career and technical education programs show that you are serious about your future. It can also help you find a career path that you might otherwise not have thought to explore, which may end up being the right career trek for you.

What is career and technical education?

Career and technical education, or CTE, allows students to learn a technical skill that they will need to follow a particular job path. They are designed to prepare students for employment in jobs or labor markets that require certifications in contrast to careers that require some level of a college degree.

It is common to find CTE programs available at high schools across the state. However, they are also available as postsecondary programs. If you are an adult wishing to locate a postsecondary CTE program, you can find them at career schools, and community or junior colleges.

There are two career schools: Technical schools and vocational schools. Technical schools teach students skills through a traditional classroom setting. Typically, you will use books and manuals to complete the program and to learn the trade. Vocational schools, on the other hand, use a hands-on approach by focusing on applied training and teaching methods.

Once you complete a program from either a technical or vocational school, it will reward you with either a certificate or an Associates of Science (AS) degree. Then, you can take the skills that you learn in the course to become a valuable employee in your new career.

Types of Career and Technical Education Programs

CTE programs are beneficial to students because programs are known to cover many career areas. Also known as career clusters, career areas are industrial groupings under which programs are categorized. The most popular career clusters in America are:

  • Agriculture and natural resources.
  • Engineering and technology.
  • Health science.
  • Information technology.
  • Law, public safety and security.

Schools that offer career education typically provide a variety of programs. However, some schools only focus on training students in a specialized skill, such as manual labor jobs like electricians, plumbers, and car mechanics.

Depending on the field you choose, the type of career education school you enroll in will vary. Therefore, while most certification and licensure programs are only available through technical vocational colleges, some training may be available through your local school district.

What are the benefits of career and technical education programs?

Most manual labor jobs that require enrollment in an education program also require on-the-job training and apprenticeship, which will help you gain the necessary skills that you will need to master the craft. Since many of these jobs are in high demand and offer lifelong skills, manual jobs are incredibly beneficial. Also, getting a license or certificate of a craft can help you become a more competitive job applicant.

When you enroll in a technical or vocational education program, you are exposed to several courses, many of which may not be familiar to you. If you enroll in an education program, you may not be sure of the exact career path that you would like to pursue. However, after registering, you may stumble upon a program that you otherwise did not know about or were not prepared to turn into a career.

How are career and technical education programs different than traditional education?

Typically, CTE programs cost less than a traditional college education. Also, CTE programs benefit students who are ready to enter the workforce but who do not have the money or time to attend a four-year college or university.

When you enroll in a technical or vocational school, you will graduate much sooner than your college or university counterparts. You will also enter the workforce quicker, which will allow you to make money sooner.

If you enroll in a college or university, it will typically take you four years to complete a degree. When you enroll in a CTE program, you can expect to finish your education within one to two years. However, depending on the program, courses may be even shorter and can be completed in as little as ten weeks. With a shorter program, you spend less time learning and more time tailoring your new craft or skills.

How to find the right career and technical program for you

If you decide that enrolling in a CTE program is the right career path for you, you may be wondering how you can go about finding the right program. Overall, the process may be complicated and lengthy.

Choosing an education program means that you will need to determine your interests and needs before you begin searching for schools. Then, you can search for schools that offer courses in the field or industry that appeals to you.

To find CTE schools near you, you can do an internet search for career schools. While you can also find information about possible schools through brochures or catalogs, they may not have all the answers to specific and essential questions that you may have, such as:

  • Classroom sizes and material requirements.
  • Whether the course is online or on-site.
  • The costs of tuition, fees, and materials.
  • Verifying the credentials of the school.
  • Course requirements.
  • Whether the school helps with job placements.

When you take the time to better your life and career, it is crucial that you do so thoroughly. The more you know about the school you choose and the program you are enrolling in, the better prepared you will be for graduation and the real world.