What Does CTE Stand for In Education? (Plus Other FAQs)

Kai Frazier
October 27, 2022

What does CTE stand for in education? Career and Technical Education!

Career and technical education is critical for students of all ages. It helps them learn the skills they need to be successful in the workforce. CTE programs offer students the opportunity to explore different careers and gain hands-on experience in many fields.

CTE programs are available in a variety of fields, including agriculture, business, healthcare, information technology, manufacturing, and marketing. These programs are offered at both the high school and post-secondary levels in very immersive forms. However, they are also becoming very prevalent in elementary and middle school curricula.

The benefits of career and technical education for students is clear, but how can educators best provide these opportunities for their students?

In this article, we will explore the meaning of CTE meaning, its benefits, and how educators can best provide these opportunities for their students. We will also show you how virtual reality is being used to provide immersive CTE experiences for students.

What Is CTE (Career and Technical Education)?

CTE is a form of educational programs that focus on preparing students for specific careers in various fields, such as manufacturing, agriculture, health care, and construction. CTE programs often combine classroom instruction with hands-on training and work-based learning experiences, such as internships and apprenticeships.

In recent years, some industries have seen incredible growth. However, despite the potential for good jobs in these industries, entry-level college hiring has fallen by 45%. There are a few potential reasons for this:

  • Fewer entry-level roles in new industries
  • Outdated college curricula inconsistent with job market requirements
  • Growing industries with high pay attract more candidates, increasing competition

Despite the challenges, there are still opportunities for secondary school and college graduates in these exploding industries. By partnering with CTE programs, schools and colleges can provide students with the specific skills that they need to succeed in any industry and be prepared for the jobs of the future.

With career and technical education, students have the opportunity to learn about and explore different careers while gaining hands-on experience in a variety of fields.

Career and Technical Education In Elementary School

CTE programs are often offered at high schools and community colleges, but some elementary schools also offer introductory CTE courses.

Introductory CTE courses can give elementary school students an early introduction to the types of skills they will need for specific careers. These courses can also help students discover their interests and start planning for their future. This is especially helpful for students that may not be talented in some academic tasks, but have tons of potential in other areas.

For example, an elementary school student interested in engineering might take a CTE course in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). This type of course would teach the student basic engineering concepts and introduce them to the different types of engineering careers.

Students who participate in CTE courses often have better attendance and grades, and they are more likely to graduate from high school and pursue postsecondary education. These courses often focus on exposing students to different experiences and activities in order to help students find their passion at a young age, and be able to grow from there with continued CTE courses.

Career and Technical Education In Middle School

Middle school is when students begin to mature, take on more responsibilities, and form their own opinions and beliefs. Similar to social-emotional learning activities, career and technical education is paramount at this critical time in students' development because it can help them find their career passions.

CTE programs are available at many middle schools, and they typically last for two years. During this time, students take classes that focus on a particular trade or industry. They also have the opportunity to participate in internships and other work-based learning experiences.

Many of these programs help to develop students' non-cognitive skills, including:

  • Extraversion
  • Agreeableness
  • Openness to experience
  • Conscientiousness 

 These skills are not always exercised in normal classes. 

Career and Technical Education In High School

In high school, the clock is ticking for students to decide what they want to do with their lives. CTE programs offer students the opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in the workforce or find the pathway that they would like to pursue in college. `

With the help of these courses, students can identify their strengths and interests. CTE programs are available in a variety of areas, including Business and Finance, Health Sciences, Information Technology, Manufacturing and Trades, and Public Safety and Law Enforcement.

One example of a CTE program in high school is health sciences. This program is designed to give students the opportunity to explore careers in the health science field. 

The program generally offers classes that focus on anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology. Students in some programs also have the opportunity to shadow doctors and other healthcare professionals and participate in internships.

Career and Technical Education In Post-Secondary School

CTE programs can be beneficial for all types of students. For example, CTE programs can provide an opportunity for high school students to explore different careers before committing to a four-year degree program.

In addition, CTE programs offer students a way to earn credits towards a degree, as well as accumulate industry-recognized credentials. For adults switching careers, CTE programs can provide the necessary skills and training to enter the workforce again.

For example, a common CTE focus is Automotive Technology. This course would focus on teaching students about the various systems in a car, how to diagnose and repair problems, and perform routine maintenance. 

Students would also have the opportunity to work with real cars in order to gain hands-on experience. This type of class would be beneficial for students who are interested in a career in the automotive industry.

CTE courses can also be a good option for high school graduates who have already decided on a particular career but want to receive additional training before entering the workforce. 

Plus, they can be tailored to fit the needs of individual students, making them an ideal option for those with specific career goals.

Whether you're just starting to think about your future or you know exactly what you want to do, CTE may be the right choice for you.

The Benefits of CTE for Students

There are many key benefits of career and technical education for students. CTE programs allow students to:

  1. Find their passions
  2. Gain hands-on experience
  3. Learn important life skills
  4. Explore different careers
  5. Pave roads to their dream careers

CTE helps students find their passions

Before COVID-19, 1.2 million students were dropping out of high school every year in the U.S. alone. School can be discouraging at times, especially when faced with the pressure of figuring out your future.

As a student, it can be challenging to find your passion and what you want to do with your life. CTE programs help students discover their passions by providing them with the opportunity to explore different careers and gain hands-on experience in a variety of fields.

For example, a student who is interested in the medical field may take a CTE course in health sciences. This would allow the student to explore different aspects of the medical field and figure out if it is the right fit for them. The student would also gain valuable hands-on experience that would be beneficial if they decided to pursue a career in medicine.

By exploring different fields, Students can learn more about themselves and what they want to do in the future. CTE programs can help students find their passions and prepare for their futures.

With CTE, students have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience

When students are able to gain hands-on experience in the field they are interested in, it helps them to better understand what the job entails and whether or not it's right for them.

CTE programs can provide students with the opportunity to explore different careers and learn about the skills and knowledge required for success. These programs often partner with local businesses to provide students with real-world experience.

For example, a student interested in becoming a mechanic might be able to work with a local garage to gain experience in diagnosing and repairing cars. This type of hands-on experience is invaluable for students who are trying to decide if a particular career is right for them.

In addition, CTE programs can help students develop the practical skills needed for success in the workplace. By providing students with the opportunity to gain both theoretical and practical knowledge, CTE programs can help prepare students for successful careers after graduation.

Career and technical education teaches students important life skills

CTE programs offer students the opportunity to learn important 21st-century learning skills while also gaining valuable experience in their chosen field. As a result, CTE programs can help to prepare students for successful careers after graduation.

CTE programs often offer opportunities for students to earn industry-recognized certifications or licenses. These credentials can give students a competitive edge when it comes to finding a job after graduation.

In addition to teaching students specific technical skills, CTE programs also help students develop essential soft skills like communication, teamwork, and problem-solving. These transferable skills can be applied in any number of settings, both inside and outside of the workplace.

As such, CTE can play a vital role in preparing students for success in all aspects of their lives. In addition, CTE programs often include an emphasis on safety and responsibility, which can help students stay safe and healthy both in and out of the workplace.

By providing students with these essential life skills, CTE programs can help them succeed both in their careers and in their personal lives.

CTE helps students explore different careers

With so many emerging careers, it can be difficult for students to know what they want to do with their lives. Early career exploration offers a sense of direction.

Students might feel pressured to choose a traditional job, or they may simply be undecided about what they want to do with their lives. 

With career and technical education, students can learn about the day-to-day tasks of a particular job, as well as the skills and knowledge that are necessary to succeed in the field. CTE programs also typically include internships and other opportunities to gain real-world experience.

As a result, CTE can give students the information and tools they need to make informed decisions about their future careers.

CTE provides a pathway to college and/or the workforce.

College and career readiness are top-of-mind for students of all ages. As the economy has increasingly demanded workers with higher levels of education and skills, the need to prepare students for both college and the workforce has become more pressing. 

CTE programs provide students with the opportunity to explore different careers and learn the skills that are necessary for success in those fields.

91% of students who received some form of CTE enrolled in college. Additionally, 27% of students with less than an Associate's Degree earned more than the average bachelor's degree recipient, thanks to their training, licenses, and certificates. CTE makes a real impact.

How Educators Can Best Provide CTE Opportunities for Students

Assuming that the goal is to provide quality CTE opportunities for students, educators can best provide these opportunities by creating strong relationships with local businesses and industry leaders. 

Furthermore, educators should also seek out professional development opportunities for themselves, so that they can stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends and best practices. 

Here are a few ways educators can make CTE more accessible for students:

  • Include CTE in the curriculum
  • Offer Extracurricular Activities Related to CTE
  • Take Students on Virtual Reality Field Trips

Include CTE in the curriculum

CTE programs can be a valuable addition to any school curriculum, and there are a number of ways that educators can include CTE in their lesson plans.

One way is to incorporate CTE content into existing courses. For example, if students are learning about the basic principles of physics, they can also be introduced to the physics behind how different types of machinery work.

Another way to include CTE in the curriculum is to offer standalone courses that focus specifically on career exploration and technical skills development. These courses can give students a chance to try out different careers and learn about the available education and training options.

By including CTE in the curriculum, educators can help students develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in today's workforce.

Offer Extracurricular Activities Related to CTE

To better prepare students for success after graduation, educators can offer extracurricular activities that give students a taste of what it's like to work in a particular field.

For example, if a school offers a CTE program in culinary arts, educators could partner with local restaurants to offer internships or job shadowing opportunities. Students would then be able to apply what they've learned in the classroom to a real-world setting. This would not only give them a better understanding of what working in the culinary arts is really like, but it would also help them to build important connections with potential employers.

By offering extracurricular activities related to CTE, educators can help students gain the skills and experience they need to be successful in their chosen field.

Taking Students on Virtual Reality Field Trips

Teaching and learning with educational VR makes it fun and immersive to show kids different career pathways. What's more, VR can also be used to show kids different career pathways that they might be interested in pursuing, while still maintaining a safe school curriculum.

For example, a student who is interested in medicine can be transported into a virtual hospital, where they can learn about what a doctor does on a daily basis. 

Or, a student who is interested in engineering can be transported into a virtual factory, where they can see how products are made.

With VR, the possibilities for education are endless.

As VR technology continues to evolve, it's likely that even more educational applications will be developed. It's an exciting time for education, and VR is leading the way.

Career and Technical Education With Kai XR

Educational VR is the perfect tool to teach CTE because it provides students with an immersive experience that allows them to explore different careers and gain hands-on experience from the convenience of their own home.

Here are a few examples of CTE with the immersive power of the metaverse:

Explore Nickelodeon HQ

A visit to the Nickelodeon Headquarters is a great way for kids to learn about the media and entertainment industry. They get to see firsthand how a TV network operates, and they learn about the different careers involved in making television.

Along the way, kids will learn about the importance of teamwork, creative thinking, and perseverance, CTE skills that are important no matter what career you end up in.

They'll also get to meet some of their favorite characters and see how they bring them to life. Best of all, the tour is a great opportunity for kids to ask questions and get inspired about their own media careers. If you're looking for an unforgettable field trip for your class, be sure to check out Nickelodeon HQ.

Life as an Illustrator VR Field Trip

Life as an Illustrator is a virtual reality field trip that takes students to Seoul, South Korea to experience what it is like to be a freelance visual artist. Students get to see a professional and get tips and insights from them about the illustration field.

As a growing industry with massive demand, illustration offers several career opportunities that children can further be exposed to.

Educators can use supplemental materials to discuss what it means to follow a passion. For a great discussion or writing exercise, students can even talk or write about what they feel that they were born to do.

Kai XR Spotlight: Helping Wildlife

Calling all conservationists and animal enthusiasts! This field trip is for you.

In Kai XR Spotlight: Helping Wildlife, students will learn about the importance of local wildlife and how to protect it. By following scientists as they help local wildlife, they will also get a chance to meet some of the animals up close and learn what it takes to protect them.

This is a great opportunity for students to visualize what it’s like to work with animals in a real-life scenario.

Vidya Vox Virtual Field Trip

Meet popular YouTuber and musician, Vidya Vox. Learn about her upbringing in India and how she carved out her own career pathway in an online landscape.

During this field trip, students will have the opportunity to meet Vidya and learn about her story firsthand. They will also get a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into making a successful YouTube channel.

This field trip is an ideal way for students to learn about the business side of the music industry and gain insights into what it takes to make it as a musician in today's digital world.

This field trip can be especially helpful for students interested in the music field, as it is not easy to gain real-world experience in the subject. This experience will not only allow the students to meet a professional, but also learn how to be a musician starting at a young age, giving the students a head start in their potential career.

Explore Life as an Aerospace Engineer

In this field trip, students get to learn about what it's like to be an aerospace engineer right on a VR tablet.

Tiera Fletcher takes you through how to become a successful aerospace engineer, from beginning to end.

You will also get an inside look into her work, and how she designs aircrafts that are safe for people to fly in.

This is a great opportunity for students who are interested in engineering, as it can be difficult to find real-world experience in the subject. This trip will allow the students to explore the field and get a better understanding of what it takes to be an aerospace engineer.

Want to see more virtual field trip opportunities for students? Check out our blog post: Take Your Classroom 360º With These 10 Virtual Field Trips.

Get Started With Kai XR Today!

If you're looking for a way to engage your students and provide them with opportunities to explore CTE, Kai XR virtual experiences are the opportunity of a lifetime. 

At Kai XR, we are changing the way students learn by making it possible to explore any career, from the comfort of your home or classroom. With Kai XR, you can take your students anywhere in the world, without ever leaving the classroom.

Ready to elevate your students’ learning experience? Schedule a demo with us today.

Photo by Katerina Holmes from Pexels

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In memory of my sunshine, Ky(ra) G. Frazier. Love you to the moon and back.