The wide variety of programs offered in Vermont's career technical centers and comprehensive high schools must receive final approval from the Secretary of Education.
All approved programs fall under one of the following three categories:
Pre-Tech Exploratory Programs
Pre-tech exploratory programs are intended as an introduction to all of the programs at a regional career center and are for students in the 9th and 10th grades. These programs include applied instruction in core academic subjects and are designed to assist students in career exploration, including exploration of career areas non-traditional to their gender, and decision making. Programs must run an average of 120 minutes per day.
Pre-Tech Foundational Programs
These programs familiarize 9th and 10th-grade students with occupations in a career cluster area and instruct students in foundational core academic and occupational skills. Programs must run an average of 200 minutes per week. Pre-tech foundational programs are incorporated into a three to four-year sequence of career technical education
Technical Education Programs
Technical education programs may be offered as half-day (600 minutes per week) or full-day (1200 minutes per week) models. These programs are based on a competency list approved by the state board and shall integrate academic content with technical and occupational skills instruction. Programs are organized in alignment to the national career clusters model.
The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins) calls upon states to create programs of study. The intent is that each program of study provides coordination so that students do not have to repeat learning they already had in their regional CTE center. At minimum, programs of study must:
- Incorporate and align secondary and postsecondary education elements.
- Include academic and CTE content in a coordinated, non-duplicative progression of courses.
- Offer the opportunity, where appropriate, for secondary students to acquire post-secondary credits.
- Lead to an industry-recognized credential or certificate at the post-secondary level, or an associate or baccalaureate degree.
Credit Transfer Agreements/Dual Enrollment
The Fast Forward program allows Vermont resident students in CTE programs to get credit for college courses taken at the regional CTE centers. Fast Forward is for Vermont students who have not yet graduated from high school and who are enrolled in a partner career technical education center program. The courses are taught at the regional CTE, and classes are scheduled during the regular school day. Each student is given two courses. Fast Forward helps students get:
- Credits at both the regional CTE center and either the Community College of Vermont or Vermont Technical College
- A college degree faster
- To start their career sooner
Industry Recognized Credential
Education- and work-related credentials, also known as Industry Recognized Credential (IRC), can be defined as verification of an individual’s qualification or competence issued by a third party. The term credential encompasses educational certificates, degrees, certifications, and government-issued licenses. Each CTE program must offer the opportunity to acquire at least one IRC.
IRCs must be requested to be approved through the Agency’s approval process. Information about how to request approval is available in the book.
Career Technical Student Organizations
Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSO) complement and enrich career technical education programs. They are designed to offer students experience in leadership, citizenship, and occupational skills.
The State of Vermont supports four CTSOs across the state:
- Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) is an intracurricular student organization that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe.
- Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) is an intracurricular student organization that brings business and education together in a positive working relationship through innovative leadership and career development programs.
- Future Farmers of America (FFA) is an intracurricular student organization for those interested in agriculture and leadership.
- SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce.
Cooperative education fosters the theory of experiential learning. Cooperative education programs establish and maintain strong collaborations (partnerships, associations) between secondary education and key members of the industry. In Vermont, cooperative education is composed of four work-based learning categories: job shadow, career work experience, cooperative technical education and student apprenticeship.
Increasing awareness and opportunities for young women and men to participate in education, training, and employment in career fields that have historically been filled by a single gender (non-traditional) is key to the strength and future of Vermont’s economy. The regional CTE centers throughout the state are required to address concerns related to gender equity and non-traditional participation in their programs. It is important for all students to understand the spectrum of opportunities that are available to them, regardless of sex, and the responsibility that educators and businesses have to ensure there are systems in place to support students in whatever field of study and work they choose.
In order for the programs to be offered at Vermont's regional career technical centers and comprehensive high schools, approval must be granted by the Secretary of Education. To receive approval, the director at the center where the program will reside must provide evidence demonstrating that the criteria are met. The State Board of Education has also provided a set of criteria in the event the regional CTE center is planning a “substantial” change to a program.
The approval process can be met within a short period of time; the supporting documentation and required signatures can be completed in a couple of months. The program of study approval process provides for consistency of program structure, supports industry involvement and ensures compliance with State Board of Education rules. The program of study approval form is only available online.
To help you prepare to enter the requested information, we have provided a sample of the online approval request form.
Once approval is granted, the program is assigned a classification of instructional program (CIP) code. This code helps to connect the program via a crosswalk to a career cluster and pathway. The CIP codes can also be aligned to standard occupational codes (SOC) used by the Department of Labor.