How School Districts Can Benefit From Career and Technical Education

The goal for educational administrators in any school district is the success of their students. But as any good educational leader knows, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to helping students succeed. They are, like anyone else, fully individualized human beings with different interests and motivations. For older students who are about to finish high school, tapping into these parts of their personalities can be instrumental in achieving professional success.

Post-high-school success looks different for every student. Some students will attend college, and others won’t — all for a variety of reasons. But in the last several years, there has been a growing acceptance among educational administrators of preparing their students for alternative paths to college. One of the most popular options has been preparing students for the workforce through career and technical education (CTE) training.

The Value of Work-Based Learning Environments

CTE courses sharpen opportunities for students to have successful careers by giving them relevant professional training that prepares them to pursue in-demand roles in the workforce. CTE programs are a major part of the educational component of the American Rescue Plan (ARP). The Department of Education website says that high-quality CTE programs can “boost school engagement and on-time graduation and enhance academic learning” to compensate for lost instruction time. These programs would give students “hands-on opportunities to apply knowledge and skills that they learned in a classroom setting, while at the same time addressing labor market needs.”

Students who complete a CTE program in high school are more likely to complete post-secondary education as well, and not always a four-year degree. CTE programs are designed to offer enough experience for students to specialize or obtain additional education with training or two-year degree programs. According to an article in Forbes magazine, an overwhelming number of jobs in the U.S. are “middle-skill positions” that require post-high-school education but not necessarily a four-year degree. However, only 43% of workers are trained at that level.

CTE programs allow for flexibility and help students avoid the financial commitment of a four-year degree. Sometimes, students can earn postsecondary credit or industry-recognized credentials in high school through the completion of high school CTE coursework.

For school districts, these programs allow them to reach a wider group of students than college prep courses alone, which means a more equitable and inclusive experience for students of all levels and abilities. Ultimately, the goal of any educational leader is to serve the needs of as many students as possible.

Gain Technical Training in as Few as 16 Months

With the rise in popularity of these programs, school districts need leaders who can handle the additional demand and help build engaging CTE programs that offer meaningful steppingstones for students. A Master of Education – Career and Technical Education with Administrator Certificate from Eastern Washington University (EWU) gives graduates the tools and know-how to create robust CTE programs in any school setting. The 16-month online program prepares educational leaders to drive the decision-making, communication and change processes necessary to adapt to the needs of students following nearly two-plus years of learning loss.

The coursework includes not only theory- and pedagogical-based classroom learning but practical experiences as well. Students will practice techniques and learn firsthand through an internship, plus creating a portfolio of work and completing the program by taking a comprehensive exam in lieu of a thesis.

Upon completion of EWU’s master’s program, graduates will be capable of implementing and supporting CTE programming at an organizational level. Common career outcomes include CTE director or assistant director and CTE administrator or teacher, which can all include a wide variety of responsibilities depending on the needs of a school. Learn more about the possibilities created by an M.Ed. degree from EWU and how it can help educators further not only their own lives, but those of their students as well.

Learn more about Eastern Washington University’s online M.Ed. – Career and Technical Education with Administrator Certificate program.

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