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Career and Academic Planning


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Iowa Administrative Code 281—chapter 49 requires school districts to have an Individual Career and Academic Plan (ICAP) for each student in grades 8-12. In 2016, House File 2392 redesigned the career and academic planning process with increased emphasis on Career and Technical Education (CTE) shifting from the traditional career planning assessments and inventories to integrating high-quality, high-value, career-related experiences designed to increase student engagement and align students’ interests with local, regional and state labor market needs.

Years into the redesign, the career and academic planning process continues to seek student, parent, district and external stakeholder engagement to ensure information remains relevant and useful. The holistic nature ensures continuous feedback between internal and external stakeholders and ensures that students exhibit highly marketable employability skills and are prepared to successfully transition into higher education, training programs or directly into the workforce.

School District's Role

District Team

Each district should have an established district team that has developed a written career guidance plan and reviews it annually. Teams typically include, but are not limited to, an administrator, school counselor and teachers, including career and technical education teachers, special education educators, and individuals responsible for coordinating work-based learning activities.

The team ensures the district is using an approved Career Information System (CIS) and helps to determine what ICAP activities will be completed in each grade level to achieve the requirements of Iowa Administrative Code rule 281—49.3.

District Plan

The district plan serves as a roadmap and provides context for high-quality career programming in Grades 8-12. The plan is a dynamic document that describes who is expected to do what, when, and how. Districts are encouraged to work to build and maintain strong relationships with external partners such as business and industry, the Iowa Intermediary Network and postsecondary institutions to increase high-quality career planning exposure to students.

District Plan Template 2021

District Plan Template with Table 2021

District Tool: CIS

The district team is required to select one of the state approved CISs that best meets the needs of students, team members, and the school district. While the CIS is an essential component of the career planning process and has the capability of delivering all components, school districts are encouraged to continue using high-quality CTE curriculum and activities and to collaborate with external organizations that offer high-quality career planning opportunities.

State Approved CISs

The Iowa Department of Education (Department) reviews and approves CISs that support the requirements of IAC 281-49.3 and meet the minimum requirements identified in IAC 281-49.6(3). One of the approved systems will be awarded the “state designation” per IAC 281-49.6(2).

Approved CIS Vendor Approved until:
Career Cruising Xello June 30, 2022
Career Explorer Headed2 June 30, 2022
I Have A Plan Iowa (IHAPI) XAP June 30, 2022
MaiaLearning MaiaLearning June 30, 2022
My Academic Plan (MAP) Iowa State University June 30, 2022
Naviance Hobsons June 30, 2022
Navigator Kuder June 30, 2022
SchooLinks SchooLinks June 30, 2022
Xello Xello June 30, 2022
Approved Supplemental CIS Vendor Approved until:
Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) Department of Defense June 30, 2022

CIS Vendor Application and Review

The Department has adopted an annual application and review cycle for CIS vendors. The application window is open annually from August 1 to October 31. Applications are reviewed from November 1 through January 31. Approved CISs are added to the approval list and available for use in the next academic year.

Career Information System Application


A visual representation of ICAP data reported on a yearly basis by school districts to the Department. ICAP completion is tracked in 8th through 12th grades. Users have the ability to filter, sort or download the data displayed.

Career Resources for ICAP

Professional Organizations


Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on December 02, 2021 at 7:50am.