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Career Technical Education

Explore Ohio's Career Technical Education

Career-tech programs emphasize real-world skills and knowledge to prepare students for college and a career. These programs help students gain the technical know-how, rigorous academic foundation, and career experience that’s needed to succeed in today’s world. Students usually begin career-tech programs in the 11th grade, but some programs start as early as 9th grade.

Career-tech programs are organized by career fields and multiple pathways and specializations. They offer a range of career options for students, helping them discover their interests within the educational pathways.

Students enrolled in a career-tech program are required to meet the same academic requirements of all high school students as well as complete additional coursework in their chosen field.

Click here to learn more about Ohio’s College Tech Prep.


School districts are required to provide transportation for students from their assigned high school to the career-tech program, but some of the routes take a long time. Districts can provide transportation by giving students public bus passes too.


Career-tech programs are free, but costs can arise from program fees and career uniform costs. Some career-tech programs offer financial aid and scholarships for these costs. College credit that is earned in high school through College Tech Prep programs is free.


The career-tech program used to be funded through a combination of federal, state and limited local funding until federal funding was eliminated in 2011. Now, the program is funded completely by the state of Ohio. Ohio is one of the few states in the U.S. that worked hard to maintain its level of career-tech programs despite the lack of federal funds.

Per-student funding for the career-tech program is based on a student’s career path and the expense associated with each type of program. The career-tech supplements range from $1,200 - $4,750.

Application Process

While there is not a standardized GPA requirement to be eligible to apply, some career-tech programs require at least a 2.0 GPA or a prerequisite class.

Students generally begin to apply for a career-tech program during the second semester of their sophomore year of high school. The application process starts with a student's high school guidance counselor. Parents should contact the career-tech center in their area to learn about specific deadlines and eligibility requirements. All career-tech centers are available from the Ohio Department of Education by clicking here.

Teacher Requirements

Career-tech teachers need a teaching license that is appropriate for the course they are teaching, but different types of credentials are required based on the specific course. Professionals without a teaching license can often still teach a career-tech program as long as they have five or more years of experience in their field and their work aligns with the course curriculum.

Student Assessment

Students enrolled in a career-tech program are required to take the Ohio Graduation Test.