CTE Education - Ellipsis Education

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CTE Education

Explore one of the many computer science education jobs with your students by downloading a free STEM career lesson from Ellipsis Education computer science curriculum. In this lesson for grades 9-12, explore a career as a Augmented Reality Engineer!

Ellipsis Education Computer Science Curriculum

Ellipsis Education computer science curriculum is grade-level differentiated, aligns with all state and national computer science standards, and is continually updated to reflect changes in computer science. Since computer science is more than just coding, Ellipsis Education courses include coding, unplugged, digital citizenship, and STEM career lessons as well as hardware integrations.

Free STEM Career Lesson


In this lesson, students will learn about the role of an augmented reality (AR) engineer. After examining the history of AR and how it differs from virtual reality, students will consider how this technology could evolve in the future. This STEM Career lesson is built for grades 9-12.

The lesson plan PDF includes links to the appropriate materials and resources, a detailed procedure, activity tips, and a bonus challenge activity.

Career and Technical Education Facts

Career and Technical Education (CTE) is a program that gives students the opportunity to learn the skills and knowledge of a particular career field, all while attending traditional K-12 school. Learning through CTE helps students get a jump start into postsecondary education or the workforce. According to the Advance CTE website, which is the national career technical education center on the web, the vision of CTE is “to put forth a cohesive, flexible, and responsive career preparation ecosystem that will close equity gaps in educational outcomes and workforce readiness, and leverage CTE as a catalyst for ensuring each learner can reach success in the career of their choice.”

The history of career and technical education actually roots back to the 1862 Morrill Act, which emphasized postsecondary education of agriculture and mechanical arts. From there, the century that followed consisted of a large expansion of policies and funding for postsecondary education, leading us to what CTE is today. With a focus on postsecondary education and the workforce, education through career technical education high school equips students with the skills they need for career success.

When is career and technical education month? Each February, CTE programs, schools, and departments of education across the country celebrate the values and achievements of CTE education. These celebrations raise awareness of preparing students for success after high school graduation. To help you celebrate CTE in your classroom, check out our free STEM career lessons:

  • Grades K-2: Firefighter – Students will participate in an activity where they observe different technologies used by firefighters and reflect on how these technologies have enhanced the role of a firefighter as well as the lives of others.

  • Grades 3-5: Aviation – Students will be introduced to the daily routines, skills, and responsibilities of airline pilots and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operators. Students will compare and contrast the two careers by completing a venn diagram.

  • Grades 6-8: Digital Security Analyst – Students learn about Digital Security Analysts and how to protect yourself online by leaving a good digital footprint.

  • Grades 6-8: 3D Printing Industry – students will be introduced to 3D printing technology and two roles in the realm of 3D printing. Students will discuss the responsibilities of a CAD designer and a 3D printing technician. Then, students will explore skills and traits that successful professionals in both positions possess. Finally, students will design and evaluate a product to be 3D printed with customer specifications in mind.

  • Grades 9-12: Computational Linguist – students will be exposed to the role of a computational linguist. Students will examine the responsibilities associated with the job and the skills needed to excel in computational linguistics. Students will also discuss some factors that make processing human language difficult for computers.

Read on to learn more about CTE standards, pathways, certifications, and more.

CTE Standards

The CTE (Career and Technical Education) Learning Standards are designed to prepare students of all ages for the world of work. While the standards span from K-12, most career technical education classes begin in high school. CTE programs are typically organized into career clusters that include a wide variety of professions, from agriculture to health science to IT. Each cluster-specific program includes occupation, industry, and career specific knowledge, alongside opportunities for further career exploration. Specific standards and pathways for each career cluster can be found on the Advance CTE website. To introduce students to various STEM careers, consider listening to our My STEM Career podcast. For example, In this My STEM Career interview, learn about an Entertainment and Technology Manager who oversees the costume database for Disney Parks.

Not unlike most computer science standards, career and technical education high school standards are implemented at a state level. Each program is guided by the Common Career Technical Core (CCTC), which was developed by 42 states, DC, and Palau. CCTC standards are benchmarks that are meant to be compared to other standards bodies, like Common Core, NGSS, and CSTA. This gives a CTE teacher a comprehensive view of a students’ education in CTE classes and beyond.

When creating your institution’s CTE plan(s) of study, the first steps are to crosswalk the Cluster and Pathway Knowledge and Skills to the content of your existing secondary and postsecondary programs/courses. Ellipsis Education can provide these crosswalks to our K-12 courses in support of your development of CTE programs of study. Sample crosswalks to the STEM Career Cluster – Knowledge and Skill Statements have been created for each Ellipsis Education course. Schedule an Ellipsis Education demo with our accounts team to learn more about specific career clusters and courses.

Career Technical Education Pathways

There are 16 career clusters in the CTE framework, and each one has a variety of pathways that students can choose from. In total, there are 79 different pathways! View them all on the Career Cluster Pathway PDF. Let’s take a look at some CTE pathway examples. Maybe a student chooses the Information Technology career cluster. From here, this student has 4 different pathways to choose from: Information Support & Services, Network Systems, Programming & Software Development, or Web & Digital Communications. Students can take CTE courses from multiple pathways in their cluster to give them a better idea of the industry and exposure to other careers they may not have considered. As they continue to take technical education courses, they may choose a CTE education pathway and begin to complete CTE pathway requirements. These requirements will vary depending on state, cluster, and pathway. Once all requirements are fulfilled, they will have achieved the title of CTE completer! What is a CTE pathway completer? CTE completers are students who finish a certain amount of courses in a pathway and oftentimes (depending on their state) pass their state’s corresponding exam.

Ellipsis Education is a computer science curriculum, so you may think that Information Technology or the Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics career clusters might be the only relevant areas of study. However, in today’s society, computer science is used throughout every industry. Of course, you would expect someone like a software engineer to use computer science frequently.  But did you know that even someone like a patent lawyer or a doctor uses computer science at work, too? Society is evolving and becoming more dependent on computers and technology, resulting in a growing need for people with CS skills. Out of 7.7 million people who say they use computers in complex ways at their jobs, 3.9 million have jobs in STEM fields and 3.8 million have jobs in non-STEM fields.  So when you ask yourself, “What is computer education?”, remember that it’s not just coding and programming – it’s skills that are essential for the world we live in today and throughout any of the CTE career clusters.

CTE Certification

If you are a teacher wondering how to get CTE certification, you should look at your state’s requirements. Depending on your state, there could be a variety of factors involved with getting a Career and Technical Education certification including education, work experience, industry-recognized licenses, assessments, and/or CTE training. Some states even have different requirements depending on the career cluster. You also may be wondering, how long does it take to get a CTE credential? Again, this depends on your state’s requirements for certification. For example, in Michigan, K-12 CTE educators must have at least 2 years of relevant work experience in the occupational area of the CTE cluster. Then, educators must hold a teaching license with a CTE endorsement or have an annual career authorization that meets several requirements.

To find your specific state requirements, visit your department of education website. You will be abe to find guidelines, resources, and CTE certification programs that will get you on your way to teaching CTE courses. In addition, visit our United States K-12 Computer Science Standards page to explore your state’s standards.

One resource that may help you get started with your Career Technical Education certification is CTElearn.org. Created by CTE educators for CTE educators, this site offers professional development opportunities. These PDs include courses teachers can take to make it accessible to attain a CTE certification online. These courses are offered online and are a credit toward continuing education. The site also highlights free resources including free PD lessons, workplace tutorials, and an online community of fellow CTE educators. Finally, the site promotes state partnerships to help educators across the country get CTE certified.

Importance of Career Technical Education

It is important for students to draw connections between their classroom experiences and the world around them. In preparing students to be college and career ready, CTE teachers build connections to the world of work and help students develop employability and life skills. Through coursework, students learn a variety of career technical education professional skills that will give them a jumpstart into their careers after graduation. This shows that the benefits of career and technical education in high school go beyond the classroom. The benefits reach our society with more experienced and skillful graduates entering the workforce.

At Ellipsis Education, we know that computer science is more than just coding, and that preparing students for postsecondary success means supporting their ability to confidently navigate a technology-driven society. To that end, Ellipsis Education Courses are guided by the Common Career Technical Core (CCTC) and designed to holistically support meaningful computer science learning across the Core Pillars of Ellipsis Education curriculum: coding, unplugged (activities that reinforce computer science concepts without using a device), digital citizenship, STEM careers, and hardware integration.

STEM Career lessons are a portion of Ellipsis Education curriculum that help teachers align with CTE pathways. These STEM Career explorations encourage students to understand and consider possible careers that involve computer science, and the variety of ways STEM knowledge can help them in any career they choose. Computer science skills are foundational to any career path, from baker to farmer to doctor to web designer. Ellipsis Education STEM Career exploration lessons and activities show students how the skills they have learned can be applied to their future beyond school.

Each of our courses crosswalk with the CTE Cluster and Pathway Knowledge and Skills of your choice. Ellipsis Education can provide these crosswalks throughout our K-12 pathway in support of your development of CTE programs of study. To learn more about Ellipsis Education, start a free trial or schedule a 30 minute call with one of our curriculum experts.

Download a Free STEM Career Lesson


In this lesson, students will learn about the role of an augmented reality (AR) engineer. After examining the history of AR and how it differs from virtual reality, students will consider how this technology could evolve in the future. This STEM Career lesson is built for grades 9-12.

The lesson plan PDF includes links to the appropriate materials and resources, a detailed procedure, activity tips, and a bonus challenge activity.

Removing barriers to teaching computer science.