CTE Courses Can Help You Choose and Start Your Career!


Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses can help you explore careers to determine which one is a good fit for you.

High School Career and Technology Education (CTE) Courses Can Help You Choose and Start Your Career!

Good morning, this is Dan Wilkins. I was a high school Industrial Technology teacher for 29 years and have taught in the communities of Glendive, Havre and Great Falls. In this blog, I want to share with you the benefits of taking CTE courses while in high school.

First, what are CTE courses?

CTE stands for Career and Technical Education. CTE is a broad term for courses that are more career specific than general education courses such as English, math, history and science. CTE courses include traditional shop courses such as woodshop, construction, electrical, small engine mechanics, auto mechanics, welding and drafting. CTE courses also include business courses such as accounting, finance, and other courses such as health occupations, video production, culinary arts, family and consumer science and agriculture. Some CTE courses have a work experience component in which you get paid and earn high school credit at the same time. CTE courses are generally elective courses.

How can CTE courses benefit you?

Career Exploration

First by taking CTE courses you can explore and gain experience in various career fields to determine which career field is a good fit for you. In CTE courses you will use the same tools and equipment that people employed in that field use. For example, if you enroll in an auto mechanics course, you will work in a school shop that has the same tools and equipment you will work with if you become employed as an auto mechanic. You will also do the same work that people do in that career field. This is a great help in determining if a particular career field is right for you.

After taking high school CTE courses you can choose to go directly into the workforce or you can go on to further CTE courses at a college or vocational school. Going to college or a vocational school will further your knowledge and skills in a particular career field before entering the workforce.

Getting hired

After completing CTE courses in a particular career field, you will be able to show prospective employers on your resume that you have the skills and experience to be a valuable and productive employee. This is a big help in getting hired and earning a higher wage!

Knowledge from your CTE courses can save you thousands of dollars over your lifetime!

The knowledge you gain in CTE courses will not only give you the skills needed to obtain employment, those same skills can also save you thousands of dollars over your lifetime by not having to hire people to do certain types of work. For example, I took several shop classes while I was in high school. The skills I gained in my shop classes allowed me to do most of my own home and vehicle repairs. Not having to hire people to do this work has saved me thousands of dollars over my lifetime and has given me a great deal of satisfaction completing these repairs myself. CTE courses can do the same for you.

Strategically choose which CTE courses you attend

During high school, carefully look through your school’s course catalog and pick CTE courses you want to attend to help you determine which career field is best for you. If you find a career field that is a good fit for you, take as many classes in that career area as you can before graduating. For example if you decide you want to work in the medical field, take as many health occupation courses as you can and enroll in medical internships. If you want a part time job while attending high school, consider becoming a certified nurses assistant (CNA). By focusing your studies in a chosen career field, you will best prepare yourself for going to college or directly into the workforce.

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Montana student getting instruction from their Career and Technical Education teacher