Career & Technical
Education Research

Research Consortium on

Career & Technical Education

Career and Technical Education (CTE) plays a vital role in preparing today’s students to be skilled for work and life in a changing, dynamic world.  Career & Technical Education has changed to keep current with the 4th Industrial Revolution. Students are now exploring careers in 3D printing, coding, and since now everyday appliances are IOT (internet of things) enabled their technical training includes learning how to work with sensors and IOT technology.  There are still many career options for students looking to enter culinary, automotive, cosmetology and the manufacturing fields.

We survey students to learn what they are looking for as they explore careers in the various technical education pathways.

  • Although the majority of CTE high school students say they have been exposed to future employers in a variety of ways (65%), the remainder say they have not yet had that contact (35%).
  • 60% of CTE students say they have affirmed or clarified their career pathway through CTE experiences.

Click on the research findings below to find out more!

Our Research Partners

Hispanic Heritage Foundation a Student Research Foundation Partner
Manufacturing Institute a Student Research Foundation Partner


Findings from the Fall 2018 Survey

Today’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) attracts a broader cross-section of high school students than ever. Findings from SRF’s Fall 2018 in-class survey of students in CTE classrooms across the nation illustrate that diversity. The overwhelming majority have at least a B average, plan to continue their education immediately after graduation, and are headed to a wide array of post-secondary institutions. They take CTE to learn skills and explore/prepare for careers. No matter their educational path, they report CTE provides critical benefits that increase workforce readiness and connect academics with the “real world.”

Manufacturing Career Interest

 Of surveyed high school students in Career & Technical Education, interest in manufacturing careers grew considerably year over year.

In 2016, 10% of students showed interest – in 2017, 15% of students expressed interest in manufacturing careers.

CTE and Career Pathways

Of high school seniors in Career & Technical Education classes, 60% believe CTE reaffirmed or clarified their career pathway.

Career and Technical Education is instrumental in assisting a majority of students with their career pathway decisions.

Manufacturing Career Interest

Manufacturing careers has seen healthy growth in popularity among high school students. Of students in Career & Technical Education classes, “Manufacturing” as a career to aspire towards rose from 8th place during the 2015/2016 school year to 5th place in the 2016/2017 school year.

*See the 16 career clusters at

Exposure to Future Employers

Getting noticed by future employers can be difficult. High school students in Career and Technical Education classes say they are most frequently exposed to future employers through Summer Jobs (20%) and Guest Lectures (18%).