• Career and Technical Education

    The mission of Career and Technical Education (CTE) is to empower all students to be successful citizens, workers, and leaders in a global economy. CTE gives purpose to learning by emphasizing real-world skills and practical knowledge. Programs in Career and Technical Education are designed to contribute to the broad educational achievement of students, including basic skills such as reading, writing, and mathematics, as well as their ability to work independently and as part of a team, think creatively, solve problems, and utilize technology. These tools and experiences make school more relevant, and ensure students are ready for the real world. Whether students plan to further their education in community colleges, technical schools, four-year colleges, and universities, receive on-the-job training, or pursue careers in the military, CTE helps prepare students to succeed in high-demand, high-wage jobs in areas where new jobs will be available in the future. Many of the jobs identified by the Occupational Outlook Handbook as the fastest growing through 2027 are in areas that are part of the CTE program.


    CTE Delivers for students:

    • Real options for students for college and rewarding careers.
    • CTE programs allow students to explore a range of options for their future - inside and outside of the classroom.
    • Through CTE, students can start their path toward a career that they are passionate about, while earning valuable experience, college credits and more.
    • CTE students are more likely to have a post-high school plan - including college - than other students; just 2% of CTE students say they "don't know" what they will do after high school.


    Real-world skills for students

    • CTE is a unique opportunity for hands on learning - putting students at the center of the action.
    • CTE provides the skills and confidence students need to pursue career options, discover their passions, and get on a path to success.
    • Students in CTE programs and their parents are three times as likely to report they are "very satisfied" with their and their children's ability to learn real-world skills as part of their current education compared to parents and students not involved in CTE.


    Real experience with more value for students

    • CTE programs are a part of middle and high school - students can participate in CTE and the other activities they enjoy, such as sports, the arts or whatever else their friends are doing.
    • CTE takes students even further during their high school experience - providing opportunities for specialized classes, internships, and networking with members of the community.
    • Students in CTE programs and their parents are twice as likely to report they are "very satisfied" with their high school education experience compared to prospective CTE students and their parents.



    Students should work with their parents, counselors, and teachers to identify their interests, abilities, and talents. Students will develop an individualized high school plan that will prepare them for career goals and the postsecondary education needed to help them reach their goals.


    Careers are as diverse as student interests; therefore, OCS offers more than 100 CTE courses in 15 Career Clusters. The selection of a CTE Career Cluster concentration is not a permanent commitment and can be changed if student interests change; however, students should work closely with their school counselor and Career Development Coordinator to determine the effect that changes may have on meeting CTE Career Cluster requirements.


    Frequently Asked Questions:

    • What is a pathway?
      • A pathway is a set of aligned courses to a specific career path. The pathways are designed to provide students with experiences with skills required by jobs within that career.
    • What is a concentrator course?
      • A Concentrator Course is defined as a second- or third-level course that builds upon skills acquired in a prerequisite course. In this guide, a concentrator course is indicated by being Highlighted in Yellow.
    • What is a concentrator?
      • A CTE Concentrator is a student who has successfully completed a Concentrator Course in an approved Career Pathway Program of Study.
    • What is a Career Pathway Major?
      • The Career Pathway Major may be earned when a student successfully completes an aligned course sequence within the same Career Pathway Program of Study and successfully completes a Career Pathway Major Course. A Career Pathway Major Course is one that provides aligned specificity in a Career Pathway Program of Study and can include either an Advanced Studies course, Work-based Learning course, or a course with aligned content.


    Earning College Credit While in High School

    OCS and CCCC have adopted the North Carolina High School to Community College Statewide Articulation Agreement which awards college credit at North Carolina community colleges to students completing select CTE courses. Under these agreements, OCS high school students can earn college credit prior to graduation by earning a score of 93 or higher on the CTE EOC post-assessment and earning a grade of B or better in their high school CTE course. See your school counselor or Career Development Coordinator for additional information and an advanced standing agreement application.