While career and technical education has existed for more than 100 years, new thoughts about the role of CTE are spurring innovation in states and districts across the country and are redefining what school can and should look like. Many districts are increasing allocations of funding to CTE programs; including or requiring CTE credits for graduation and the creation of CTE diploma endorsement or graduation paths; and integrating CTE with college-prep coursework, instead of making it an either-or choice for student.
Taking career and technical education courses in high school provides high school students with real-world skills that can help them earn certifications that can lead to higher wage jobs following graduation, but there many other benefits to taking CTE Courses. We compiled our list of the top three reasons for considering CTE courses within your school or district.
1) Students are more likely to graduate.
Juniors and seniors in high school who complete CTE courses are more likely to graduate on time and less likely to drop of school, compared to those who don’t participate in CTE programs, according to a study in the American Educational Research Journal. The Association for Career and Technical Education found that taking one CTE class for every two academic classes minimizes the risk of students dropping out of high school, and the average high school graduation rate for students concentrating in CTE programs is 93 percent, compared to an average national freshman graduation rate of 80 percent. Additionally, the Association for Career and Technical Education found that 91 percent of high school graduates who earned two to three CTE credits enrolled in college.
2) Students have the potential to earn higher wages.
A recent study, Vocational and Career Tech Education in American High Schools: The Value of Depth Over Breadth, discovered that students who take more upper-level vocational courses experienced a nearly two percent wage increase for each additional year. The study also found that there were not any gains from taking introductory vocational courses, but the benefits of vocational coursework accrue to those who focus on depth over breadth. In other words, rather than focusing on multiple introductory classes and getting a wide variety of experience in lower level CTE courses, students who are taking upper-level courses and focus more deeply in one area of study, experience the greatest results, higher wages and increased satisfaction in CTE programs.
3) Students stay engaged.
Students who take CTE courses know that they will be able to directly apply their learning to careers when they graduate. Hands-on learning experiences should enable students to apply practical skills to real-world scenarios with lessons includes multiple opportunities for students to build knowledge through inquiry, creation, connection, observation, and confirmation. This active learning approach is proven to develop critical thinking skills and prepares students for success in the workforce.
How Apex Learning Can Help
For more than twenty years, Apex Learning has partnered with school districts nationwide to implement digital learning programs to keep students on track for graduation and prepare them for their next step. Apex Learning CTE programs of study, in areas such as general management, human resources management and administrative support, provide, in-depth three-year course pathways that equip students for jobs where there is high demand for workers and provide students with the ability to earn the industry credentials employers are seeking. To learn more about our CTE programs, visit: https://www.apexlearning.com/cte.