Career and technical education is an important initiative to help students

More and more U.S. public high schools have been implementing career and technical education (CTE) into their curriculums to help better prepare students for college and a career beyond their schooling. 

CTE is a type of work-based learning where students can choose what profession they want to specialize in while also completing courses to fulfill requirements for their core subjects of math, english, history, science, etc.

This is something that the state of New Jersey already has implemented and plans to expand on. New Jersey has the Office of Career Readiness, which is responsible for the implementation of CTE statewide. 

According to, the office’s mission is to make sure “all students are college and career ready and become productive members in a global society.”

There are many upsides to this, such as the fact that it helps prepare students for their future careers by letting them get a head start on studying their chosen specialty. It also helps them gain perspective and learn about what they do or don’t enjoy learning and doing in an academic setting. 

CTE also probably helps students enjoy their classes more, as rather than having to sit through a plethora of required classes that don’t align with their interests, they get to choose a specialization they enjoy. 

As someone who went to a high school that had multiple CTE programs and didn’t apply to any of them, I feel like CTE is a great benefit. Not joining the CTE program for my specialized interest, English and the humanities, is something that I have mildly regretted now that I’m older and have gained more perspective on the situation. 

I would have definitely loved the opportunity to get a sneak-peek at my prospective field of study before applying to colleges for it. Knowing what I know now, I definitely would have taken advantage of the program. 

Similarly, a point that comes up a lot when talking about students declaring their major for college at the age of 18 is that some see the expansion of CTE curriculums and argue that we are pushing career choices on students that are too young to be choosing their life path.

I disagree, as CTE would benefit that process and lessen the social pressures put on high school graduates to jump back into their education on a college level. 

CTE helps better prepare the students that are serious about their program for an academic and professional career. Those who decide not to stick with their specialization when transitioning into college or a profession most likely changed their decision because they realized, through the CTE program, that that specialization wasn’t what was best for them. 

I’m sure we can all agree that it’s better for students to realize this as a high school graduate, than as a college graduate — and after they spent four years and expensive tuition on it.

I think there are more benefits from a CTE program than downsides. It’s also important to remember that despite the way these programs are marketed, as a way to fast track a student’s career and college readiness, not all students will find their desired specialty through these programs, go into college with a declared major after a CTE education or even go to college after one. But I think allowing students to try on as many different hats as possible before deciding what they want to do with their life is the best way to prepare them for the professional world.


Featured photo courtesy of Yan Krukau, Pexels