Eye on Education


Students at Ohio Technical College learn how to repair auto parts.

How Career Technical Education Works in Ohio


Career Technical Education in Ohio dates back to the mid 1800s when it largely had an agricultural and home economics focus.

In 1917, The Smith Hughes Act ushered in federal funding for vocational education programs and in 1970, a new state law required the creation of career technical planning districts that ensured students could access the hands on, job oriented type courses anywhere around the state.

Today 91 career technical planning districts exist and pool together CTE courses for students across a cluster of school districts.

There are several ways students can get connected to a vocational education program:

  • at their local high school, where available
  • through a career technical education planning district
  • at a local joint vocational school district

Any student who participates in CTE still has to meet all the other Ohio graduation requirements.

What students learn:

The Ohio Department of Education lists 18 different career tech programs available ranging from arts and communication, to engineering and health sciences, and marketing and transportation systems.  Each program has its own set of courses and is designed to teach students career tech content standards while exposing them to real work experience.  Students have the chance to earn industry level certification at the end of their career tech program.

Who’s enrolled:
In 2012, over 530,000 students, or 22 percent of all eligible high school students were involved in a vocational education program in Ohio.  That percentage hasn’t fluctuated much in the past four years.


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