By Erin Tigro
Today's Vocational Programs
Vocational training has come a long way from the days of woodshop. These days, interested high school students may be able to take courses in information technology, nursing, computerized automotives and machining. This type of technical education path can be a starting point for a post-high school career. For those who want to earn a college degree, CTE can also be good preparation for higher education. Vocational classes combine academics and specialized skills in a more hands-on manner, often providing the platform for a more interactive and engaging learning experience.
In a recent report by the Arizona Department of Education, high school students in Tucson's Unified School District who took CTE courses outscored their general education counterparts in reading, writing and math standardized tests. A report demonstrating similar results was issued in 2007 by the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education at the University of Minnesota. Vocational training has also been a viable option for students considering dropping out of high school, aiding the retention rate of many at-risk juniors and seniors. According to the National Association of State Directors Career Technical Education Consortium, on average, nine out of ten students who took on high school CTE courses in the 2007-2008 school year graduated. In contrast, during the same academic year, the National Center for Education Statistics indicated an approximate three-out-of-four on-time graduation rate for traditional high school students.
After High School
In today's workforce, some of the most in-demand fields require specialized technical abilities. Some vocational programs qualify students to earn specialized credentials in their field, which can help them obtain a job after high school. In addition, certain schools may partner with local businesses to offer practical work experiences to students. However, many CTE students decide to go on to college. Specifically, the Association for Career and Technical Education notes that more than 60% of CTE graduates move on to higher education.
Is college not for you? Read on for information about vocational career alternatives that skilled CTE students may be able to pursue one day.