You are here

Home » FAQs » Career and Technical Education (CTE)

Career and Technical Education (CTE)

RCW 28A.230.090 authorizes SBE to establish some of the state's graduation requirements. SBE has established subject area and credit requirements (WAC 180-51-068 and WAC 180-51-210), a high school and beyond plan, and adopted rules for graduation pathway options. Career and technical education is one of the state credit requirements.

RCW 28A.655.250 provided SBE the authority to establish rules to implement the graduation pathway options. (SBE also sets the scores for graduation pathway options that require an assessment score.) See more about the Career and Technical Education Sequence pathway on SBE’s graduation pathways option page or the pathways FAQ page.

The Career and Technical Education graduation requirement should be met through Career and Technical Education courses whenever possible. Occasionally, a district may not be able to offer enough opportunities for students to take Career and Technical Education courses for students to meet the requirement, in which case students may meet the requirement through an occupational education course. 

WAC 180-51-068 and WAC 180-51-210 specify: "Occupational education" means credits resulting from a series of learning experiences designed to assist the student to acquire and demonstrate competency of skills under student learning goal four and which skills are required for success in current and emerging occupations. At a minimum, these competencies shall align with the definition of an exploratory course as contained in the career and technical education (CTE) program standards of the office of the superintendent of public instruction.

The state high school graduation requirement in CTE is (1) credit.

No. A non-CTE course, taught by a non-CTE certified teacher can meet the occupational education graduation requirement as long as it delivers the four outcomes of an exploratory CTE course. Students who enroll in exploratory courses must:

  1. Demonstrate the application of essential academic learning requirements in the context of preparing for living, learning and work.
  2. Demonstrate occupational specific skills.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of career options within a chosen pathway.
  4. Demonstrate employability and leadership skills.

No. A non-CTE course, taught by a non-CTE certified teacher can meet the occupational education graduation requirement as long as it delivers the four outcomes of an exploratory CTE course. 

No. The career and technical requirement cannot be waived or met by earning a credit in another subject area.

The "two-for-one" policy was established for students in the graduating class of 2016 and beyond. Students who take CTE-equivalent courses may satisfy two graduation requirements while earning one credit for a single course; hence, "two-for-one". The purpose of this policy is to create flexibility for students to choose more elective courses or to address other graduation requirements.

A CTE-equivalent course must address the learning standards for both an academic core subject area and a CTE course. Generally, the core subject area course is entered on the student’s transcript, and the record that the student took a CTE course should be documented in the student’s High School and Beyond Plan.

The total number of credits the student needs to graduate will not change.

Districts will continue to use a locally-developed process to enable the record-keeping needed to assure that all requirements have been met. Currently, the standardized transcript does not track how a student meets their graduation requirements.

Page last updated: December 2020

CTE (Career and Technical Education courses)-equivalent courses are CTE courses that meet math graduation requirements, and have content that aligns not only with CTE standards but also math standards. Each local district determines CTE-equivalent courses, and are required to do so by law (RCW 28A.230.097). A sample of CTE credit equivalency policy and procedure is available on our website. An Equivalency Toolkit can be found on OSPI's website.

E2SSB 6552 passed in 2014, directs OSPI to develop curriculum frameworks for a list of CTE courses with content equivalent to science or math courses that meet high school graduation requirements. The list of math-equivalent CTE courses and frameworks are posted on OSPI’s Career and Technical Education web pages. The bill, codified in RCW 28A.230.010, requires that boards of directors must provide high school students with the opportunity to access at least one CTE course that is considered equivalent to a mathematics course or at least one CTE that is considered equivalent to a science course as determined by OSPI and approved by the SBE. Students may access such courses at high schools, inter-district cooperatives, skill centers or branch or satellite skill centers, or through online learning or applicable running start vocational courses.

School boards of districts with fewer than two thousand students may apply to OSPI for a waiver from the requirements of RCW 28A.230.010.

Students who earn a math graduation requirement credit through a CTE course locally determined to be equivalent to a math course will not be required to earn a second credit in the CTE course subject; the single CTE course meets two graduation requirements (WAC 180-51-210 (4)(g)(iii)). 

Page last updated: June 2024