Career & Technical Education (CTE)

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Career & Technical Education (CTE)

Career & Technical Education (CTE) programs in Washington are aligned with rigorous industry and academic standards. CTE offers students an opportunity to graduate from high school with career goals, job skills and leadership skills knowing where to go next to further their career or academic goals. Teachers participate in meaningful professional development on curricula and instruction, standards and assessment, and academic integration.


CTE Circle Graph


21st Century Skills

All CTE programs teach the 21st Century Skills:

  • LEARNING AND INNOVATION Learning and innovation skills increasingly are being recognized as those that separate students who are prepared for a more and more complex life and work environments in the 21st century, and those who are not. A focus on creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration is essential to prepare students for the future.
  • INFORMATION, MEDIA, AND TECHNOLOGY SKILLS People in the 21st century live in a technology and media-suffused environment, marked by various characteristics, including: 1) access to an abundance of information, 2) rapid changes in technology tools, and 3) the ability to collaborate and make individual contributions on an unprecedented scale. To be effective in the 21st century, citizens and workers must be able to exhibit a range of functional and critical thinking skills related to information, media and technology. 4. Information Literacy.
  •  LIFE AND CAREER SKILLS Today’s life and work environments require far more than thinking skills and content knowledge. The ability to navigate the complex life and work environments in the globally competitive information age requires students to pay rigorous attention to developing adequate life and career skills.  


CTE Student Organizations (CTSO)

Washington State has eight recognized CTSOs that have a definite impact on student’s overall college and career readiness. CTSOs provide relevant, engaging programs that improve student achievement, reduce dropout rates and help students discover the wide range of career options available. CTSOs engage the community and local businesses to help students understand global competition, develop 21st century skills focused on creativity, problem solving, teamwork, goal setting, and chart effective and efficient pathways through high school and postsecondary education for their personal success. Students who participate in CTSOs demonstrate higher levels of academic engagement and motivation, civic engagement, career self-efficacy and employability skills than other students. 


OSD offers the following CTSOs:

American Sign Language (ASL) National Honor Society exists to enhance academic and professional success. Our society's goal is to help you succeed, and to connect you with the people and opportunities to help you achieve your goals. We are uncompromisingly driven by our community core values and funded by members just like you, ensuring that our sole focus is best serving our members.


DECA, a club for Marketing students was founded in 1943 and prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. Washington DECA is the fifth largest DECA association in the world, with over 12,000 members in 164 high schools and skill centers. DECA provides experiential, career connected learning opportunities. By creating partnerships between business and education, Washington DECA maximizes real-world experiences to develop students into leaders and entrepreneurs. 


Washington State Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) was founded in 1945 and involvement in FCCLA offers members the opportunity to expand their leadership potential and develop skills for life. FCCLA students are able to attend conferences and participate in competitive events at the state and national level. FCCLA students’ career interests are in education, food, hospitality, interior decorating, and textiles (sewing, fashion). FCCLA members focus on the roles of family member, wage earner and community leader. Members develop skills for life including character development, creative and critical thinking, and interpersonal communication. 


Washington Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) inspires and prepares students to become community-minded business leaders in a global society through relevant career preparation and leadership experiences. FBLA was founded in 1940 and provides students with professional development, networking opportunities, real-world experiences, and valuable connections to business and industry partners. Students gain valuable leadership skills by planning and participating in community service, developing speaking and presentation skills, and attending conferences. 


Washington HOSA Future Health Professionals was founded in 1976, is a national organization for students exploring health care careers. Students gain leadership and technical HOSA skill competencies through a program of motivation, awareness and recognition, which is an integral part of the Health Science Education instructional program. Students attend conferences and participate in competitive events and network with peers and health care industry partners. 


SkillsUSA was founded in 1965, is a national organization for students exploring trade, industrial, technical health and service-related careers. Areas of competition include architectural drafting, construction, carpentry, computer programming, web design and nurse assisting. This organization promotes superior work skills, life-long education, leadership, teamwork, citizenship and community service among its student members. It also strives to build and reinforce self- confidence, work ethic and communication skills. 


Washington Career and Technical Sports Medicine Association (WCTSMA) is a student organization founded in 1994, which is dedicated to ensuring high-quality athletic medicine and healthcare at middle and high schools, and to raising awareness about health quality among school administrators, coaches, athletes, students and the general public. Students gain leadership and skills competencies when they participate in competitions and network with professionals. Students gain career and college readiness skills in sports medicine and related careers, and learn how to help others develop, grow and succeed, both on and off the field. 


Advisory Committees 

CTE is an organized system of programs grades 7-12 which are directly related to careers and prepares students for further education or the ability to step directly into the workforce. Bringing Industry Partners and educators together on Advisory Committees provides a format for sharing information and ideas. The guidance and advice of local advisory committee members can help ensure students are learning the most current skills needed in the workplace. CTE Advisory Committee volunteers help plan the training for our future workforce.


Leadership Equivalency (Extended Learning)

Extended Learning is exposure to a broad spectrum of employability skills and may include:

  • Community Service
  • Community Outreach
  • Employment
  • Farm to Table
  • Field Trips to Business & Industry and/or Colleges
  • GoSTEM
  • Job Shadow
  • Robotics Construction & Competitions
  • School-based Enterprise


WA State CTE Essentials


Paula Perryman

Director of Career and Technical Education
[email protected]

Chelsea Johnson

Program Manager for College & Career Readiness and Career & Technical Education

[email protected]