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FAQ for Students and Parents

What is Career and Technical Education (CTE)?

Career and Technical Education is a rigorous sequence of academic and technical courses aligned with one of 16 different career clusters as defined by the U.S. Department of Education. The 16 career clusters are:

  • Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources
  • Architecture & Construction
  • Arts
  • A/V Technology & Communications
  • Business Management & Administration
  • Education & Training
  • Finance
  • Government & Public Administration
  • Health Science
  • Hospitality & Tourism
  • Human Services
  • Information Technology
  • Law
  • Public Safety
  • Corrections & Security
  • Manufacturing
  • Marketing
  • Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
  • Transportation, Distribution & Logistics

Students enrolled in a CTE program meet Regents diploma requirements in addition to a CTE sequence. Program elements of CTE include:

  • All traditional academic courses (math, English language arts, science, etc); 
  • Technical curricula vetted and approved by industry; 
  • Work-based learning opportunities providing real-world experiences; 
  • Teachers with appropriate certifications, licenses, and pre-existing industry experience;
  • Student opportunities to earn industry-recognized certification;
  • Articulation agreements with colleges/universities confirming that programs lead to college readiness.

How many designated Career and Technical Education high schools are in New York City?
In school year 2014-2015, there are 50 CTE schools in all five boroughs: 17 are in Manhattan; 11 in Bronx; 13 in Brooklyn; 9 in Queens; and 1 in Staten Island.

What are the CTE opportunities in New York City?

Currently, 139 high schools offer a total of 329 programs. Of the 139 high schools, 51 are designated CTE schools. There are 179 CTE programs in academic high schools that are not designated CTE.

Schools that are designated as CTE high schools are designed to provide all enrolled students with Career and Technical Education programs of study. Some CTE high schools are focused on one industry area, such as Automotive High School, Transit Tech Career and Technical Education High School, and Aviation High School. Others like Queens Vocational and Technical High School and Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Education High School have programs focused on multiple industry program areas.

A CTE program provides access to a subset of enrolled students. CTE programs are offered in both CTE high schools and academic high schools. In many cases, CTE high schools were originally constructed with additional shop facilities and have greater capacity to operate multiple career pathways. CTE high schools also employ larger numbers of CTE certified teachers to support their large enrollment numbers. All CTE students must complete an additional seven (7) credits in technical courses in a State-approved program to receive a CTE-endorsed Regents Diploma.

What is the total student enrollment in designated CTE schools and in CTE programs in NYC?

In school year 2013-2014, over 26,000 students were enrolled in CTE schools. There are approximately 120,000 students in CTE programs.

How do New York City/New York State Education Department define high quality CTE programs?

Schools must complete an NYSED accreditation process that can take several years to complete which requires they demonstrate they have appropriately credentialed staff; industry and postsecondary partners; a solid sequence of courses that lead to at least 7 credits; one or more industry recognized credentials that students are working towards, and other requirements. Approval is for a 5 year period. New CTE schools work toward approval as they grow toward their first graduation class.

The New York City Department of Education supports our schools in completing the State approval process.

  • All CTE programs of study should be developed with following quality indicators taken into consideration: 
  • Qualified Faculty who hold the appropriate CTE State certification in alignment with the program of study including a certified Work-Based Learning Coordinator
  • A Work-based learning sequence that provides grade appropriate experiences such as career exploratory activities, job shadowing, mentoring, industry-based career related competitions and internship placements
  • A Postsecondary partner and an articulation agreement that offers student a value added benefit such as college credits, advanced standing or reduced tuition in the CTE content area in order to provide students with a clear postsecondary pathway upon graduation
  • Business/industry partnerships that provide postsecondary training, apprenticeship, and/or employment opportunities for your students, and professional development for staff, curriculum and technical assessment review
  • A minimum of a two year sequence of courses including career and financial management with curricula aligned to Common Core, NYS, and CDOS learning standards 
  • A culminating end of program technical assessment that prepares students with industry credentials, where applicable, to better position students for entry level employment

How does a school open a CTE program?

High schools can develop CTE programs by working with our staff to complete a CTE program proposal application which includes:

  • Indication of student demand and school capacity
  • Articulation of current or projected employer demand for workers in job titles aligned to the program
  • Demonstration of support from industry partner/s
  • Demonstration of support from postsecondary education partner/s

What is the four-year graduation rate at CTE high schools?

In 2012, 69.7 percent (vs. 64.7% citywide)

What is a CTE-endorsed Regents diploma?

A CTE-endorsed diploma is granted to students enrolled in State-approved CTE programs of study who must meet the following requirements:

  • Meet requirements for a local, Regents, or Advanced Regents diploma
  • For the Advanced Regents diploma only:
  • A minimum of 2 LOTE course credits instead of 6 are required.
  • The NYC LOTE exam is not required.


  • Earn course credits in New York State-approved CTE sequence (number of credits varies by sequence; minimum of 6);
  • Earn 1 course credit in Career and Financial Management (CFM), in addition to CTE credits outlined above;
  • Pass the CTE technical assessment that corresponds to the New York State-approved sequence in which the student earns credits; and
  • Complete Work-Based Learning (WBL) requirement (in addition to CTE and CFM credits outlined above)

State policy on the CTE technical endorsement can be found here:

How many CTE-endorsed Regents Diplomas were issued?

In 2012, 2,551 CTE endorsed Regents Diplomas were issued.

What is the total number of paid CTE student internships?

In school year 2013-2014, there are 1,600 student internships in DOE centrally managed programs. This number does not include school-based internships.

What are the demographics of CTE Students?

  • Race/Ethnicity
  • 43.4% Latino; 37.0% Black; 11.9% Asian; 6.0% White
  • Gender
  • 59.5% percent of students at CTE schools are male; 40.5% percent are female
  • Program demographics broadly reflect national industry trends 
  • Recent emphasis on greater access for young women to traditionally male-dominated industries such as engineering and construction
  • Female enrollment at CTE schools increased 2.5 percentage points from last school year
  • Free or reduced price lunch eligibility
  • 84% percent of students at designated CTE schools qualified for free and reduced price lunch 
  • An independent Community Service Society of New York Report1 (4-year cohort starting 2008 and graduating 2012) on CTE suggests that CTE schools generated outsized results for all Black and Latino students, and particularly male students in these groups:  
  • The graduation rate for Black students in CTE schools was 66.6%, compared to 59.3% of Black students enrolled in other programs. 
  • The graduation rate for Black males in CTE schools was 63.1%, compared to 52.4% for the same group in non-CTE schools. 
  • The graduation rate for Latino students in CTE schools was 66.8%, compared to 56.9% of Latino students enrolled in other programs. 
  • The graduation rate for Latino males in CTE schools was 65.9%, compared to 52.1% for the same group in non-CTE schools

How can an academic high school add a CTE program to their school?

Academic high schools can develop CTE programs by working with our staff to complete a CTE program proposal application which includes:

  • Indication of student demand and school capacity
  • Articulation of current or projected employer demand for workers in job titles aligned to the program
  • Demonstration of support from industry partner/s
  • Demonstration of support from postsecondary education partner/s

Can middle schools create CTE programs?

Middle schools are welcome to incorporate career exploratory programs that expose students to the competencies and employability profiles within a variety of industries. NOTE: at this time, middle schools are not currently eligible to receive supplemental federal funds (VTEA), according to the rules and regulations governing that specific funding stream.

©2015 New York City Career and Technical Education