By: Marianne A. Rowan What Is CTE? CTE, IT, – acronyms surround us. What is CTE? CTE in the educational environment is the acronym for career and technical education. CTE is formally a program of study for middle and high school students that incorporates a series of courses which integrate core academic knowledge such as math and science with technical skills and training that provides students with a pathway to be successful in postsecondary education and future careers. Another acronym widely heard in the CTE world is IT. The acronym IT is not the name of a Stephen King novel, or “Cousin Itt” from The Addams Family! The acronym IT refers to information technology, one of the commonly known career technology courses, or career and technical education pathways, that students follow. But not all CTE courses are focused on computers. CTE is more than just programming. CTE courses can introduce students to such areas as accounting, business, marketing, the hospitality industry, as well as computer programming/coding and the information technology fields. Additionally, students can gain knowledge in the fields of childcare, culinary, and medical/nursing assistants, to name just a few. Reasons to Take a CTE Course Why should a student take a CTE course? Many middle and high school students don’t know what career path they should follow. Some students love numbers, but the thought of algebra and higher-level mathematics doesn’t excite them. When I suggest to students that they may want to take an accounting or financial course and discuss the possible career opportunities, a whole new world opens up to them. Some of our student-athletes know that they may not have what it takes for a professional career in their sport or that such a career may not last forever. Many of these students look to business or finance focused courses to prepare themselves for college and careers after sports. Giving students the opportunity to explore various career and technical courses helps give them an idea of the possibilities that await them in the future. Apex Learning Virtual School’s course catalog is where you can review the variety of CTE course offerings that can help students succeed in their educational journeys and career pathways. To find the selection of CTE courses, select the high school tab and choose the “Career & Technical Education” filter at the top right. My Goals as a CTE Instructor I am passionate about my students’ success, and their exposure to various CTE courses provides them with an opportunity to learn a skill or gain even a little bit of knowledge to help them make their own pathway to a career, whether through a traditional college education or the development of trade and technical skills. I love to watch students grow and develop the skills on how to apply their core academic knowledge in areas they may not have known existed to them. About the Author: Marianne Rowan is a full-time mathematics and CTE instructor with Edmentum/Apex Learning Virtual School. She has more than 25 years of experience in education, along with 20 years of experience in the business and legal fields. She is passionate about teaching and preparing her students for not only college but also the workforce. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Computer Science, a paralegal degree, a post-baccalaureate in mathematics for secondary education, a Master of Arts in Education for Diverse Learners with her thesis addressing school-to-work programs. She is currently in the dissertation phase of a PhD in Instructional Design for Online Learning.