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CTE - Career & Technical Education

What is CTE?

Career and technical education (CTE) prepares youth for a wide range of high-wage, high-skill, high-demand careers.
CTE Pathway at WHS:  Watch Video

CTE Works for High School Students

High school students involved in CTE are more engaged, perform better and graduate at higher rates.
  • Taking one CTE class for every two academic classes minimizes the risk of students dropping out of high school.
  • 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.
  • 91 percent of high school graduates who earned 2-3 CTE credits enrolled in college.
More CTE Statistics
  • CTE serves 94 percent of all high school students, including male and female students, students from many races and ethnicities, and students from higher and lower income backgrounds. However, at the start of the 21st century, male students; students from smaller, lower income or rural schools; students who have disabilities; and students who enter high school with lower academic achievement were more likely to participate in secondary CTE at higher levels.
  • In the 2013-2014 school year, according to the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education, there were 7,502,727 secondary CTE participants, or students who took at least 1 credit of CTE.
  • In 2009, the average number of credits earned in CTE by high school graduates was 3.6 credits. Over time, the percentage of students taking a few credits of CTE and students spreading their CTE credits across multiple career fields has increased, while the percentage taking a higher concentration of credits in one field has declined. This is due in large part to increased academic coursetaking on the part of all students, pointing to a convergence in academics and CTE.
  • In 2002, 88 percent of public high schools offered at least one CTE program. In addition, many high schools are served by area career centers–1,200 in 41 states, as of 2002.
The above data and citations are available from our CTE Today Fact Sheet and from the National Center for Education Statistics, the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education, the American Association of Community Colleges, the National Assessment of CTE and other publications from RTI International and MPR Associates.