Types of Career and Technical Education Programs

For many people, traditional colleges and universities are not the right fit for them. If you are currently looking to earn an education beyond a high school level, and you also need to enter the workforce quickly, you may want to consider enrolling in a Career and Technical Education (CTE) program.

Completing a CTE program allows candidates to enter the workforce with work-related skills that can put them at the top of an employer’s list of potential candidates. If you enroll in a CTE program, the length of your program will most likely be shorter than traditional college programs. Also, your ETC program may allow you to attend classes at night, weekends or online. If you think that you need to have a degree program from a traditional college or university to get your dream job, think again. Finding the right job for you could directly correlate with the CTE in which you enroll.

What are Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs?

CTE programs, formerly known as vocational education and trades training, are a type of post-secondary education that is designed to help students learn the technical skills, knowledge and training necessary to prepare them for the occupation that they are pursuing. One of the many appeals of CTE programs is that they are not traditional four-year programs. CTE programs take less than a year to complete, allowing graduates to enter the workforce more quickly.

Typically, students enroll in programs geared towards skilled trades, applied sciences and modern technologies. If you are interested in enrolling in a CTE program, you can find them at many types of educational institutions, such as trade schools, vocational schools, and career and technical colleges. However, you can also see them at community colleges, and both public and private universities. Lastly, CTE programs are also offered through participating labor unions, professional associations and public workforce-development agencies.

Now that you are familiar with CTE programs let’s take a closer look at the most common programs.

Health Care Programs

Many people may think that they need to attend medical school to obtain a career in the medical field. However, that is far from the truth. Students can enroll in post-secondary certificate and associate’s degree programs and earn a job in the healthcare sector. Healthcare jobs are in high-demand and offer a competitive salary, and many jobs in the healthcare sector only require completion of a CTE program. Careers that you can obtain by attending post-secondary healthcare schools include dental hygienist, diagnostic medical sonographer, physical therapist assistant, and surgical technologist. As well as a dental assistant, phlebotomist, registered nurse, and radiologic technologist.

Students who graduate from healthcare schools can find employment in hospitals, nursing homes, surgical centers, medical labs and pharmacies, to name a few. Through healthcare schools, you can enroll in short-term health care training to earn a certification, diploma or vocational certificate. Alternately, you can take more time with your education and enroll in a degree program. Depending on which medical program you enter, the length of the program will vary.

Skilled Trades Programs

As the economy continues to grow, skilled trades and technical education are among one of the most common program options for students pursuing a career. With a skilled trade education, you can find employment as a welder, plumber, carpenter, electrician, mechanic, locksmith, commercial driver or aircraft mechanic. Most skilled trades programs reward a vocational certificate upon graduation, but some require students take part in an apprenticeship to further their hands-on training.

Consumer Services Programs

Under the broad umbrella that is consumer services are many different careers and industries, such as culinary arts, tourism and hospitality. Careers like hotel management, catering and cosmetology require special education that can be obtained by enrolling in a CTE program. Most consumer services programs reward a vocational certificate upon completion, while others need additional training. Most of the programs are short and prepare students to start working in a short period of time.

Business, Finance, and Marketing Programs

When you think of CTE programs, business, finance and marketing programs might not come to mind. However, business-related careers require their own skills set. Therefore, you can find business programs at colleges, universities or career and technical schools. Depending on the degree that you obtain, you may qualify for jobs in industries like technology, financial services, and real estate. While careers like property management, accounting, bookkeeping and administrative assistance may require only a vocational verification, other jobs may require at least an associate’s degree.

Information Technology (IT)

As businesses continue to advance their computer systems, they are going to need more employees to monitor and build their computer networks, as well as employees to develop their websites and graphics. If you invest in IT-focused technical education, such as web development, graphic design or film or video editing, you are preparing for a career with job growth for years to come. Most information technology programs require at least an associate’s degree to qualify for graduation, while others require a vocational certificate or a bachelor’s degree.

Legal and Social Service Programs

If you are interested in becoming a law enforcement officer, private investigator, paralegal or legal assistant, you may consider enrolling in a legal educational program. I(f you want to pursue a social services career like a mental health counselor, child, family, or a school social worker, you may wish to enroll in a social service program. Degrees range from vocational, associate’s and bachelor’s, while careers like police officer require police academy training, and the length also varies depending on the program.

Teaching Degrees and Diploma Programs

If you want to pursue a career in teaching, you may want to consider enrolling in an education program. Education programs can last from one to four years, and degrees range from vocational, associates and bachelors. If you are interested in becoming an early childhood educator, teacher’s assistant or library technician, you only need to obtain a vocational certificate. However, if you are interested in becoming an elementary, middle or high school teacher, you will need to earn a bachelor’s degree. The lengths of such programs tend to vary, ranging from less than a year to up to four years or more. So, you have the opportunity to choose a path that matches your ambition for making a difference in the lives of your students.

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