What (and When) Is CTE Month 2018? Blog Feature
Chris Zook

By: Chris Zook on January 25th, 2018

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What (and When) Is CTE Month 2018?

CTE | CTE Month

Career and technical education has become a major component of the education system in the United States.

CTE has gone by a lot of names over the years — trade skills, vocational training, vo-tech, and more.

Today, all of those names point back to CTE.

Still, the American education system is dominated by the idea that successful students go to four year universities.

That’s why CTE Month exists.

Throughout February 2018, countless schools, instructors, and students will revamp their typical perception of education to focus on CTE.

Every school will do it a little differently. But the core component of CTE Month remains the same every year.

Every student is different, and every student needs to know their options to succeed in the future.

With that in mind, CTE Month is a four-week sprint through some of the most important information a student can learn.

We’ll break down almost everything you need to know about CTE Month in this blog post.

If you’ve never celebrated it before, you can prepare for February 2018 right now!

What Is CTE Month?

CTE Month is an observation of CTE as a track to career success for students who want a more structured, hands-on approach to their futures.

Specifically, that means discussing the 16 career clusters that CTE contains.

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It also showcases the accomplishments of CTE departments, classes, instructors, and students as they work throughout the year.

This is important because the concept of education in the United States is heavily focused on four-year universities and test grades.

CTE, on the other hand, focuses on career readiness and learning a trade. The grading is less based on someone’s pen-and-paper test scores (although those are still important) and instead focused on the product of their handiwork.

Whether that handiwork is a lab practical or a physical product a student has made differs by CTE track.

But CTE Month brings these qualities to the forefront of students’ minds every February. It shows students that you don’t have to be “booksmart” to be considered a good student.

You can still succeed in life even if the traditional American education system doesn’t work with your learning style.

That’s a heavy message to send to students.

But it’s essential in today’s world. With today’s enormous student diversity, they should know about every opportunity available to them.

CTE Month makes that happen.

When Is CTE Month?

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CTE Month falls on February each year.

While it’s the shortest month, these 28 (or 29) days refocus the lens of American education onto trade skills instead of core academic achievements.

It happens the same time every year, and it always gives a boost to the credibility and notoriety of CTE programs around the country. 

Who Celebrates CTE Month?

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Teachers, students, and schools around the country celebrate CTE Month each year.

The biggest celebrant is the United States Department of Education. While the DoE hasn’t said much about CTE Month 2018 yet, they’ve traditionally taken part by visiting schools and highlighting the most successful programs around the country.

The Association for Career & Technical Education (ACTE) also celebrates CTE Month every year. They use it to advocate for progress in CTE funding, legislation, and awareness since they invented CTE Month in the first place!

Most states celebrate CTE week through their own Departments of Education as well. This celebration trickles down into the public school system where you can find awareness campaigns and school activities based around CTE career tracks.

Technical education classes usually act as the hub for all of this CTE activity, although health science teachers, science teachers, computer teachers, and guidance counselors like to get involved as well.

Private schools may celebrate CTE Month as well, depending on the classes they offer.

Private technical schools will almost certainly celebrate CTE Month, too. They may even launch marketing campaigns outside the school or partner with other schools in the area to attract new students!

Even four-year universities may celebrate CTE Month. While this may sound counter-intuitive, many four-year institutions offer majors or concentrations that overlap with CTE career tracks.

Engineering, mathematics, and computer science are just three areas that can observe CTE Month. While universities may take these topics in a different direction, professors can still use CTE Month as a way to discuss foundational principles of their expertise.  

Teachers, supervisors, and administrators can all get behind CTE Month to show students the options that they have to succeed in the world.

Regardless of background or affiliation, almost every school in the United States has a reason to observe CTE Month this February.

The odds are pretty good that yours will celebrate it too!

Why Is CTE Month Important?

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So we know that schools throughout the United States will celebrate CTE this February.

But why is it such a big deal?

After all, 94% of secondary students have some exposure to CTE today.

Still, it’s important for schools to keep that awareness growing.

No one educational style works for every student.

Some students will only need a high school education to do what they want in life, while others may pursue a decade of university education to earn advanced degrees.

Both options are extremes, and extremes only serve a small percentage of students.

CTE is one of the major education options that bridges the gap between secondary and university education. It emphasizes that students can get a worthwhile education to reach their career goals without advanced degrees.

Plus, CTE is the best education option for students who prefer learning with their hands. These students can get practical experience with every CTE track whether they want to shadow a local business owner or learn CPR.

While university education often concentrates on theory, CTE combines theory and practice into one cohesive, solid experience for its students.

That’s not to say one education system is better than the other — it’s just important to remember that CTE is an option!

With that in mind, you could change a student’s entire future by introducing them to the concept of CTE.

If they never heard of it, they suddenly have a new way to figure out what they want to do with their life and how they want to pursue it.

How Do You Celebrate CTE Month?

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You have a million options at your fingertips for celebrating CTE Month in 2018.

Whether you want to immerse your students in CTE-related activities, hold a career week, or manage a simple awareness campaign, your options are practically endless.

That’s why we can’t cover the how of CTE Month in this blog post. We’re leaving that for next week — the first week of CTE Month 2018!

What’s Next in February 2018?

Stay tuned to the AES blog! We’re celebrating CTE Month 2018 every Thursday this month.

Up next: How you can celebrate CTE Month in your classroom!

In the meantime, what do you want to do for CTE Month this year? Did you do anything last year? How did your students respond?

Leave a comment to let us know!

 

 

About Chris Zook

Chris Zook is the content marketing manager at AES. He enjoys everything about online marketing, data science, user experience, and corgis.

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