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What Are the Georgia CTAE Career Clusters?


Career, technical, and agricultural education (CTAE) is on the rise across Georgia. With the need for skilled workers increasing, CTAE programs in Georgia school districts are going up as well.

At the national level, CTAE is made up of 16 career clusters, each with a varying number of pathways. Each state uses those clusters to shape their own CTAE programs, but they tweak the clusters to fit the needs of their workforce.

Here, we’ll take a look at CTAE in Georgia and the career clusters it includes.

In Georgia, CTAE is made up of 17 career clusters:

  1. Agriculture, Food, & Natural Resources
  2. Architecture & Construction
  3. Arts, A/V Technology, & Communications
  4. Business Management & Administration
  5. Education & Training
  6. Energy
  7. Finance
  8. Government & Public Administration
  9. Health Science
  10. Hospitality & Tourism
  11. Human Services
  12. Information Technology
  13. Law, Public Safety, Corrections, & Security
  14. Manufacturing
  15. Marketing, Sales, & Service
  16. Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics
  17. Transportation, Distribution, & Logistics

On this page, we’ll go into the details of each cluster to see how Georgia approaches CTAE compared to national CTAE.

Georgia Career, Technical, & Agricultural Education


The Georgia Department of Education (Georgia DOE) invests heavily in CTAE to “ensure students have the skills they need to thrive in the future workforce.”

To do this, Georgia has a number of middle school CTAE courses.

Each of the Georgia career clusters has specific course sequences to ensure students across the state learn the same information for the same career, no matter which school or district they’re in.

With support from the Georgia Association for Career & Technical Education (GACTE), the Georgia DOE  regularly reviews and updates the pathway course sequences to stay current with industry standards.

Students in these sequences must pass an exam to obtain an industry certification or credential in order to work.

Georgia refers to these exams as Technical Skill Attainment Assessments. Depending on the career, the assessment could be from a state organization or even a national agency.

In addition to the courses and assessments, students interested in CTAE have opportunities to join a career and technical student organization (CTSO). In Georgia, these organizations are coordinated by Georgia CTSO, which is backed by the Georgia DOE.

Overall, with more than 130 career pathways available for students to choose, it’s clear that CTAE programs are in full force in Georgia!

Now that you have an idea of how CTAE works in Georgia, let’s dig into the 17 career clusters.

1. Agriculture, Food, & Natural Resources


The Agriculture, Food, & Natural Resources (AFNR) career cluster is a big part of CTAE in Georgia. The Georgia DOE states that their mission for agricultural education is to be “a premier learning system that delivers agricultural, environmental, and leadership education programs and services.”

In Georgia, the AFNR cluster has seven career pathways, which are slightly different than the national ones:

  1. Agriscience
  2. Plant Science/Horticulture
  3. Forestry/Natural Resources
  4. Animal Science
  5. Agriculture Mechanics
  6. Agribusiness
  7. Veterinary Science


Within those pathways, Georgia offers 34 course sequence options, each one focused on preparing students for a specific career.

The Georgia DOE lists more than 30 assessments for students in the AFNR cluster, ranging from state-developed ones to national certifications.

At the national level, the CTSO related to this career cluster is the National FFA Organization. Georgia has a state-specific version that students can join -- the Georgia FFA Association.

2. Architecture & Construction


The Architecture & Construction cluster provides opportunities for careers in planning, building, and maintaining structures.

While there are only three pathways under this cluster at the national level, there are 12 in Georgia. This directly lines up with the 12 pathway course sequences.

Along with those course sequence options, students can choose from more than 25 national assessments to become certified for a career in this cluster.

Unlike the AFNR cluster, students in the Architecture & Construction cluster don’t have a specific CTSO option. However, they can choose to join SkillsUSA Georgia.

3. Arts, A/V Technology, & Communications


In Georgia, the Arts, A/V Technology, & Communications (AAVTC) cluster is similar to the national cluster. However, the national cluster has pathways for journalism and performing arts, while Georgia does not..

The course sequences for AAVTC in Georgia are as follows:

  1. Audio-Video Technology and Film I
  2. Audio-Video Technology and Film II
  3. Animation and Digital Media
  4. Graphic Design
  5. Graphic Communication


The Georgia DOE lists more than 15 assessment options for certification in the AAVTC cluster, all of which are also recognized nationally.

Similar to the Architecture & Construction cluster, there are no dedicated CTSOs for AAVTC, but students can join SkillsUSA Georgia if they are interested.

4. Business Management & Administration


At the national level, the Business Management & Administration cluster has five pathways, but Georgia only has three:

  1. Business and Technology
  2. Entrepreneurship
  3. Human Resources Management


There are three course sequences that directly align with those pathways, including Health Information Technology, which is a crossover between this cluster and the Health Science cluster.

Unlike the previous clusters, Business Management & Administration only has a handful of assessments suggested by the Georgia DOE for student certification. However, there are two CTSOs that students have the option to join -- Georgia DECA and Georgia FBLA.

5. Education & Training


Similar to the previous cluster, Georgia strays from the national pathways in Education & Training. While there are still three pathways, Georgia is more specifically focused on teaching.

The three course sequence options are:

  1. Early Childhood Care and Education I
  2. Early Childhood Care and Education II
  3. Teaching as a Profession


When it comes to assessment certifications for Education & Training, there are six national options and one developed at the state level in Georgia.

There is one state-specific CTSO for students in this cluster -- the Georgia Family, Career, & Community Leaders of America (GAFCCLA).

6. Energy


The Energy career cluster is the extra cluster that is included in CTAE in Georgia, but not nationally.

Students in this cluster are introduced to careers related to generating and distributing energy as well as developing alternate forms of energy.

In Georgia, there are two pathway course sequences in the Energy cluster:

  1. Energy Systems
  2. Energy and Power: Generation, Transmission, and Distribution

Additionally, the Georgia DOE suggests five different national assessments that a student could take for a career related to the Energy cluster.

There are no specific CTSOs for the Energy cluster, but students could join SkillsUSA Georgia.

7. Finance


The Finance career cluster has five pathways nationally, but Georgia narrows them to three:

  1. Advanced Accounting
  2. Business Accounting
  3. Financial Services

The course sequences for Finance directly align with those pathways, and there are six national assessment options related to those sequences.

While there aren’t any CTOs specific to students in the Finance cluster, they can choose to join Georgia DECA or Georgia FBLA.

8. Government & Public Administration


In Georgia, the Government & Public Administration career cluster is laid out differently than the national level.

The focus is primarily on JROTC opportunities, with the exception being a pathway course sequence called Public Management and Administration.

This pathway is the only one that doesn’t have any assessments or CTSO suggested by the Georgia DOE.

9. Health Science


In Georgia, the Health Science cluster directly aligns with the five national pathways:

  1. Therapeutic Services
  2. Diagnostic Services
  3. Health Informatics
  4. Support Services
  5. Biotechnology Research & Development


There are 18 course sequences across those pathways, with Therapeutic Services having the most options.

In terms of assessments, the Health Science cluster has more than 55 certifications, with the bulk being related to careers in therapeutic services.

The CTSO for this cluster is the Georgia HOSA organization, which is the state-specific version of the national CTSO.

10. Hospitality & Tourism


The Hospitality & Tourism cluster in Georgia differs slightly from the national cluster. Overall it still focuses on careers in food services, recreational events, and tourism, but Georgia only supports three pathways:

  1. Hospitality, Recreation, and Tourism
  2. Culinary Arts
  3. Sports and Entertainment Marketing

While there are only three pathway course sequences, students can choose from more than 10 assessments.

Similar to some other clusters, there are no CTSOs specific to careers in hospitality and tourism, but students could join Georgia DECA or GA FCCLA.

11. Human Services


On the national level, the Human Services career cluster is made of five career pathways. In Georgia, the cluster includes similar pathways, but with a larger focus on personal care services.

In total there are seven course sequences to choose, four of which fall under the personal care services pathway.

Additionally, the Georgia DOE supports 11 national assessments for students in the Human Services cluster.

This cluster doesn’t have a specific CTSO, but students who are interested can join SkillsUSA Georgia or GA FCCLA.

12. Information Technology


The Information Technology (IT) cluster prepares students for careers related to computer programming, networking, and digital communication.

Georgia has nine IT course sequences for high school students, along with three for middle school students. There is a lot of overlap in the course sequences since all students need to know the fundamentals of IT before moving into their specific pathways.

When it comes to certification assessments, students can choose from more than 25 options.

Students in the IT cluster can join the Georgia FBLA or GeorgiaFIRST Robotics.

13. Law, Public Safety, Corrections, & Security


The Georgia Law, Public Safety, Corrections, & Security career cluster closely aligns to the national cluster of the same name.

It has five main pathways, with a total of 10 pathway course sequences. In addition, there are more than 20 certification options for careers in this cluster.

The Law, Public Safety, Corrections, & Security cluster doesn’t have a specific CTSO, but the Georgia DOE recommends students join SkillsUSA Georgia if they are interested.

14. Manufacturing


In Georgia, the Manufacturing cluster differs significantly from the national cluster. Rather than six pathways, it only includes these four:

  1. Manufacturing
  2. Mechatronics
  3. Industrial Maintenance
  4. Granite Technology

Manufacturing has four course sequences, and there are six national assessments for related careers.

The CTSO most related to the Manufacturing career cluster is the Georgia Technology Student Association (GA TSA).

15. Marketing


In Georgia, the Marketing career cluster is not as structured as the national cluster. The Georgia DOE lists three pathway course sequences in the Marketing cluster:

  1. Marketing and Management
  2. Fashion, Merchandising, and Retail Management
  3. Marketing Communications and Promotions


While there are only three course sequences, students can choose from 10 assessments related to those sequences.

For students interested in joining a CTSO, the Georgia DOE recommends Georgia DECA.

16. Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math


The Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM) cluster prepares students for careers related to physical science, social science, and engineering.

In Georgia, students can choose from one of three pathway course sequences:

  1. Electronics
  2. Engineering and Technology
  3. Engineering Drafting and Design


There are 11 assessments for STEM careers, the bulk of which are specific to the Engineering Drafting and Design pathway.

Students looking for a CTSO for this cluster can join the GA TSA.

17. Transportation, Distribution, & Logistics


The Transportation, Distribution, & Logistics career cluster in Georgia is very similar to the national cluster.

In total, there are nine pathway course sequences available in this cluster, along with nine assessment options.

There are no CTSOs specifically related to careers in transportation, distribution, or logistics, but students can join SkillsUSA Georgia.

Now that we’ve gone over the 17 Georgia career clusters, let’s talk about the next big thing in Georgia CTAE -- digital curriculum.


Need to Meet Your CTAE Challenges?

CTAE is on the rise in Georgia, and the demand for skilled workers is increasing. With that in mind, it’s only natural that teachers like you learn more about the many career pathways open to Georgia’s students. 

In this article, you’ve learned about each of Georgia’s CTAE career clusters and how they compare to national CTAE. However, if you want to teach these pathways successfully, you’re going to have to contend with frustrations that CTAE teachers face every day.

The fact is, many teachers like you are swamped with responsibilities like engaging students, crafting unique lesson plans, grading, and more. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of that work, check out this guide to overcoming your challenges as a CTAE teacher

This guide dives into strategies you can use to engage students, meet their needs, satisfy your course standards, and more, all while saving yourself time every week:

Overcome Your Teaching Challenges