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What is CTE Education?

Career and Technical Education is a planned program of courses and learning experiences for middle and high school students which explores career options, supports basic academic and life skills, enables achievement of high academic standards and leadership, and prepares them for industry-defined work. CTE education in WA State is offered for grades 7 through 12.
What is Career and Technical Education?
CTE Fact Sheet
Why CTE

What is CTE Teacher Certification?

A Career and Technical Education (CTE) certificate is a classroom teaching certificate that authorizes the holder to teach a specific subject in a career and technical education program middle or high school setting.

There are two routes to CTE certification:

  1. College or university route (Block 1)
  2. Business & Industry Route (Block II) - South Seattle College’s Program

The program at South is based on the requirements in the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 181-77-041. Certification is granted by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). Visit their website for more information on the process.

CTE teacher candidates receiving their initial CTE certification in the Business & Industry Route, will be issued certification in specific subcategory/specialty areas.

Who is eligible for South's Business & Industy Route (Block II) for initial CTE Certification?

CTE teacher candidates must be able to document 3 years (6,000 hours) of occupational experience in the specific CTE subcategory/specialty area for which certification is sought.

  • A minimum of 2,000 hours must be industry occupational hours.
  • The remaining 4,000 hours may be a combination of occupational hours and teaching hours.
  • One year (2,000 hours) must be within the past 6 years.
  • If any of the 2,000 hours is more than 6 years old, 300 hours of the experience must be within the past 2 years.

When requesting certification, CTE teacher candidates will be asked to provide verification of their occupational experience. Verification can be in the form of letters from past employers (indicating length of employment); pay stubs; W2's and volunteer hours which are verified by the agency/entity where volunteer work was done. If using W2s or pay stubs, please submit a summary of job duties that align with the W2s or pay stubs.

For BIOMEDICAL and BIOTECHNOLOGY specialty areas, CTE teacher candidates may qualify using all 6,000 hours of teaching experience in Biology. (Teaching hours are calculated at the rate of 180 hours per class period per year and must be verified by a school district.) For STEM specialty area, CTE teacher candidates may qualify using 6,000 hours of teaching experience in Science, Technology, Engineering and/or Math. (Teaching hours are calculated at the rate of 180 hours per class period per year and must be verified by a school district.) Decisions about acceptable occupational experience and number of hours is handled by Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) not South Seattle College. If a CTE teacher candidate has a question or concern about hours, what specialty areas they qualify for and verification documentation, they should contact the OSPI certification office directly at: 360-725-6400 or use their online email form.

What is required to obtain initial CTE Certification?

In addition to proving eligibility through occupational experience, CTE teacher candidates must take an approved course of study to fulfill the competency requirements for secondary and middle school CTE teaching. The course of study covers competencies outlined by the WAC and OPSI. Courses have defined learning outcomes which are aligned with the core competencies. See Courses tab for more details.

In addition to occupational experience and core competencies, CTE teacher candidates must be competent in basic skills (reading, writing and math).

Is there a sequence to the CTE course of study at South?
  • The Introduction to Career and Technical Teacher Education is STRONGLY recommended as the initial course. It can be taken concurrent with other courses. This course helps students understand CTE program expectations, provide CTE competency assessment, clarify documentation required for the course of study and certification process, and covers general and specific safety related issues to CTE.
  • Practicum/Field Experience is the culminating class and can be taken concurrently with Advanced CTE Strategies.

South has two primary pathways for CTE teacher candidates:

  1. Pathway for Professionals Coming from Business and Industry – designed for those new to teaching who have been working in an industry profession. These students take 10 required classes and Practicum/field experience.
  2. Pathway for Experienced Certificated Professionals – a shorter course of study designed for those who already hold a teaching degree or credential from a college or university and have been teaching full-time in a classroom setting. Experienced Certificated students take 6 required classes and Practicum/ Field Experience.
How will I be graded?
  • Successful completion of each class requires mastery of specific competencies.
  • Upon successful completion, a student will earn authorized clock hours.
  • At the conclusion of the program, all students are observed (Practicum/Field Experience) in a classroom setting to ensure successful demonstration of WA State CTE competencies.
How many classes may I take per quarter?
  • Each class is the equivalent of a two -three-credit college level class.
  • For the online classes, there will be weekly assignments and a concluding project or test.
  • Students are expected to log on to the course website a minimum of two to three times per week. The online classes are not self-paced.
  • A typical student working full-time routinely takes 1-2 classes per quarter.
How long does the program take?
  • For individuals in the Pathway for Professionals Coming from Business and Industry who are working full-time either in an industry profession or teaching on a conditional certificate, the course of study typically takes two years.
  • For individuals in the Pathway for Experienced Certificated Professionals, the program typically takes five quarters, but many chose to take longer due to other demands from their teaching positions.
Do I need to complete the program before I can obtain a CTE teaching position?

No. A school district which is not able to find a qualified teacher with an initial CTE certification, can hire an individual directly from business or industry to fill a teaching position in a middle or high school. If hired for such a position, you would be placed on a conditional CTE certificate and be expected to begin coursework toward initial CTE certification.

What subjects may I teach with an initial CTE Certification through the Business & Industry Route (Block II)?

These are the broad subcategories under Business & Industry certification:

  • Agriculture
  • Health, Human Services
  • Worksite Learning/Career Choices
  • Marketing
  • Business
  • Skills & Technology (includes STEM)

Within each subcategory are specialty areas which are listed with the CIP (Classification of Instructional Programs) code, consisting of the letter “V” followed by a six-digit number. Click here to see list of specialty areas.
Each CTE class offered at the middle and high school level has a “V” specialty code attached to it.

Upon completion of South CTE program, a student will apply to OPSI for certification in the specific “V”-coded specialty areas for which the student can demonstrate 6,000 hours of occupational experience.

What if I have taken classes at another institution? Will they be accepted?
  • If you have taken courses at another WA State approved CTE Business and Industry Route program, you will need to provide a transcript to the CTE Program Administrator for review. Some courses taught at other B&I programs directly match courses in South’s program, and in some cases the course content doesn’t align.
  • If you have taken other secondary teacher education courses at the college level in a teaching certification program, they may be transferable. Please see Fees and Policies page for waiving policy details and required documentation to be provided to South’s CTE Program Administrator.
  • Typically, requests for waivers are reviewed AFTER enrollment in the Introduction to CTE class.
  • The Practicum/Field Experience will be required of all students in South’s program. If currently teaching a CTE subject, it will take place in the student’s middle or high school classroom.