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Career and Technical Education

About CTE

Planning for a high skill, high wage, and high demand career?

CTE. Learning that works for Washington

Career and Technical Education (CTE) innovative programs can accelerate your college and career plans by strengthening technical skills and knowledge through hands-on project and problem-based learning. Increase your opportunities for personal and professional growth through internships and career connected learning, prepare yourself to enter the workforce, training, or college with earned industry certifications and CTE College Dual Credit, and foster and develop positive leadership skills through student leadership.

Seattle Public Schools is committed to ensuring our students are prepared for college and career readiness after high school. CTE prioritizes preparing students with learning that begins with exploration of career options, development of work readiness skills, achievement of high academic standards, and development of transitional career and technical skills.

CTE Mission

The Career and Technical Education Department broadens career choices for students, supports and promotes high quality instruction, and ensures that every secondary school has a range of CTE offerings for every student, including advanced Seattle Skills Center options.

Each of the seven (7) SPS CTE Program Areas contain one or more CTE Career Pathways which are aligned with the 16 National Career Clusters. Clusters represent a grouping of occupations and broad industries based on commonalities.

CTE Graduation Pathways are series of connected courses and resources that provide students to experience their education in a more meaningful career-focused way. This sequence of courses include exploration and career preparation and are connected to post secondary programs of study, include earning dual college credit and Industry Related credentials, and provide career connected learning engagements activities such as internships.  

STEM, technology, leadership development, and career connected learning opportunities are woven into each pathway course to prepare students for career and college.  The (7) seven CTE Program Areas include:

  • Arts, Design, & Graphics
  • Culinary & Hospitality
  • Business & Marketing
  • Health & Medical
  • Skilled Trades
  • STEM-Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math
  • Education & Human Services

Seattle Public Schools offers students a comprehensive career awareness and exploration program to introduce careers, engage with industry professionals both in the classroom and through field experiences.

In addition, students have the opportunity, while completing a graduation pathway in CTE, to participate in experiential learning experiences such as an internship or pre-apprenticeship, paving the way to their future career and education plan.

Visit for more information.

Are you interested in supporting and engaging with students in career exploration and preparation?

Developing strong partnerships with business, industry, and community leaders is an integral part of our middle and high school CTE programs. We have many different opportunities for your organization to get involved. 

If you are interested learning more please complete the Partner Interest Form.

The Seattle Skills Center is an integral part of our CTE programming in Seattle Public Schools. The Seattle Skills Center operates as an extension of the high schools in our district to provide students access to:

  • advanced CTE training and skills
  • applied academics
  • professional workplace skills to successfully enter the job market with a industry-related credential
  • begin a pre-apprenticeship program or earn CTE Dual College Credit to continue into a program of study at the colleges to complete a certification or degree

The Seattle Skills Center is a free program in Seattle Public Schools. Courses are offered through our regular school year and our summer program.

You can find application information and current programs by visiting the Seattle Skill Center website.

CTE Dual College Credit,  Industry Certifications, Academic Cross Credits

CTE Dual College Credit

CTE Dual Credit provides students with the potential to earn high school and college credit at the same time. Dual credit options can be completing a CTE course or exam based. These options include: CTE Exam Based Courses: Advanced Placement (AP),  International Baccalaureate (IB) Course Options: College in the High School (CHS), and Career and Technical Education (CTE) Dual Credit. These tests or courses may result in college course credit. Earning dual credit in high school is connected to higher high school graduation rates, college enrollment, and degree completion. 

Student Leadership

Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSO) and Leadership equivalent organizations enhance student learning through leadership and personal development, applied learning and real world applications.Leadership growth and development is an integral part of each CTE program area. Students demonstrate their professional skills through hands-on projects, presentations, competitions, and real life and/or work experiences.

Leadership helps guide students in choosing a career pathway, a program of study and provide opportunities in gaining the skills and abilities needed to be successful in those careers through leadership supported activities, including regional, state, and national. Students seeking leadership opportunities can hold leadership positions at their school, state, and national levels and attend leadership development conferences to network with other students as well as business and industry partners.

There are nearly 75,000 students in Washington who participate in Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSO).  Students can become members of a CTSO or CTE supported Leadership Club in their middle and High Schools. Check your school for more information.

DECA, An Association of Marketing Students

FCCLA, Family, Career and Community Leaders of America

HOSA,  Health Occupation Student Association


TSA, Technology Student Association

WCTSMA, Washington Career and Technical Sports Medicine Association