FAQ for Students 

Career and Technical Education


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How are CTE high school programs different from traditional high school programs?

CTE programs teach both knowledge and applied skills. This includes critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, creativity and innovation skills. The CTE approach is innovative and effective. It truly prepares you for future success, particularly when you apply to college or for a job.

How can I choose a CTE program if I’m not sure what career fields interest me?

Start by taking career and interest assessments available through your online IGP account. Use that information to explore the career clusters profiled on IGP and the cluster pages above;  then you can choose the cluster that best fits you and what you like to do. By taking courses that match your interests, you are more likely to get excited about what you are learning. By the time you graduate, you will be able to make an informed choice about what to study in college and what career path to pursue.

Does choosing a career cluster in high school limit what I can do after graduation?

Not at all. Participating in the career cluster system actually expands your options considerably. Although choosing a specific cluster, such as Health & Medical Sciences, means that you will have a few more electives and CTE courses in subjects related to that career field, the academic and job knowledge and skills you gain help prepare you to succeed in any college major or career.

I already know that I want to go to college, so how can CTE help me?

You will have a competitive edge in college admissions and courses thanks to your rigorous and relevant CTE experience in high school. By providing you with a hands-on, interactive experience, CTE helps you understand how college academics connect to your career choice. You may also save money and get a head start on a degree because some CTE programs allow you to earn college credit while you are still in high school.

What are some of the ways CTE students learn firsthand about different careers?

CTE students “learn by doing” with hands-on activities, project- and problem-based learning, laboratory work and fieldwork, simulations, and internships. Some programs help you find part-time and summer jobs and other work experiences. In addition, local professionals and parents serve as mentors and arrange job shadowing experiences in which you observe what it takes to do specific jobs.

Can I fit all the required CTE and academic courses, electives, and community service into my schedule, and still have time for clubs, sports or a part-time job?

Yes, but it takes planning, time management and discipline. CTE helps you graduate better prepared for life because managing your schedule effectively requires the same skills needed for success in college and career: being on time, following directions, completing assignments, working with others and planning ahead.

For Parents

  • How will participating in a CTE program help my son or daughter?
  • Isn’t eighth or ninth grade a little early to be choosing a career path?
  • Does the cluster system limit my child’s opportunities by focusing him or her on a specific career sector?
  • Why does a student have to create an Individual Graduation Portfolio (IGP)?
  • I understand the need for postsecondary education, yet I am not sure I will be able to afford sending my child to college. Can participating in a CTE program help students earn college scholarships or otherwise make college more affordable?

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