High School Career and Technical Education Programs

PWCS Career and Technical Education Logo

Career and Technical Education students explore their career interests while gaining valuable knowledge and skills that prepare them for their career and post-secondary studies.

All high schools offer a variety of CTE courses in eight program areas as well as one or more admission-based CTE programs.  Each course includes an opportunity to earn a recognized industry credential. 

CTE Courses

PWCS offers more than 100 high school courses in the eight CTE course areas such as Accounting, Culinary Arts, Cybersecurity, and Engineering,  to name a few. For information on offerings by school please see the the PWCS High School Course Catalog. The eight CTE course areas include:

  • Agricultural Education
  • Business & Information Technology
  • Career Connections
  • Family & Consumer Sciences
  • Health & Medical Sciences
  • Marketing
  • Technology Education
  • Trade & Industrial Education

CTE Programs

CTE programs are available to all rising ninth graders and high school students in three ways. Students may apply to:

  • Attend a CTE program at their base school
  • Transfer to a CTE program at another school
  • Attend a transport CTE program for part of the day and remain at their base school for all other classes and activities 

Transfer Programs

  • Agriculture/Horticulture
  • Automotive Technology
  • Aviation Maintenance Technology
  • Biomedical Science (PLTW)
  • Building Trades
  • Cabinetmaking
  • Cybersecurity
  • Electricity
  • Medical Coding & Billing
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Plumbing
  • Television Production
  • Welding

Transport Programs

  • Cosmetology
  • Culinary Arts
  • Firefighting
  • Practical Nursing

Additional CTE Opportunities

Admissions & Applications

Transfer Program Applications

All students must apply for admission to CTE programs. Students apply for admission to CTE transfer programs through the PWCS Specialty Program application after November first. Most applications are due on February first.

Transport Program Applications

CTE Transport program applications are accessed and processed by the site school. Most applications are due on March 15. Please see the program website for specific information.

Culinary Arts
Practical Nursing


Transfer Programs

Students living within the boundaries of the specialty program school may ride their regular bus to school. Students who reside outside the program school boundaries may utilize the network of express bus stops. Transportation requests must be returned to the school with the specialty program application and again for every year the student is enrolled in the CTE program. Parents have the responsibility to provide transportation to and from express bus stops.

Transport Programs

Students attend all core classes, non-CTE classes, and activities at their base school.  A PWCS bus transports students between their base school and their program school for all CTE program classes daily, returning in time to ride their regular bus home. 

Work-Based Learning

Work-based learning experiences; job shadowing, service learning, mentorship, school-based enterprise, externship, entrepreneurship, internship, clinical experience, apprenticeship, cooperative education

Work-Based Learning (WBL) consists of school-coordinated workplace experiences in partnership with local businesses and organizations based on student career interests and goals. WBL students apply classroom instruction in a real-world business or service-oriented work environment. PWCS and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) recognize eleven WBL experiences:

Job shadowing, service learning, mentorship, externship, school-based enterprise, internship, entrepreneurship, clinical experience, cooperative education, youth registered apprenticeship, and registered apprenticeship.

PWCS Work-Based Learning Brochure (PDF)

All CTE programs include the following elements:

  • Classroom instruction - Students build a foundation of academic and technical competencies, attitudes, and develop a work ethic that supports career success and lifelong learning
  • Career and technical student organizations (CTSOs) - These professional organizations provide experiences that reinforce and strengthen classroom learning and prepare students for individual responsibility, teamwork, and leadership in their chosen career pathways
  • WBL experiences - Opportunities for students to apply and refine knowledge, attitudes, and skills through professionally coordinated and supervised work experience directly related to career goals

Benefits of WBL:

  • Builds on classroom and CTSO experience, easing the classroom to workplace transition
  • Supervised, authentic experiences shape and enhance knowledge, skill, and attitudes
  • Students develop careers beyond their secondary and postsecondary education
  • Students who participate in WBL experiences are often able to continue to work for their placement companies after high school graduation or even after college graduation
  • Employers increasingly seek new hires with WBL experience

Industry Credentials

The Virginia Department of Education developed the Path to Industry Certification: High School Industry Credentialing Program to encourage more students to work toward a selected industry credential or state license while pursuing a high school diploma. More information on industry credentialing in PWCS is available through Certifications and Industry Credentials.

A credential is defined as:

  • State-Issued Professional License, required for entry into a specific occupation as determined by a Virginia state licensing agency (Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Cosmetology);
  • Full Industry Certification, from a recognized industry, trade, or professional association validating essential skills of a particular occupation (A+ CompTIA, Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP);
  • Pathway Industry Certification, which may consist of entry-level exams as a component of a suite of exams in an industry certification program leading toward full certification (Automotive Service Excellence, (ASE), Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS); or
  • Occupational competency assessment, a national standardized assessment of skills/knowledge in a specific career and/or technical area, (NOCTI).