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[Excerpt] Career and technical education (CTE), sometimes referred to as vocational education, provides occupational and non-occupational preparation at the secondary, postsecondary, and adult education levels. As defined in a publication by the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED’s) National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), CTE prepares students for roles outside the paid labor market, teaches general employment skills, and teaches skills required in specific occupations or careers. The definition distinguishes CTE from liberal arts or academic education: the fine arts, English, mathematics, science, foreign languages, and the humanities. A CTE curriculum is often designed to have a post-education practical application and develop broadly applicable skills. Academic educational courses are often designed to develop subject matter knowledge and broadly applicable skills.


Suggested Citation
Dortch, C. (2014). Career and technical education (CTE): A primer. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service.