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Programs of Study

The programs of study (POS) provide successful student transitions between secondary and postsecondary education. The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins IV) calls upon states to create sequences of academic and career technical education (CTE) coursework to help students attain a postsecondary degree or industry-recognized certificate or credential.

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. 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.

At minimum, POS must:

  • Incorporate and align secondary and postsecondary education elements
  • Include academic and CTE content in a coordinated, non-duplicative progression of courses
  • Offer the opportunity, where appropriate, for secondary students to acquire postsecondary credits
  • Lead to an industry-recognized credential or certificate at the postsecondary level, or an associate or baccalaureate degree
  • Support the tenets of the POS 10 Component Framework

The National Career Clusters ® Framework provides the organizational structure for developing POS. This National Framework incorporates Knowledge and Skills at the essential, career cluster and pathway levels to assist school counselors and guide students in developing personal Plans of Study to achieve student goals. Coursework organized with the National Career Clusters ® Framework results in an efficient, effective, and streamlined POS.

National Framework Supports POS Development and Implementation

The National Career Clusters ® Framework is identified as part of the POS 10 component design framework that supports the development and implementation of effective POS. Although the 10 POS components are important, they are not independent or of equal priority. Program implementers must identify the most pressing components for state or local adoption, taking into consideration their relative need within the educational context. Learn more about these design components—and what state and local program developers should do to fulfill their requirements—via the resources below.

The POS design framework utilizes the 15 critical components of implementing Career Clusters® as a part of the development work. Specific information about the implementation resources are available below.

For more resources to assist with Career Clusters® implementation, click here.

The 10 POS Components:

  1. Legislation and Policies
  2. Partnerships
  3. Professional Development
  4. Accountability and Evaluation Systems
  5. College and Career Readiness Standards
  6. Course Sequences
  7. Credit Transfer Agreements
  8. Guidance Counseling and Academic Advisement
  9. Teaching and Learning Strategies
  10. Technical Skills Assessments

POS Operational Definition

A program of study (POS) is a comprehensive, structured approach for delivering academic and career and technical education to prepare students for postsecondary education and career success. U.S. Department of Education