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What Are the Michigan Career Clusters?

Career and technical education (CTE) is on the rise across the United States.  With the need for skilled workers increasing, CTE programs in every state and most school districts are racing to keep up with student demand.

On the national level, CTE is made up of 16 career clusters that each have a number of career pathways within them. Each state uses those career clusters to shape their own CTE programs, but many make adjustments to meet the needs of their workforce.

Here, we’ll dive into CTE in Michigan, specifically around the Michigan career clusters.

In Michigan, CTE 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
  16. Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics
  17. Transportation, Distribution, & Logistics

On this page we’ll look at the details of each career cluster to see how Michigan approaches CTE compared to the rest of the country.

We’ll also dive into the next big thing in Michigan CTE.

But first, let’s take a look at how CTE works in Michigan.

Michigan Career and Technical Education


The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) focuses on preparing students to enter the workforce as skilled individuals.

To accomplish this, the Michigan Office of Career and Technical Education (OCTE) oversees high school CTE programs with a mission to “prepare students so they have the necessary academic, technical, and work behavior skills to enter, compete, and advance in education and their careers.”

To meet that goal, the Michigan OCTE used the 16 national career clusters as a framework to create their CTE standards and expectations.

Michigan used the national CTE essential knowledge and skills standards provided by Advance CTE as a starting point. Then, Michigan tailored its CTE programs using four additional types of standards:

  1. High School Content Expectations
  2. Michigan Career and Employability Skills Standards
  3. Michigan Technology Education Standards
  4. Technical Skills Standards

In addition to the 16 standard career clusters, Michigan developed a 17th cluster -- Energy (which you’ll learn about below).

The OCTE and members of local businesses frequently review these standards to keep them up to date.

The OCTE goes through these revisions because “as technological advancements and changes in processes and practices take place within business and industry, teachers must be poised to make adjustments to their instruction.”

In addition to using the national career clusters and related career pathways, Michigan also references the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) codes when building CTE programs.

Depending on the career cluster and pathway a student chooses, they may have an opportunity to complete a CTE Skills Assessment to earn a certification.

Along with the courses and certification options, students interested in CTE can join a career and technical student organization (CTSO) to connect with other students and gain more experience with the industry.

Overall, Michigan wants to prep students to enter the workforce as highly-skilled individuals, ready for whatever their jobs entail!

Now that you’ve got an idea of how CTE works in Michigan, let’s dig into the 17 career clusters!

1. Agriculture, Food, & Natural Resources


The Agriculture, Food, & Natural Resources (AFNR) cluster prepares students for a wide range of careers involving plant and animal products, minerals, and more -- and using them to sustain life.

In Michigan, the AFNR cluster standards are strongly based on the national AFNR knowledge and skills statements.

Additionally, the CIP codes that the Michigan OCTE uses to build AFNR programs in high schools across the state include:

  • 01.0000 - Agriculture, Agricultural Operations, & Related Sciences
  • 01.0601 - Applied Horticulture & Horticultural Operations
  • 01.0903 - Animal Health & Veterinary Sciences
  • 03.0000 - Natural Resources & Conservation
  • 26.1201 - Biotechnology

At the national level, the CTSO connected to this cluster is the National FFA Organization. In Michigan, there is a state-specific version called the Michigan FFA Association.

2. Architecture & Construction


In Michigan, the Architecture & Construction career cluster has three pathways, which align to the national ones:

  1. Construction
  2. Design / Pre-Construction
  3. Maintenance / Operations

These pathways are structured around the national Architecture & Construction knowledge and skills statements, plus the following CIP codes:

  • 15.1301 - Drafting & Design Technology / Architectural
  • 19.0605 - Home Furnishing Equipment Installers & Consultations
  • 46.0000 - Construction Trades
  • 46.0301 - Electrical & Power Transmission Installation
  • 46.0503 - Plumbing Technology
  • 47.0201 - Heating, Air Conditioning, Ventilation, & Refrigeration

There is one assessment the MDE lists for students in this career cluster -- the NOCTI assessment for Architectural Drafting.

Though there is no CTSO specifically dedicated to the Architecture & Construction cluster, the most relevant one is SkillsUSA Michigan.

3. Arts, A/V Technology, & Communications


The Arts, A/V Technology, & Communications (AAVTC) cluster in Michigan directly lines up with the national AAVTC cluster.

The MDE uses the national knowledge and skills statements and the following CIP codes to build AAVTC programs:

  • 10.0202 - Radio & Television Broadcasting Technology
  • 10.0301 - Graphics and Printing Technology & Communications
  • 19.0906 - Fashion Design
  • 50.0101 - Visual & Performing Arts

Unlike the previous cluster, there are no assessments for AAVTC and there is no CTSO relevant for students in the cluster.

4. Business Management & Administration


The Michigan Business Management & Administration cluster uses the five national pathways:

  1. Administrative Support
  2. Business Information Management
  3. General Management
  4. Human Resources Management
  5. Operations Management

To build CTE programs in this cluster, the MDE references the national knowledge and skills statements, along with one CIP code:

  • 52.0299 - Business Administration Management & Operations

The assessment available for students in this cluster is the NOCTI General Management assessment.

The Business Management & Administration cluster has two CTSOs that students can choose to join.

Both of them are state-specific versions of national organizations: Michigan Business Professionals of America (Michigan BPA) and Michigan DECA.

5. Education & Training


The Education & Training cluster prepares students for careers primarily focused on public education, with a few options related to training services.

In Michigan the programs in this cluster are developed using the national knowledge and skills statements, along with one CIP code:

  • 13.0000 - Education General

The MDE lists one CTSO relevant for students in the Education & Training cluster: Michigan Family, Career, & Community Leaders of America (Michigan FCCLA).

6. Energy


The Energy career cluster is unique in that it’s not one of the national clusters. The Michigan OCTE added this extra cluster to meet the needs of the state.

To do so, the OCTE worked with business and industry partners to create the cluster standards for the state. In addition, they referenced two CIP codes:

  • 46.0303 - Line Worker
  • 46.0502 - Plumbing-Pipefitter and Sprinkler Fitter

In terms of assessments, the MDE lists the Energy Industry Fundamentals assessment.

Because the Energy cluster is unique to Michigan, there are no specific CTSOs. However, students can join SkillsUSA Michigan.

7. Finance


At the national level, the Finance cluster has five pathways that Michigan uses as a guide:

  1. Accounting
  2. Banking Services
  3. Business Finance
  4. Insurance
  5. Securities & Investments

In addition to the national knowledge and skills statements, Michigan references two CIP codes to build CTE Finance programs:

  • 52.0800 - Finance & Financial Management Services
  • 52.1701 - Insurance

The only assessment listed by the MDE is the NOCTI Accounting - Advanced Job Ready assessment.

Though there are no CTSOs specific to the Finance cluster, students can join Michigan DECA.

8. Government & Public Administration


The Government & Public Administration cluster prepares students for career involved in governmental functions. In Michigan, this cluster is closely aligned to the national cluster.

To build programs in government and administration, Michigan uses the national skills and knowledge statements along with one CIP Code:

  • 28.0301 - Army (JROTC)

Government & Public Administration is one of the only clusters that doesn’t have assessments or CTSOs suggested by the MDE.

9. Health Science


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

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

Health science programs in Michigan are well laid out, using the national skills and knowledge statements as a base, along with the following CIP codes:

  • 26.0102 - Biomedical Sciences, General
  • 51.0000 - Health Sciences / Allied Health / Health Sciences, General
  • 51.0707 - Health Information/Medical Records Technology/Technician
  • 51.1000 - Clinical/Medical Laboratory Science/Research and Allied Professions

The two assessments the MDE recommends for students in the Health Science cluster are the Emergency Medical Technician certification and the NCHSE National Health Science assessment.

The CTSO for health science is Michigan HOSA, which is a state-specific version of the national HOSA organization.

10. Hospitality & Tourism


The Hospitality & Tourism career cluster in Michigan uses the four national pathways:

  1. Lodging
  2. Recreation, Amusements, & Attractions
  3. Restaurants & Food / Beverage Services
  4. Travel & Tourism

To shape the CTE programs, the MDE uses the national knowledge and skills statements, along with one CIP code:

  • 12.0500 - Cooking & Related Culinary Arts, General

While there are no CTSOs specific to careers in hospitality or tourism, the MDE suggests students join either Michigan DECA or SkillsUSA Michigan.

11. Human Services


In Michigan, the Human Services cluster aligns with the national one, with a slightly larger focus on cosmetology.

To create programs and courses for Human Services, the MDE used the national knowledge and skills statements, plus one CIP code:

  • 12.0400 - Cosmetology

Like Hospitality & Tourism, there are no CTSOs specific to careers in human services, but students can join SkillsUSA Michigan.

12. Information Technology


The Information Technology (IT) career cluster prepares students for careers related to creating and maintaining hardware, software, and digital media.

In Michigan, IT programs are created using the national knowledge and skills statements, plus five CIP codes:

  • 11.0201 - Computer Programming / Programmer
  • 11.0801 - Digital/Multimedia & Information Resources Design
  • 11.0901 - Computer Systems Networking & Telecommunications
  • 11.1001 - System Administration/Administrator
  • 11.1003 - Computer & Information Systems Security / Information Assurance

The IT cluster has the most assessments available for students, with a total of 14 national certifications plus a NOCTI Network Systems Administrations Systems assessment specifically created for Michigan!

There are no relevant CTSOs listed by the MDE for students in the IT cluster.

13. Law, Public Safety, Corrections, & Security


The Michigan Law, Public Safety, Corrections, & Security career cluster directly aligns with the national cluster’s five pathways:

  1. Correction Services
  2. Emergency & Fire Management Services
  3. Law Enforcement Services
  4. Legal Services
  5. Security & Protective Services

The Michigan cluster standards are strongly based off of the national knowledge and skills statements, along with one CIP code:

  • 43.0100 - Public Safety / Protective Services

Students in this career cluster can choose from three assessment options:

  1. NOCTI Criminal Justice assessment
  2. Firefighter 1 certification
  3. Firefighter 2 certification

Like the IT career cluster, there are no CTSOs for students in the Law, Public Safety, Corrections, & Security cluster.

14. Manufacturing


The Manufacturing career cluster in Michigan directly aligns with the national cluster and is made up of six pathways:

  1. Health, Safety, & Environmental Assurance
  2. Logistics & Inventory Control
  3. Maintenance, Installation, & Repair
  4. Manufacturing Production Process Development
  5. Production
  6. Quality Assurance

To frame the cluster, the MDE used the national knowledge and skills statements, plus four CIP codes:

  • 47.0101 - Electrical/Electronics Equipment Installation & Repair, General
  • 48.0501 - Machine Tool Technology / Machinist
  • 48.0508 - Welding, Brazing, & Soldering
  • 48.0701 - Woodworking, General

The assessment listed by the MDE for the Manufacturing cluster is the NOCTI Welding assessment.

While there’s no CTSO specific to this cluster, students should consider joining SkillsUSA Michigan.

15. Marketing


In Michigan, the Marketing career cluster is closely aligned to the national one and was developed using the national knowledge and skills statements.

Along with those statements, the MDE used one CIP code to help build the Marketing cluster:

  • 52.1999 - Specialized Merchandising, Sales, & Marketing Operations, Other

There are no assessments for students in the Marketing career cluster.

The most relevant CTSO for students interested in marketing is Michigan DECA.

16. Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics


The Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) career cluster is made up of two national pathways:

  1. Engineering & Technology
  2. Science & Mathematics

In Michigan, STEM programs are developed using the national knowledge and skills statements, plus three CIP codes:

  • 14.4201 - Mechatronics
  • 15.0000 - Engineering Technology
  • 15.1306 - Mechanical Drafting

The STEM career cluster is one of the few clusters that doesn’t have specific assessments or CTSOs listed by the MDE.

17. Transportation, Distribution, & Logistics


The Transportation, Distribution, & Logistics (TDL) career cluster prepares students for career related to moving materials and good by various methods.

In Michigan, the TDL cluster is based on the national knowledge and skills statements, plus nine CIP codes:

  • 47.0399 - Heavy/Industrial Equipment Maintenance Technologies
  • 47.0603 - Collision Repair Technician (ASE Certified)
  • 47.0604 - Automobile Technician (ASE Certified)
  • 47.0606 - Small Engine & Related Equipment Repair
  • 47.0607 - Airframe Technology
  • 47.0608 - Power Plant Technology (Aircraft)
  • 47.0609 - Avionics Maintenance Technology
  • 47.0613 - Medium/Heavy Truck Technician (ASE Certified)
  • 49.0101 - Aeronautics/Aviation/Aerospace Science & Technology

There are four certification options available for students in this pathway, all of which are through the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. The certifications are:

  • Electrical/Electronic Systems certification
  • Maintenance and Light Repair certification
  • Painting and Refinishing certification
  • Medium/Heavy Truck - Electrical/Electronic Systems certification

While there is no CTSO specific to the TDL career cluster, students can join SkillsUSA Michigan.

Now that we’ve gone over the 17 Michigan career clusters, it’s time to get into the next big thing for CTE in Michigan -- digital curriculum.

How Digital Curriculum Works for Michigan CTE Programs


Is the increased popularity of CTE straining your resources and time?

Are you frustrated with trying to keep up with changes in course standards and industry requirements?

To combat these challenges, hundreds of educators in Michigan have turned to digital curriculum.

A digital curriculum is online software created with your CTE programs in mind. It’s built to empower teachers with ready-to-use resources, classroom management tools, automatic student progress tracking, and more.

Because it’s online, digital curriculum is updated as standards and requirements change. That means you can rest easy knowing your students are learning the most up to date information -- all without you doing any extra work!

Hundreds of CTE teachers in Michigan are already using digital curriculum in their classrooms.

Don’t miss out on taking your program, classroom, and students apart. Learn more about digital curriculum today!

Learn More about Digital Curriculum >