The CTE Story . . .

What is Career and Technical Education

  • The United States Department of Education summarized the importance of Career and Technical Education in its report Investing in America’s Future, “CTE represents a critical investment in our future. It offers students opportunities for career awareness and preparation by providing them with the academic and technical knowledge and work-related skills necessary to be successful in postsecondary education, training, and employment.”
    Effective, high-quality CTE programs:

    • Focus on career counseling.
    • Align with college- and career-readiness standards as well as the needs of employers, industry, and labor.
    • Provide students with a curriculum that combines integrated academic and technical content and strong employability skills.
    • Create work-based learning opportunities that enable students to connect what they are learning to real-life career scenarios, projects, job shadowing experiences, and internships.
    • Embrace industry certifications or licenses, postsecondary certificates, or dual credit that align with post-secondary programming and prepare them for in-demand careers within high-growth industry sector.
    • Integrate the teaching and use of appropriate technology.
    • Maintain an awareness of global competitiveness and entrepreneurship.

How are CTE classes different than other classes?

  • A strong and consistent theme in recent educational research is the necessity of actively engaging students in their learning.  In his book Working on the Work, Philip C. Schlechty states, "The key to school success is to be found in identifying or creating engaging schoolwork for students."  Engaging students in their learning is more likely to occur when what they are learning has relevance to them.  Willard Daggett argues, "What we need to do is….make sure that every academic that we teach is anchored in real-world application."
    Student engagement is not a new concept to CTE teachers.  Practical application of skills and knowledge is and has been the foundation of Career and Technical Education since its emergence in the early 1900s.  CTE classes are often referred to as "hands on" because students seldom sit idle.  They are constantly learning and applying knowledge and skills to "real world" situations.

Is Career and Technical Education the same as Vocational Education?

  • Vocational education was born in the early 1900s in response to an economic need in the United States for workers trained with specific job skills.  Today vocational education is called Career and Technical Education. 

    While built upon the rich tradition of vocational education, one must be cautious in thinking classes are the same today as they have always been.  CTE is constantly changing and adapting to meet the needs of a global economy and to reflect the modern workplace.  Students in CTE classes use technology common to business and industry.  CTE classes require students to use critical thinking techniques to solve complex problems.  Math, science, reading and writing skills are important to success in CTE classes.

    A common misconception about CTE and vocational education at the high school level is its purpose. When vocational education came on the scene, students who successfully completed a program had the skill sets necessary to enter and advance in the world of work.  While it is true that today's CTE student can master skills to qualify for entry-level jobs in a chosen area, it is also more common than not that advancement in the field will require further study.  The level of education - including industry-recognized credential, postsecondary certificates, and two-and four-year degrees - will vary dependent upon the career area and one's professional goals.  It is important to note that highly technical, well-paying jobs DO NOT always require a four-year degree. 

Are CTE classes required?

  • Middle Level CTE Opportunities:

    All Fargo Public Schools students are required to take these CTE classes in middle school:

    • Technology & Engineering\Project Lead the Way, Grade 7 – Design & Modeling and Grade 8 Automations & Robotics
    • Family and Consumer Science (FACS), Grades 6 and 8
    • Career Exploration, Grade 8 elective course
    • Career Guidance, Grades 6 – 8 –
    • Individual Student 4-year Plan, All Grade 8 students will enter high school with a plan developed with counselors and students and reviewed with parents through a scheduled parent conference.

    In high school CTE classes are elective.  Students may choose to take a single class in one or more CTE departments, or they may take a sequential series of classes in one or more CTE departments.  

What CTE classes are offered in Fargo Public Schools?

  • Over 65 CTE classes are offered through the following CTE departments:  Automated Manufacturing\Welding, Automotive Technology, Business Education, Construction Technology, Family and Consumer Science, Health Science Careers, Information Technology, Marketing Education, Technology and Engineering Education. Specific course descriptions are located in the FPS Program of Studies.

Career Pathways support college and career readiness!

  • Career and Technical Education (CTE) prepares youth and adults for a wide range of careers and further educational opportunities.  These careers may require varying levels of education including industry-recognized credentials, postsecondary certificates, and two and four-year degrees. CTE is offered in middle schools, high schools area career and technical centers, community and technical colleges, and other postsecondary institutions.

    CTE is at the forefront of preparing students to be "college and career-ready"

    Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) are an integral part of CTE, creating opportunities for leadership development, problem-solving, global awareness, and community service.

    Within CTE, occupations and career specialties are grouped into one of 16 "Career Clusters."  Fargo CTE programs offer curriculum specifically aligned with thirteen of them.