Starting a CTE Program

Step 1: Make friends with your school’s/district’s CTE department chair

Building a positive relationship with the  CTE department chair can go a long way to an adviser’s future success in building a strong program of study. 

Here’s how to get involved with your state organizations

Step 2: Assess your program

It is important to understand the language and expectations that is required under a CTE program. When going through this evaluation tool, often times advisers realize that they are already doing much of what is expected of CTE programs. 

Evaluation Tool

Here is an example of the evaluation tool filled out from a rural school in New Mexico.

Evaluation Tool COMPLETED

Step 3: Build an advisory board

An advisory committee represents stakeholders in the CTE program and provides input for the program’s continuous improvement.  Advisory committees meet at least twice a year and minutes are available for review. Advisory committees should be gender balanced.

Developing a Local Advisory Committee

Step 4: Build a Pathway of Study

Consider two or more courses in sequence that lead to either a career pathway through certification or post-secondary pathway in a related program. The course names and sequences will vary from state to state; check your state’s course descriptions and essential skills.

Example course crossover:

Publications Course CTE Course
Photojournalism Commercial Photography
Yearbook/Newspaper Graphic Design/Graphic Arts
Broadcast Audio Video Production


Step 5: Investigate your state’s licensing or certification requirements.

CTE certification varies widely from state to state. Some require professional experience in the field for licensing; others have multiple paths. Your state’s board of teacher certification is the best place to start.

State-by-state list


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