Most public high school graduates earned CTE credits, but did not necessarily concentrate in a specific CTE subject area. Overall, 88 percent of graduates earned CTE credits, 20 percent were three-credit concentrators, and an additional 18 percent (for a total of 38 percent) were two-credit concentrators.
Public high school graduates earned more credits in business, finance, and marketing than in any other CTE area (see figure).
Students from rural areas and towns earned fewer academic credits and more CTE credits than their city and suburban counterparts (see figure). Two CTE areas—agriculture and natural resources and construction—follow the overall pattern of more credits earned by students in rural areas and towns than by students in cities and suburbs, two other CTE areas show variations across locale, and six CTE areas have no pattern of credits earned across locale. (see figure).
Male public high school graduates earned more CTE credits than female graduates (see figure).
White and Black graduates earned more CTE credits than their Asian/Pacific Islander peers (see figure).
Graduates whose first language was English earned more CTE credits than their peers whose first language was not English (see figure).
Students who had an Individualized Education Program (IEP) earned more CTE credits than students who did not have an IEP, and students whose parents had lower levels of educational attainment earned more CTE credits than students whose parents had higher levels of attainment (see figure).
Public high school graduates who took lower and mid-level mathematics courses in ninth grade completed more CTE credits than graduates who took higher-level mathematics courses. Relatedly, public high school graduates with lower levels of mathematics achievement in ninth grade earned more CTE credits than those with higher levels of mathematics achievement (see figure).
Participation from 1992 to 2013
CTE participation declined from 1992, when public high school graduates earned an average of 3.13 CTE credits, to 2013, when they earned an average of 2.60 CTE credits (see figure).
Credit earning decreased in 3 CTE subject areas (mechanical repair and operation; engineering, design, and production; business, finance, and marketing), while it increased in 5 subject areas (public services, healthcare, agriculture and natural resources, computer and information science, and communication and communication technologies) (see figure).
In business, finance, and marketing, a gender gap favoring females disappeared between 1992 and 2013. Over the same period, a gender gap favoring females appeared in communication and communication technologies and in public services, and a gender gap favoring males appeared in computer and information sciences (see figure).
Students' Work-related Attitudes, Influences, and Expectations
Most students expect their primary activity for the year after high school to be postsecondary education (see figure).
A higher proportion of female than male students expect their main activity to be postsecondary education, whereas a higher proportion of males than females expect their main activity to be work (see figure).
Students' expectation for postsecondary education increases as family SES increases, and their expectation for working decreases as SES increases (see figure).
Family members and myself are most often reported as the main influence for students' thinking about careers, with school staff less frequently reported as the main influence (see figure).
Family members more often were reported as students' main influence for thinking about postsecondary education than for their thinking about careers, while students reported relying on themselves more when thinking about careers than when thinking about postsecondary education (see figure).
Students at each socioeconomic status (SES) level most often reported family members and myself as their main influence for thinking about both further education (see figure) and careers (see figure). However, high-SES students reported more often than low-SES students that they were their own main influence, while low-SES students reported more often than high-SES students that teachers or counselors were their main influence.
Students' Career Preparation Activities
The counselors of most public high school students report that their school requires a graduation, career, or education plan (see figure).
Although 44 percent of public high school students are asked to develop a plan, fewer students submit their plan to their school or review the plan with school staff at least annually (see figure).
Education and Work After High School
Postsecondary enrollment rates: Class of 2009
About three-quarters of graduates who were CTE concentrators in high school enrolled in postsecondary education, although a lower percentage did so than among students who had not concentrated in CTE (see figure).
After enrolling in postsecondary education, about three-quarters of CTE concentrators pursued an occupational field of study, but only about one-quarter were in a field aligned with their area of study in high school (see figure).
Postsecondary enrollment rates: Class of 2004
Postsecondary enrollment rates were higher for graduates who earned fewer CTE credits in high school than for graduates who earned more credits, and were higher for graduates who did not concentrate in CTE than for those who did concentrate in CTE (see figure).
Postsecondary enrollment rates varied among high school graduates who concentrated in different occupational areas; graduates who concentrated in three areas–computer and information sciences, health sciences, and marketing-enrolled in postsecondary education at rates that were not measurably different from nonconcentrators, and were higher than for concentrators in general (see figure).
Postsecondary enrollment rates: Class of 2004 vs. 1992
Postsecondary enrollment rates were higher for the high school class of 2004 than for the class of 1992 (see figure)
But postsecondary attainment rates were lower in the more recent cohort than in the earlier cohort. (see figure)
Labor Force Outcomes: Class of 2009
Graduates who earned 3.00 or more CTE credits had a lower unemployment rate than their peers who earned fewer CTE credits (see figure).
Higher levels of CTE participation were not related to job satisfaction or pay, but were related to benefits (see figure).