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Career Clusters® & Pathways

NOTE: NASDCTEc has recently supported the creation of the Common Career Technical Core (CCTC), a set of common, program-level standards for CTE that are fewer, higher and clearer. The CCTC is built from the foundational components of the Knowledge and Skills Statements along with recent research and input from education and industry experts. The CCTC includes a set of standards for each of the 16 Career Clusters® and their corresponding Career Pathways that define what students should know and be able to do after completing instruction in a program of study.

States are expected to voluntarily work to adopt the CCTC over the course of the next few years. NASDCTEc is working with states during the transition to the CCTC along with providing updates to educators and the general public.

If you are an educator, the 2008 version of the K&S remain a viable resource, but we encourage a review and analysis of the CCTC standards to identify alignment to the existing teaching and learning expectations.

The National Career Clusters® Framework is comprised of 16 Career Clusters® and related Career Pathways to help students explore different career options and better prepare for college and career. The Career Clusters® and related Career Pathways serve as an organizing tool for schools, small learning communities, academies and magnet schools to develop more effective programs of study and curriculum.

Click on any of the 16 Career Clusters® below to access resources for that Career Cluster® and its Career Pathways, including plans of study. The pathways for each Career Cluster® are listed below the Career Cluster®.

  • The production, processing, marketing, distribution, financing, and development of agricultural commodities and resources including food, fiber, wood products, natural resources, horticulture, and other plant and animal products/resources.

    Pathways:

    • Food Products & Processing Systems
    • Plant Systems
    • Animal Systems
    • Power, Structural & Technical Systems
    • Natural Resources Systems
    • Environmental Service Systems
    • Agribusiness Systems
  • Careers in designing, planning, managing, building and maintaining the built environment.

    Pathways:

    • Design/Pre-Construction
    • Construction
    • Maintenance/Operations
  • Designing, producing, exhibiting, performing, writing, and publishing multimedia content including visual and performing arts and design, journalism, and entertainment services.

    Pathways:

    • A/V Technology & Film
    • Printing Technology
    • Visual Arts
    • Performing Arts
    • Journalism & Broadcasting
    • Telecommunications
  • Careers in planning, organizing, directing and evaluating business functions essential to efficient and productive business operations.

    Pathways:

    • General Management
    • Business Information Management
    • Human Resources Management
    • Operations Management
    • Administrative Support
  • Planning, managing and providing education and training services, and related learning support services.

    Pathways:

    • Administration & Administrative Support
    • Professional Support Services
    • Teaching/Training
  • Planning, services for financial and investment planning, banking, insurance, and business financial management.

    Pathways:

    • Securities & Investments
    • Business Finance
    • Accounting
    • Insurance
    • Banking Services
  • Planning and performing government functions at the local, state and federal levels, including governance, national security, foreign service, planning, revenue and taxation, and regulations.

    Pathways:

    • Governance
    • National Security
    • Foreign Service
    • Planning
    • Revenue & Taxation
    • Regulation
    • Public Management & Administration
  • Planning, managing, and providing therapeutic services, diagnostic services, health informatics, support services, and biotechnology research and development.

    Pathways:

    • Therapeutic Services
    • Diagnostic Services
    • Health Informatics
    • Support Services
    • Biotechnology Research & Development
  • Hospitality & Tourism encompasses the management, marketing and operations of restaurants and other food services, lodging, attractions, recreation events and travel related services.

    Pathways:

    • Restaurants & Food/Beverage Services
    • Lodging
    • Travel & Tourism
    • Recreation, Amusements & Attractions
  • Preparing individuals for employment in career pathways that relate to families and human needs such as counseling and mental health services, family and community services, personal care, and consumer services.

    Pathways:

    • Early Childhood Development & Services
    • Counseling & Mental Health Services
    • Family & Community Services
    • Personal Care Services
    • Consumer Services
  • Building linkages in IT occupations for entry level, technical, and professional careers related to the design, development, support and management of hardware, software, multimedia and systems integration services.

    Pathways:

    • Network Systems
    • Information Support & Services
    • Web & Digital Communications
    • Programming & Software Development
  • Planning, managing, and providing legal, public safety, protective services and homeland security, including professional and technical support services.

    Pathways:

    • Correction Services
    • Emergency & Fire Management Services
    • Security & Protective Services
    • Law Enforcement Services
    • Legal Services
  • Planning, managing and performing the processing of materials into intermediate or final products and related professional and technical support activities such as production planning and control, maintenance and manufacturing/process engineering.

    Pathways:

    • Production
    • Manufacturing Production Process Development
    • Maintenance, Installation & Repair
    • Quality Assurance
    • Logistics & Inventory Control
    • Health, Safety & Environmental Assurance
  • Planning, managing, and performing marketing activities to reach organizational objectives.

    Pathways:

    • Marketing Management
    • Professional Sales
    • Merchandising
    • Marketing Communications
    • Marketing Research
  • Planning, managing, and providing scientific research and professional and technical services (e.g., physical science, social science, engineering) including laboratory and testing services, and research and development services.

    Pathways:

    • Engineering & Technology
    • Science & Math
  • Planning, management, and movement of people, materials, and goods by road, pipeline, air, rail and water and related professional and technical support services such as transportation infrastructure planning and management, logistics services, mobile equipment and facility maintenance.

    Pathways:

    • Transportation Operations
    • Logistics Planning & Management Services
    • Warehousing & Distribution Center Operations
    • Facility & Mobile Equipment Maintenance
    • Transportation Systems/Infrastructure Planning, Management & Regulation
    • Health, Safety & Environmental Management
    • Sales & Service