What is Career & Technical Education and Why is it Important?
What is CTE?
Career and Technical Education (CTE) is a practice of teaching with an emphasis on real-world skills and occupational knowledge on top of core academic knowledge. Commonly implemented as K-12 programming, it fosters curiosity in high-skill and high-demand jobs, some that require postsecondary education and some that do not. Where traditional vocational schools of the past focused mainly on skilled trades, CTE programs also involve pathways like healthcare, entrepreneurship, engineering, and more. CTE helps students hit the ground running with the applicable competencies for entry-level positions in their industry of interest.
There are additional aspects that make Career and Technical Education unique above the coursework. Many CTE programs have special industry-specific facilities, equipment, and materials to allow students to get hands-on while on school grounds. Work-based learning opportunities that get students onsite experiences in different career fields are another element of high-quality CTE. Another feature that schools may provide to help facilitate CTE is a standing network of business and community organizations that support and mentor students in their endeavors and will potentially hire them for entry-level positions. Some of these industry partners may also assist in curriculum by advising faculty, keeping them up-to-date on industry developments and opportunities. Great Career and Technical Education also features course progression and accreditation that will transfer to postsecondary educational institutions.
CTE vs. STEM
You may be wondering, what is the difference between Career and Technical Education and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics curriculums? They actually tend to go hand in hand! CTE programming can be used to make STEM content more relevant and inspire students’ interest in STEM career pathways. Seeing real-world applications of the things they’re learning makes many students want to get more involved. In other words, CTE uses project and problem-based learning to show off the power of STEM disciplines.
An example of CTE and STEM working in tandem with K-12 students are competitive robotics clubs. Members use and strengthen their problem-solving, teamwork, and creativity as well as mathematics, physics, and geometry skills. These clubs and competitions expose students to occupational skills needed for careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics while also teaching soft-skills. Other examples of employing both initiatives include coding bootcamps, biology and nature clubs, and even esports clubs.
Where STEM and CTE differ is mainly on the spread of career pathways that are highlighted. CTE programs highlight industries that fall under the STEM umbrella, such as engineering, robotics, computer science, and healthcare, but it doesn’t stop there. Pathways that might not always be a big part of traditional STEM curriculums are also featured; entrepreneurship, journalism, agriculture, marketing, environmental sciences, and family and consumer sciences just to name a few.
Gold Star Qualities
What kind of impact does CTE programming have on students? One of the most obvious benefits of CTE is that students are exposed to many career options, making it easier for them to plan goals for their career roadmap and further education. They may learn about a career pathway that they had prior exposure to that turns out to be a great fit for their interests and abilities.
Students have been observed to be more engaged and interested in the classroom. Students involved in CTE coursework also achieve higher graduation rates. CTE lessons instill effective communication, critical thinking, research strategies, and teamwork among other skills. Students are learning the competencies that are sought after by employers before they’re working in the industry! On top of skills, many CTE programs allow students to earn and study towards certificates and college credits that make them even more ready for their career pathway of choice.
Room To Grow
School districts can face different challenges when employing CTE practices and programming. In a perfect world, every school district could offer every aspect of high-quality CTE to every student, but there are often barriers.
Students lack access to modern job exploration tools.
Not every district has the opportunity to bring new technology and resources to their students due to financial constraints. Some schools rely on older or minimal CTE content and technology due to costs and other restrictions.
Job shadows and in-person tours are fantastic but not scalable.
Arguably some of the most exciting days for students are field trips and job shadow experiences. But if 2020 taught us anything, being in-person isn’t always feasible and learning must go on, no matter the circumstances. Helping facilitate these in-person experiences for hundreds of students can be quite a hurdle for teachers and faculty too; it’s not sustainable to do.
In-person career exploration experiences have significant barriers due to time, geography, and financial constraints.
Scheduling, travel, and costs . School districts have a lot to juggle over the course of the school year. Budget cuts, grant dollars going elsewhere, and the time constraints of the academic-year can put restraints on how much is dedicated to CTE. Getting students on-site for field trips and job shadows is not always feasible based on where the job sites are located as well as costs associated with travel.
Looking for a way to employ CTE?
CareerViewXR is a career exploration solution for the modern classroom. CareerViewXR experiences use 360-degree technology to produce interactive web-based tours and companion virtual reality videos that get viewers into the heart of a career.
Expose students to a variety of field trip and job shadow experiences for less than the cost of taking a single class on a single field trip. This affordable platform is great for working around time, geography, and financial constraints. High-volume classrooms can explore the growing content library 24/7 from devices school districts already own.
Not only is CareerViewXR great for CTE, it’s useful for:
- Employment agencies
- Recruitment professionals
- Industry organizations
- Corrections facilities
- And more!
Learn more and request a demo at https://www.careerviewxr.com/.