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Programs of Study


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Programs of Study (POS) are comprehensive, structured approaches for delivering academic and career and technical education to prepare students for postsecondary education and career success. POS provide high-quality, integrated CTE programming comprised of secondary exploratory and transitory coursework to prepare students for higher-level, specialized academic and technical training.

According to the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V) the term “program of study” means a coordinated, nonduplicative sequence of academic and technical content at the secondary and postsecondary level that:

  1. incorporates challenging State and academic standards, including those adopted by a State under section 1111(b)(1) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965;
  2. addresses both academic and technical knowledge and skills, including employability skills;
  3. is aligned with the needs of industries in the economy of the State, region Tribal community, or local area;
  4. progresses in specificity (beginning with all aspects of an industry or career cluster and leading to more occupation-specific instruction);
  5. has multiple entry and exit points that incorporate credentialing; and
  6. culminate in the attainment of a recognized postsecondary credential.

General Programs of Study Information

Secondary CTE Program Requirements are established to ensure programs of study are high quality and in compliance with Iowa Code and Perkins V.

Secondary CTE Program Operating Requirements

New Program Notification

Districts that want to start a new CTE program should contact the Bureau of Career and Technical Education by completing the New Program Notification Form. This form will be used to help guide secondary school districts with the launch of new CTE programs. After completing this form the primary contact will receive an email containing resources that will help get your program off to a great start. 

You will also be contacted by a Department service area consultant for help in answering any remaining questions you may have. 

New Program Notification Form

Approved Secondary CTE CIP Codes

The Bureau for Career and Technical Education has selected a subset of CIP codes that are appropriate for secondary-level career and technical education programs. The following specific CIP codes should be used for Iowa CTE approved programs. These CIP codes are to be used when reporting into the Secondary CTE Reporting Application (SCTERA). These codes are taken from the National Center for Educational Statistics Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) manual.

Iowa Approved CTE CIP Codes

Plan of Study Drawing Board

The Plan of Study Drawing Board is a tool that maps courses in secondary CTE programs from 9th grade to post-secondary education. Other important information about a program may also be included such as work based learning and career and technical student organization opportunities. The Drawing Board provides information about a CTE program and serves as a useful advising tool to help students map their academic path toward a career goal.

Plan of Study Drawing Board Template

Plan of Study Drawing Board Instructions for Student Advising

Shared programs are often the solution for meeting program resource needs and for giving students opportunities to earn credit for community college CTE courses.

Memo on the Decision Tree Regarding Shared CTE Programs

Articulation Agreements

Teachers and administrators from both secondary and postsecondary instructional levels shall (when applicable) meet to identify competencies required at each level, and to jointly prepare agreements of articulation between secondary and postsecondary levels for specific occupational areas. Such joint articulation efforts will facilitate the secondary-postsecondary transition and help reduce duplication between the two levels. Articulation agreements shall be signed with at least one postsecondary institution per program offered at the high school level (as appropriate), i.e., community colleges, apprenticeship programs, or private postsecondary institutions. 281 IAC 46.7(3)

CTE Articulation Agreement Guidelines

CTE Program Articulation Approval Signature Form

Advisory councils provide meaningful feedback to educators on the design, implementation, evaluation, maintenance, and revision of program curriculum and training equipment.

Advisory Council Guide

Program Approval

Secondary Career and Technical Education Program Self-Study Template

Memo on the Decision Tree Regarding Shared CTE Programs

Self-Study Best Practices

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