Spotlight on CTE Courses

Isabelle Suttle, Noor Alshuwaili

Gavin Kuncl, Writer

At Fayetteville High School, Career and Technical Education programs have become a staple of interest in the student body. From the popular Food Safety and Nutrition, with nine sections, to the very full Agri programs and the national award-winning TV and Film programs.

Elizabeth Bland, who is both a six-year veteran teacher at FHS and a Family and Consumer Sciences teacher, helped explain and summarize both the CTE program and its nuances.

“The state offers these programs of study where you would get three credit hours in a specified field. The state says if you take three credit hours in [your chosen program of study] from a list of approved classes, you then have knowledge above and beyond your peers, like a specialization almost. So [the state] recognizes you for that knowledge as an Arkansas State CTE Completer,” said Bland.

CTE courses are broken down into multiple pathways. The pathways are agriculture, computer science, Environmental and Spatial Technology (EAST), engineering, business and marketing, journalism, medical professions, photography, family and consumer sciences, film, jobs for America’s graduates (JAG), sports medicine and television.

More than a few of the above-mentioned pathways contain sub pathways. Under Agriculture are Agribusiness Systems Program of Study, Animal Systems Program of Study, Plant Systems Program of Study, and Power, Structural, and Technical Systems Program of Study. Under Business and Marketing are Accounting Program of Study, Entrepreneurship Program of Study, Marketing Program of Study and Banking Program of Study. (Please note that Banking Program of Study was discontinued for Class of 2022 and onward.) Finally, under Family and Consumer Sciences are, Consumer Services, Education and Training and Family Studies.

Full-year courses count as one credit, where semester classes count as half a credit.

The number of CTE courses might give the impression that a student must go into the program with a path planned all the way to senior year, but that is a slight misconception. There is no harm in sampling multiple different pathways or sub pathways to see what sticks.

There is also another misconception about CTE courses, that those who enter the program are only readying themselves for a job after high school. While some of the classes are job preparation and job skills where employment could be found immediately after high school, others are career preparation.

“I’d say about half our programs would funnel students into a college program, secondary education,” said Bland.

Secondary education is not the only thing CTE programs can help with. Once a person has completed the necessary length of required class hours, a cord is given for graduation and an honor ceremony is held for the recipient. At said honor ceremony, parents are invited to attend. Certificates for completion and industry certifications are given as well. Both certificates of completion and industry certifications can be placed on resumes, job applications and scholarship applications. Certificates of completion and industry certifications signify advanced knowledge that can be taken to employers. Certificates of completion and industry certifications can make those who obtain them more employable and or give a leg up in salary.

Changes to the CTE programs are planned for the future at the state level. One such planned change is to change the title of someone who finishes a full course pathway from ‘completer’ to ‘concentrator’. Next would be introduction and summary videos for each individual subpathway.

CTE courses can easily provide four things to those who take an interest in them. Industry certifications, graduation cords, insight into careers and a way to help undecided students to help find what interests them in life. If there is ever doubt about taking a CTE course, it can never hurt to dive in.

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