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Career and Technical Education (CTE) in Iowa includes educational programs offering a sequence of courses that prepare individuals for employment in current or emerging occupations. Programs include competency-based applied learning, which contributes to an individual’s academic knowledge, higher-order reasoning and problem-solving skills, work attitudes, general employability skills, and occupational-specific skills.

At the secondary level, CTE programs are organized within six broad service areas, as defined in Iowa Code section 256.11, subsection 5, paragraph "h." The service areas are:

  • agriculture. food, and natural resources
  • arts, communications, and information systems
  • applied sciences, technology, engineering, and manufacturing, including transportation, distribution, logistics, architecture, and construction
  • health sciences
  • human services
  • business, finance, marketing, and management

Programs within these service areas are further aligned with the National Career Clusters Framework. CTE programs at the postsecondary (community college) level are also organized by the framework.

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Career & Technical Education Quarterly News & Updates

Career & Technical Education Quarterly News & Updates is a quarterly newsletter for administrators and teachers in CTE.

Sign up for Career & Technical Education Quarterly News & Updates. 

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Iowa Quality CTE

Iowa Quality CTE recognizes the high skill and technical requirements of current and future careers and fulfills the following: career and academic planning; programs of study; career and technical student organizations; work-based learning; equity and special populations; and regional planning partnerships and regional centers.

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Industry-Recognized Credentials

Industry-Recognized Credentials (IRCs) are important milestones for many individual career pathways. Both at the secondary and postsecondary levels, students should have the opportunity to earn education- and work-related credentials that verify skill mastery, educational attainment and the ability to perform a task or operation. Credentials are also valuable to employers, allowing them to determine the skill or education level of job applicants without having to perform an assessment for each one.

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Perkins V

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, commonly referred to as Perkins V, was signed into law on July 31, 2018. This federal law reauthorizes the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, which provides almost $1.2 billion in federal support for career and technical education (CTE) programs in all 50 states and U.S. territories, including support for integrated career pathway programs for students. Iowa receives nearly $12 million annually in federal funds, divided between secondary and postsecondary CTE programs delivered through public school districts and community colleges.

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CTE Technical Assistance

CTE Technical Assistance materials help program providers administer CTE programs.

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CTE Contact Information

CTE Contact Information for grant administration and program areas.

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Condition of Secondary CTE Education

The Condition of Secondary CTE Education is an annual report providing information on trends trends in secondary CTE courses and programs, enrollment, student characteristics and instructors based on data collected by the Iowa Department of Education.

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