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Understanding CTE

WSWHE BOCES Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs provide hands-on learners an opportunity to master academics and technical skills within a subject that interests them and leads to a rewarding career. 


  1. Provide curriculum that is based on Industry Standards 
  2. Enable students to gain Work Experience in Business & Industry
  3. Prepare students to earn National and State Industry Certifications
  4. Prepare students to pass an Industry-approved Technical Assessment
  5. Encourage students to continue their education through Articulation Agreements with colleges 
  6. Prepare students for positions that are available in the region

All CTE programs with the exception of those listed below are certified by the New York State Education Department (SED). In addition, many programs are also certified by Business and Industry (B&I). The goal for CTE is to attain dual certification in every program. 

State Education Department (SED) Certification is important because it ensures students have:

  • Curriculum based on industry standards
  • Integrated math and English
  • NYS certified instructors
  • A connection to a national certifying body from Business & Industry
  • An industry approved way to test knowledge and hands-on skills (technical assessment)
  • An objective way to depict employability
  • Access to a work-based learning experience (internship)
  • A direct and immediate connection to college (articulation agreements)

B&I Certification is important because it ensures students have:

  1. Industry standard curriculum
  2. Industry certified instructors
  3. Industry approved training facilities and equipment
  4. Ability to earn national, state, and local certifications from Business & Industry
  5. An industry approved way to test knowledge and hands-on skills
  6. An objective way to depict employability
  7. Work experience in the field
  8. A direct and immediate connection to further training (articulation agreements, apprenticeships)

SED Exceptions

The Career Exploration program, CTE Essentials, CTE-Preparation classes, New Visions, and School-to-Work are not eligible for SED Certification because they are structured for different outcomes. For example, the Career Exploration program prepares students for regular CTE programs or to explore various careers. 

B&I Exceptions

All CTE programs teach industry standard curriculum even though some CTE programs are in industries that do not have a national certifying body. To ensure that students in these programs have the knowledge and credentials needed for success in their chosen fields, WSWHE BOCES identified industry standards by working with post-secondary schools and professional associations in each of those industries, incorporated those standards into the program curriculum, and obtained validation on the curriculum from local business and industry through consultant/advisory committees. 

Academic Integration

Each CTE program offered at the WSWHE BOCES has five (5) major curriculum elements that students will acquire over a one year or two year period. Two (2) of the five (5) curriculum elements include English Language Arts and Mathematics. These program elements are taught using a co-teaching model, which teams the CTE subject experts and certified English and Math instructors. Topics in English and Math are tied to specific business and industry course content, which illustrates to students how academic material and business knowledge and skill relate to one another. English and Math elements are taught at the commencement level and meet NYS Standards for students to obtain one (1) credit for each over a two-year period. Program specifics are as follows:

Applied Technical Math 54 hours/yr
English Language Arts 54 hours/yr
1 credit = 108 hours

Career & Financial Management Component

Each CTE program offered at the WSWHE BOCES offers a Career & Financial Management credit to all students who successfully complete a CTE program. This curriculum element is comprised of two major parts; (A) Introduction to Occupations and (B) Nature of Industry. Part A is delivered through integrated class assignments, while Part B is automatically delivered due to the nature of CTE.

Work-Based Learning Component

Each CTE program has a Work-Based Learning experience more commonly referred to as an internship. This means that all students prior to the end of the second year are given the opportunity to be exposed to the operation of a business and specific job duties related to careers in their CTE area. This internship is designed to connect the skills and knowledge learned in the CTE classroom with the real world requirements of a business. Students must demonstrate good attendance, attitude, internship records, and work ethics, as well as respect for others and property.

Positive Behavior and Soft Skills

Expectations for student behavior are clearly defined and instructed within each CTE program. Students are acknowledged and desired behaviors are reinforced by industry specific and research based methods at regular intervals. As a mechanism for instructing and assessing a student’s competency in the “soft skills,” the PBIS model allows students to hone their skills and knowledge in areas such as respect, responsibility, team work, and work ethic. 


  • CTE programs have open enrollment for high school students with the exception of New Visions Programs. Students are encouraged to start at the beginning of the quarter whenever possible. 
  • Adult students may enroll in CTE programs on a space-available basis. Adult students learn alongside high school students and may choose to attend morning or afternoon sessions. Full day options may be available, please check with the guidance office for further information.