Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs offer students the opportunity to learn skills they can carry into a career or continuing education. CTE students have the opportunity to experience hands-on training in a field of interest to them and often can participate in externships or other cooperative education programs providing them with real-world experiences and possible job opportunities after graduation. Many programs offer courses that can give students college credit in addition to meeting high school graduation requirements.
Studies have shown that students who participate in CTE programs are more likely to graduate from high school, be employed, and earn higher wages than their peers (Shaun Dougherty). While some students will enroll in technical programs or begin their careers upon graduation, many will continue their education in a 2- or 4-year college or university program, often with credits earned through their high school CTE coursework. The connections made between academic coursework and career goals spur many students on to future success.
In Illinois, CTE programs fall into one of five content areas:
- Agricultural Education
- Business, Marketing, and Computer Education
- Family and Consumer Sciences
- Health Science Technology
- Technology and Engineering Education (Industrial)
With a nationwide shortage of skilled workers, the outlook is good for students participating in CTE programs.