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Career & Technical Education

Career and Technology Education (CTE) is a curriculum aimed to guide, educate and prepare students for today’s workforce. TCPS understands that the word “career” today means much more than an occupation requiring a skill. Now, employers are looking for skilled problem-solvers and critical thinkers. In other words, jobs are awarded to those with specific skillsets, who can also see the “big picture”, helping drive home top-level goals.

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Through the programs we’ve engineered, we’re providing our students both valuable and in-demand skills, while also giving them hands-on training for 21st century business challenges that require strategic thinking and informed decision-making. There are many different educational paths to consider, as you will find in this website. Some require a combination of high school education and college education. Some provide apprenticeships. Others earn industry-recognized credentials upon graduation from high school.

TCPS counselors have been hand-picked to help you navigate your academic and career choices.

Keep that in mind as you browse the many offerings and pathways – you’ll be supported by our expert staff that will provide guidance along the way to find the perfect fit. These programs incorporate rigorous and challenging academic content standards and provide a sequence of courses leading students toward their career of choice. Its not easy, but the rewards are many. You will have a head start towards a career in one of these exciting, high-growth sectors.


Carpenter, Woodworker, Construction Laborer, Construction and Building Inspectors

Construction & Development

Advances in science and technology will continue to drive innovation in the design, construction, and maintenance of buildings. These advances will also impact infrastructure systems, including new design concepts, construction materials and methods, and the application of information technology.


Plant Breeders & Geneticists, Soil & Water Specialists, Botanists, Greenhouse Managers, Agricultural Educators

Environmental, Agriculture & Natural Resources

The agricultural sector is a highly competitive industry creating new challenges in identifying global and domestic markets; improving business planning, financing, risk management, and productivity; and reducing costs. Advances in science and technology, in particular biotechnology, will continue to drive innovation and growth in this career cluster.

Pre Engineering

Civil Engineer, Mechanical Engineer, Electrical Engineer, Aerospace Engineer, Mathematician

Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology

Programs in the Manufacturing, Engineering, and Technology Cluster prepare students for a variety of career areas, including opportunities to become engineers, engineering technologists or technicians. Students engage in real-world projects that strengthen their understanding of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). By completing challenging projects related to design, manufacturing process applications and quality improvements, students are being educated for the high-performance workplace using advanced technologies.

Automotive Tech

Service writer, Shop Manager, Service Technician, General Manager

Transportation Technologies

Advances in science and engineering are producing major innovations in transportation technology, resulting in faster movement of people and goods at lower costs and with less environmental and safety risks. These innovations require higher level skills to manage and maintain transportation equipment. High school programs provide opportunities for students to prepare for careers in the automotive industry.

Teacher Academy, Firefighter & NJROTC

Teacher, Emergency Responder, Fire Fighter, Childcare Assistant, Childcare Director

Human Resources Services

Advances in scientific knowledge and increased public awareness of social problems and issues are contributing to a demand for high-quality social services. Public concerns over crime, security, and emergency response and the increased demand for legal intervention in business and communities will continue to drive growth of law enforcement, emergency services, and legal services. The continuous need for professionals in education fields, especially in the critical shortage areas, offers creative ways to engage young people early on in the teaching profession.


Accountant, Human Resource Administrator, Office Manager

Business Management & Finance

The Business Management and Finance Program provides courses to prepare high school students for employment and advancement in the business industry.

Interactive Media Production

Graphic Designer, Photojournalist, Digital Animator

Arts, Media, and Communication

This program allows student to combine creative abilities with technical skills while focusing on mass communication and graphic communications.

Culinary Arts & Cosmetology

Professional Chef, Executive Chef, Sous Chef, Pastry Chef, Cosmetologist, Nail Technician, Restaurant Manager

Consumer Services, Hospitality & Tourism

Students, who are interested in culinary arts or cosmetology, engage in real-world experiences through internships and mentoring opportunities.

Biomedical & CNA

Doctor, Dentist, Nurse, Biomedical Engineer, Pharmacist, Research/Medical Scientist, Radiologist

Health & Biosciences

CTE programs in the Health and Biosciences Cluster focus on preparing dedicated professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue challenging and rewarding careers in further education. These careers are among the fastest growing and highest in demand in the country as the population ages and health care needs continue to increase.

Computer Science

Computer Programmer, Computer Support Specialist, Network Technician, Network Administrator, Webmaster, Software Designer, Apps Designer, Network Manager, Database Administrator

Information Technology

Information technology (IT) professionals will face increasing pressure to design, develop, implement, and support more complex and reliable IT solutions that will meet the needs of external and internal customers. This will require that IT professionals have the skills to determine customers and business needs and requirements, manage complex projects, and integrate software and hardware solutions.
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Talbot County Youth Apprenticeship Program

The Talbot County Youth Apprenticeship program is a partnership with local employers and the Maryland Department of Labor that gives students the opportunity to “earn while they learn!” Juniors and seniors are eligible to work in career track occupations while provided fair compensation. Upon completion of the program, students will earn four high school credits. Businesses can hire and mentor their future employers by developing the in-demand skills needed for their industries!

Frequently Asked Questions

Career and technology education (CTE) prepares both youth and adults for a wide range of careers. These careers require varying levels of education—from high school and postsecondary certificates, to apprenticeships, or two- and four-year college degrees. Students add value to their overall education by completing CTE programs of study that provide opportunities to earn industry-recognized credentials and college credit while still in high school.

For many years, students enrolled in vocational education programs that provided skill-specific training. The demands of the global economy caused employers to seek graduates with problem solving skills and broader career reparation. Career and technology education evolved from vocational education’s original and sole focus on preparing students for work immediately following high school. Today’s career and technology education programs incorporate rigorous and challenging academic content standards and provide a sequence of courses leading to an industry-recognized redential or certificate, or an associate or baccalaureate degree, or entry into apprenticeship programs.

Career and technology education covers a variety of challenging fields in diverse subject areas that are constantly evolving due to the changing global economy. Maryland’s CTE programs of study are organized around 10 career clusters:

  • Arts, Media, and Communication
  • Business Management and Finance
  • Construction and Development
  • Consumer Services, Hospitality, and Tourism
  • Environmental, Agriculture, and Natural Resources
  • Health and Biosciences
  • Human Resource Services
  • Information Technology
  • Manufacturing, Engineering, and Technology
  • Transportation Technologies

Career and technology education students pursue exciting career options within Maryland’s 10 career clusters—for example, automotive technicians, construction supervisors, animal scientists, turf grass specialists, financial officers, arts and graphics designers, executive chefs, hotel managers, cosmetologists, network specialists, computer programmers, Web designers, homeland security specialists, nurses, physical therapists, biomedical scientists, engineers, and emergency management and response coordinators.

In middle schools, high schools, two-year community and technology colleges, and after high school. At the middle school level, students engage in career awareness and exploration. In high school, students participate in CTE programs with a strong academic core that prepares them to pursue college and careers. At the postsecondary level, there are a variety of options including apprenticeship programs, degree programs at two- and four-year colleges, private career schools, and industry-sponsored education and training.

Public middle schools in Maryland typically offer some career and technology education courses, such as family and consumer sciences and technology education. Middle school students also start developing their high school plans that include both academic courses as well as career awareness activities. High school CTE programs are offered within a comprehensive high school, in a technical high school, or in a CTE center. CTE programs are offered as a sequence of courses that are supplemented by work-based learning experiences such as internships. Students enroll in a sequence of academic and CTE courses to prepare for both college and careers.

Yes. Career and technology education provides a foundation of skills that enables high school graduates to be gainfully employed—either fulltime or while in college. Nationally, nearly two-thirds of all high school graduates of career and technology programs enter some form of postsecondary program. In Maryland, 51% of all CTE completers also meet the entrance requirements for the University System of Maryland.

Rigorous academic content tied to CTE subject matter ensures that these students will be ready for college. The internships and other work-based learning experiences that are a hallmark of CTE are attractive to all students who want to get a head start on a career, whether that career goal is doctor or nurse, engineer, automotive technician, or biomedical scientist. Tech Prep programs link high school and community college curricula to help students make a smooth transition to postsecondary education and careers.

Career Technology Student Organizations (CTSOs) help students acquire the employability and leadership skills that will enable them to succeed in the workplace. Through participation in CTSOs, such as Future Business Leaders of America, DECA, FFA, Health Occupations Students of America, and SkillsUSA, students develop learning, thinking, interpersonal, technology, and communication skills, also known as Maryland’s Skills for Success. Through participation in leadership and technical competitive events, students apply their leadership, academic, and employability skills to solve real-world problems.

There are nearly 120,000 high school CTE students in Maryland – 44% of all public high school students in the state. Plus, there are about 54,000 postsecondary career and technology education students in Maryland.

Career and technology education programs of study are offered in all 24 school systems in Maryland. The number of programs offered by school systems ranges from 10 to 48, with most offering between 18 and 27 programs. CTE programs are established in about 200 comprehensive high schools, 9 career and technology high schools, and 16 CTE centers, which serve students from several “sending” high schools. All 16 of Maryland’s community colleges offer CTE programs as well. Students may also elect to enroll in apprenticeship programs or pursue postsecondary CTE offerings at private career schools and colleges.

The CTE programs offered in each local school system are approved by the Maryland State Department of Education. The programs must meet the high standards set by business and industry and prepare students for both college and careers. The CTE programs offered in Maryland were designed with the input of more than 350 representatives from business and industry and partnering state agencies, such as the Department of Business and Economic Development, the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board, and the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. The programs of study are reviewed on a continuous basis to ensure that graduates are meeting employers’ expectations. CTE programs play an important role in preparing graduates to fill the high-skill, high-wage positions generated by the U.S. military’s Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) plan. Over the past several years, the National Association of State Directors of Career and Technology Education has awarded Maryland’s CTE programs and educators more Distinguished Service Awards than any other state.

Maryland receives about $18 million annually from the federal government through the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act of 2006. That represents about 6% of the programs’ budget; programs receive most of their funding from local and state revenue.

Yes, according to many national studies. Career and technology education graduates are 10-15% more likely to be in the labor force and earn 8-9% more than graduates of academic programs. [1] A ratio of one CTE class for every two academic classes was shown to minimize the risk of students dropping out of high school. [2] And career and technology education concentrators take more and higher level math than their general education counterparts. [3] Additionally, Maryland employers say of students participating in work-based learning placements: 

  • 98% met or exceeded job requirements at the time of placement;
  • 83% exceeded workplace readiness requirements; and
  • 85% learned new skills faster than the average worker.


[1]Russell Sage Foundation, 2001

[2]National Research Center for Career and Technology Education, 2005

[3]National Centers for Career and Technical Education, 2002

Questions about our programs?

Career and Technology Education provides benefits beyond the diploma. CTE programs offer students an opportunity to get a head start on their career, as well as, post-secondary education. Students can earn industry certifications and transcripted college credit while completing high school graduation requirements.

High school is the perfect time to explore career interests. Our programs of study are designed to engage and prepare students for their future whether it be heading to college or directly into the workforce.

The CTE Office provides leadership, support, and resources for all courses and programs in the areas of Applied Technology, Business Education, Computer Science, Family and Consumer Sciences, and Technology Education.