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50-State Comparison: Secondary Career and Technical Education

Secondary career and technical education (CTE) programs help students develop technical, academic and workforce skills that can be applied to employment or additional postsecondary education. As demands in workforce needs shift in favor of employees with practical knowledge and skills, it is important that state policies in this area provide students with pathways from high school that lead to employment and education.

This 50-State Comparison provides an overview of secondary CTE policies and activities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to provide a comprehensive resource on states’ CTE systems. It focuses on state-level policies and plans impacting CTE on a range of topics, including its director agencies, funding, program approval, teacher certification, diplomas, dual enrollment and federal measures for programs. As shown in the comparison, it is impacted by K-12, postsecondary and workforce policies. This resource does not include information on career and technical activity at the postsecondary level.

Click on the topics below for 50-State Comparisons showing how all states approach specific secondary CTE policies. View a specific state’s approach by going to the individual state profiles page.

Key Takeaways

  • At least 38 states plus the District of Columbia house their CTE director within their K-12 education system.
  • The most common approach to secondary CTE funding is student-based funding, used by at least 28 states.
  • Over 20 states offer a CTE diploma or CTE diploma endorsement.
  • At least 43 states allow students to take CTE courses through state dual and concurrent enrollment to earn high school and postsecondary credit.
  • Five states have selected more than one Perkins V measure to indicate secondary CTE program quality. The most frequent choice with at least 25 states and the District of Columbia is work-based learning participation.
  • At least 31 states have a college and career readiness indicator that includes CTE coursework or work-based learning.

50-State Comparisons

Click on one of the topics below to see how all states address it. Or scroll to the bottom to view all data points for all states at once.

State CTE Directors: State CTE directors are housed in K-12, postsecondary, workforce and independent CTE agencies.

Fund Distribution: States use a range of federal, state and local funding sources to support secondary CTE. This analysis categorizes state CTE funding into four categories: Student-based, Resource-based, Cost-based and Hybrid model.

CTE Program Approval: Across states, a variety of entities are responsible for the establishment or approval of secondary CTE programs. Establishment and approval are overseen by state boards of education, state superintendents or commissioners of education, local education agencies and CTE-specific boards.

CTE Program Approval Criteria: States set a range of criteria in policy to approve CTE programs, ranging from course details to student outcomes. For the purpose of the comparison, each state’s criteria has been placed in categories.

Teacher Certification or Licensure Requirements: States require a range of qualifications for teachers seeking CTE certification or licensure. Requirements may differ by specific CTE subject area or be based on existing educational or work experience.

CTE Diploma or CTE Diploma Designation: States provide diplomas or diploma endorsements for meeting specific CTE coursework requirements.

Dual Enrollment: Most states allow students to pursue postsecondary CTE courses through statewide dual and concurrent enrollment.

Perkins V Measures of Program Quality: States may choose from three secondary CTE quality measures in their Perkins V or Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act combined state plans.

College and Career Readiness Measures: The Every Student Succeeds Act allows states to choose an indicator of School Quality and Student Success for school accountability. Over half of the states have selected a College and Career Readiness indicator. Each state has unique measures for this indicator, some may include CTE coursework or work-based learning as part of the indicator.

All Data Points for All States

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March 2, 2023

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