February is Career and Technical Education Month
February might be a month associated with hearts and flowers, but it’s also a month that’s dedicated to increasing public awareness of career and technical education opportunities. Career and Technical Education Month® (CTE Month) takes place across the US each February. During the month, schools and other organizations hold programs and activities that inform people of their CTE options and help people better understand the benefits of CTE.
Whether you’re a current middle or high school student or have left school and are looking for ways to improve your career options, learn more about CTE and what it can do for you.
What is Career and Technical Education?
Career and technical education includes training programs and courses that help prepare students for careers in high-demand, high-paying fields. In Florida, more than half of the 50 fastest-growing careers and occupations require either a post-secondary adult vocational certificate or an associates degree. Just 34 percent of the fastest-growing occupations in the state require a bachelors’ degree or higher.
CTE programs are available for middle and high school students as well as for adults. Post-secondary programs aimed at adults often offer students the opportunity to earn a career certificate in a year or less. After earning a certification, some students decide to continue their studies, taking articulated credit with them on their way to either an associates or bachelors degree.
CTE is divided into 17 career clusters, including engineering, energy, education, agriculture, arts and media, and health sciences. Within each cluster are multiple career pathways.
Certificate and training programs for CTE aren’t just classroom based. Students in many programs are likely to find themselves learning in a work-based environment or gaining hands-on, practical experience as they train.
Reasons to Consider CTE
CTE creates opportunities for students. Post-secondary CTE students come from varied backgrounds but are more likely to be working either part-time or full-time, older than the average post-secondary student, and/or married. Pursuing a career certificate provides CTE students with the chance to find a higher-paying job and to move up in their career.
Another reason to consider CTE is the skills gap. Just 20 percent of high school students decide to pursue a CTE program, despite the fact that many of the fastest-growing jobs are in a CTE career cluster. Employers are left scrambling to find qualified applicants to fill vacant positions.
Finally, cost is another reason why CTE is worth considering. The cost of a technical program is typically much lower than the cost of a four-year college education at either a private or public institution. The average cost of a CTE program was $3,250 during the 2016-2017 school year.
Students who pursue CTE training can also avoid massive amounts of debt. Collective student loan debt in the US is around $1.5 trillion. Meanwhile, more than $1 billion in funding is allocated to CTE programs in all 50 states each year. In 2018, Florida received $68,706,986 in funding for CTE programs. Much of that funding went to Pell Grants for students, which do not need to be repaid.
How Can You Learn More About CTE?
If you are interested in exploring the career opportunities offered by CTE, February is the perfect time to begin your research. Orange Technical College has been offering career and technical education programs to students in Orange County since 1933.
Our programs help prepare students for careers in some of Florida’s fastest-growing industries, including healthcare, hospitality, and education. We have five campuses as well as adult community education centers across the county. To learn more about our career certificate and continuing education programs, request more information today.
- “Career and Technical Education,” Florida Department of Education, http://www.fldoe.org/core/fileparse.php/5652/urlt/CTE-brochure-online.pdf
- Career Clusters Infographics, Florida Department of Education, http://www.fldoe.org/core/fileparse.php/5652/urlt/CareerClusterInfographics.pdf
- “About CTE,” Association for Career and Technical Education, https://www.acteonline.org/about-cte/#postsecondary
- “CTE Today!,” Association for Career and Technical Education, https://www.acteonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/CTETodayFact-SheetJanuary2018.pdf
- “It’s Time to Rethink Career and Technical Education,” Homeroom: The Official Blog of the US Department of Education, https://blog.ed.gov/2018/12/time-rethink-career-technical-education/
- State Allocations, Perkins Collaborative Resource Network, https://cte.ed.gov/grants/state-allocations
- Estimated 2018 State Allocations, US Department of Education, https://s3.amazonaws.com/PCRN/docs/EstimatedFY2018PerkinsStateAllocations.pdf