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Career and
Technical Education

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What is Career and Technical Education (CTE)?

Career and technical education (CTE) prepares learners for high-wage, high-skill, high-demand careers. The goal of CTE is to prepare students to be college- and career-ready by integrating academic, employability, and technical skills. Through clear career pathways and post-secondary partnerships, CTE provides students with a rigorous and relevant curriculum that will allow students to successfully transition to life after graduation.

A group of student chefs serve food to other students


KCKPS provides college- and career-ready curriculum to both middle and high school students across our district. Students in our middle schools explore CTE through elective courses, such as Career Exploration, Business Essentials, Computer Applications, and Careers and Life Planning, and other STEM courses. As students transition to high school, they continue their exploration of our college- and career-ready pathways. The goal is to have students find the pathway that sparks their passion for learning and career interests. 

In 2019, KCKPS began working with the Kauffman Foundation Real-World Learning Initiative to make our CTE programs even more relevant to students. Each pathway will lead students to at least one market value asset. The four market value assets identified by the Kauffman Foundation are work experiences, college credit, industry-recognized credentials, and entrepreneurial experiences. We want students to leave high school with marketable assets that can be used to obtain employment or propel them toward a college degree.

How to Pick Classes in CTE

You will notice classes within each pathway are at different levels.  We encourage students to begin their journey through a pathway at the lowest level (introductory or technical levels) and work their way up to the top level (application).  Our goal is to see a student earn at least 2 credits in one pathway.  We have also noted suggested classes that a student could take to supplement the classes within each pathway.  These are not required, but great classes for a student who wants to incorporate classes outside of CTE in their preparation for college or career.

KCKPS high school students have the opportunity to explore 17 career pathways:


CTE in Action at KCKPS


Why CTE?

student soldering something to a circuit board

Career and technical education provides students with skills to launch them into a successful career or postsecondary track. CTE students are more engaged and perform better in school. Advance CTE found that students in a CTE pathway were more likely to complete a college-prep course load. CTE pathways include rigorous coursework as students merge core academic skills with the technical skills needed in a career field. CTE students are also less likely to drop out of high school. The graduation rate for students concentrating in a CTE pathway in Kansas is 99%. Students focused on a career pathway recognize the value of those skills to their future and their earnings potential. In addition, CTE students are more likely to successfully transition after graduation. Advance CTE reports that 92% of CTE concentrators in Kansas go on to college, military service, or employment related to their pathway within 6 months of high school graduation. Once students transition to college, 75% of CTE concentrators earn a credential, certificate, or diploma. 

According to (Daugherty, 2016), students who participate in CTE courses are guaranteed positive outcomes.

  • Increase the probability of graduation by 3.2%
  • Increase enrollment in a 2 year institution by 0.6"
  • Increase probability of employment after graduation by 1.5"
  • Increase quarterly wages the year after graduation by 3%
  • Dual enrollment coupled with additional CTE courses doubles the probability of a students enrollment in a 2 year college the year after graduation

CTE Benefits

  • Satisfied Students and Parents
  • Real-World Skills
  • Options for College and a Rewarding Career
  • More Valuable High School Experience

CTE 101

KSDE's Data Central