Career and Technical Education

  • Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses allow students to explore a variety of career pathways in order to find their passions. Students routinely demonstrate the 5 C’s-- Creativity, Collaboration, Citizenship, Communication, and Critical Thinking--through hands-on project and problem-based learning. Students receive technical and workplace readiness skills instruction aligned with academics, earn industry credentials, participate in Career and Technical Student Organization career and leadership development activities, and explore work-based learning.

    CTE courses are offered to students in Grades 6 through 12 with career exploration opportunities available in middle and elementary school. While most CTE courses are electives, Career Investigations is a required course in Grade 6 and Economics and Personal Finance, often taught in Grade 11, is a graduation requirement.

    In Grade 7, students work with parents and counselors to prepare their Academic and Career Plans, a personal learning plan and course of study that aligns with the student's academic and career goals. These plans outline pathways to post-secondary opportunities as well as industry credentialing options.

    In Grades 9 through 12, students may take coherent sequences of courses in a variety of Career and Technical Education pathways many of which are dual-enrolled with Lord Fairfax Community College. Students may concentrate in Agriculture, Architecture and Construction, Business, Finance, Health Science, Hospitality and Tourism, Human Services, Information Technology, Manufacturing, Marketing, STEM, and Transportation. In addition, students may earn a variety of nationally recognized industry credentials. The High School Industry Credentialing initiative encourages students to work toward a selected industry credential or state license while pursuing a high school diploma. The Virginia Department of Education evaluates on an on-going basis industry credentials against prescribed criteria for graduation requirements for the Standard Diploma (8VAC20-131-50.B and student-selected verified credit (8VAc20-131-110.C).

    Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) are aligned and embedded within each program area. CTSOs enhance Career and Technical Education in Virginia through the co-curricular network of programs, business and community partnerships and leadership experiences at the school, state, and national levels. Virginia students enrolled in Career and Technical Education courses are members of the local CTSO related to their courses and area of interest and are provided with opportunities to apply academic, technical and employability knowledge and skills necessary in today’s workplace.

    Work-based Learning (WBL) is an integral part of CTE courses. WBL may be embedded in the course--Nurse Aide, Early Childhood Education, Teachers for Tomorrow, and Education for Employment are examples--or is optional for course credit through a Cooperative Education section of a course or internship. Additional work-based learning experiences may be available as a part of Career and Technical Education courses through an application process.

    High School CTE Program Areas

    Middle School CTE Electives

    Post-secondary Education and Employment Data

    View post-secondary education and employment data published by the State Council of Higher Education.