A CTE program of study is a comprehensive, structured approach for delivering academic and career and technical education to prepare students for postsecondary education and career success. It consists of a coherent sequence of academic and career and technical courses offering students the opportunity to earn an industry-recognized credential or certificate at the secondary or postsecondary level, or an associate or baccalaureate degree related to the focus of the program of study. States receiving Perkins funds are required to develop CTE programs of study and each local recipient of Perkins funds must offer at least one CTE program of study. According to the Perkins IV Act and New Jersey’s Five Year State Plan for CTE, programs of study include the following:
- Incorporate and align secondary and postsecondary education elements;
- Include coherent and rigorous content, aligned with challenging academic standards, and relevant career and technical content in a coordinated, non-duplicative progression of courses that align secondary education with postsecondary education to adequately prepare students to succeed in postsecondary education;
- Offer the opportunity for secondary students to participate in dual or concurrent enrollment programs or other ways to acquire postsecondary credits, and;
- Lead to an industry-recognized credential or certificate at the secondary level, or an associate or baccalaureate degree.
To help states and local recipients meet these requirements, the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE), in collaboration with major national associations, organizations, and states, have formulated a “Career and Technical Programs of Study Design Framework.” (PDF) The framework identifies a system of 10 components that, taken together, support the development and implementation of effective programs of study. Although all 10 components are important, they are neither independent nor of equal priority: State and local program developers must identify the most pressing components for state or local adoption, taking into consideration their relative need within their educational context.