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Focus on Career and Technical Education Early

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

Are you familiar with the opportunities afforded your child in the Career and Technical (CTE) fields? The Legislature has been working on creating and expanding these opportunities for over a decade.  Now that many avenues are available in both the Career and Technical Centers run by school districts and in the 28 State Colleges, the Legislature is focused on making sure that students know about these opportunities for their future.

In case you have not followed the legislation over the last few years, you may not be aware that career and technical pathways have been created in 18 career clusters.  These pathways are designed to allow a student to earn clock hours at a CTE Center (formerly called Vo-tech Schools or Centers) or through college career certificates and applied technology certificates at state colleges which would count toward an AA, AS, or AAS degree.  Colleges have been required to develop career pathways that would meet the needs of the industry in their geographical area.  Therefore, all the pathways are not the same at each state college although many offer some of the same pathways.  For example, a student could begin a nursing career at a CTE Center earning clock hours, take a licensing exam and become a CNA, then take additional hours in a Licensed Practical Nursing program, pass the licensing exam and begin a nursing degree at a state college with 13 college credits.

The Legislature intends for students to begin thinking about a career as early as middle school so that they are learning with a purpose. The idea is not to pigeon hole students into a career but just to make them aware of all the possibilities and resources available to them in making a decision.  The new legislation requires middle school students to take one course in career and education planning in grades 6, 7, or 8.  The course must be internet-based and include researched-based assessments to assist students in determining educational and career options and goals.  Home educated and private school students have the opportunity to take this course through the Florida Virtual School and learn about all the resources available to them.  Another great resource for home education and private school students is which is Florida’s Student Hub of Innovative Educational Services.  It includes many resources to learn about different careers, assess your child’s strengths, interest and abilities, and learn about current and future needed occupations.

Start including career and technical education now for your student.  It is never too early to begin looking at your child’s future.  In fact, many home education moms may be interested in starting a career themselves after they complete home educating.  Most moms are excited about learning and need some way to channel their energy, so you may want to educate yourself on the many possibilities and get excited about CTE.


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