What are Career Clusters and Career Pathways?
A career cluster is a grouping of occupations and broad industries based on commonalities. Within each career cluster, multiple career pathways represent a common set of skills and knowledge, both academic and technical, necessary to pursue a full range of career opportunities within that pathway. Based on the skill sets taught, all Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses are aligned with one or more career clusters and career pathways. There are 16 Career Clusters in the U.S. Department of Education model. Virginia has adopted the nationally accepted structure of career clusters, career pathways, and sample career specialties or occupations. (from vaenergy17thcluster.org) Virginia will be adding a 17th Career Cluster for Energy soon.
- A Career Cluster is a sequence of courses within your area of interest and was created by the U.S. Department of Education.
- A Career Cluster will connect you with 79 Career Pathways from high school to college and/or career.
- A Career Cluster is your educational road map guiding you to the high school courses and post-secondary options most relevant to your chosen career destination.
- A Career Cluster will help you acquire the depth of knowledge and skill linked with specific post-secondary programs that will lead to a certificate or degree and/or career.
- You decide which Career Cluster is right for you.
- Visit the Advance CTE website or visit the Virginia Department of Education for more information.
What do Career Clusters Do?
- Organize Academic and technical knowledge and skills into a coherent sequence
- Identify pathways from secondary to post-secondary education
- Provide a framework for seamless education
- Provide instruction support for rigorous academic teaching and learning
- Provide alignment of academic and technical skills with workplace readiness skills
- Provide opportunities to involve parents, business and industry, and the school community
- Provide the development of effective plans of study that are based on career assessments
79 Career Pathways from 16 Career Clusters
- Within each career cluster, there are multiple career pathways that represent a common set of skills and knowledge, both academic and technical, necessary to pursue a full range of career opportunities within that pathway – ranging from entry-level to management, including technical and professional career specialties.
- Based on the skill sets taught, all CTE courses are aligned with one or more career clusters and career pathways.
Henrico CTE Clusters: Connecting High School to College and Career
Henrico Career and Technical Education Clusters deliver relevant and rigorous academic and technical experiences in:
- Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources: The Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources cluster is about using your love of science, the environment or animals to prepare for careers that involve improving the quality and safety of food, cultivating and preserving our natural resources, and caring for animals. Agriculture is Virginia’s largest private industry, with an economic impact of $52 billion each year and providing over 300,000 jobs.
- Architecture & Construction: The Architecture and Construction cluster is about using your skills in design, planning and management to work in careers building and maintaining structures such as buildings, homes, bridges, or machinery. Work opportunities include developing new structures, restorations, additions, alterations, and repairs. Construction is the pathway with the highest number of employment opportunities.
- Arts, A/V Technology & Communication: The Arts, A/V Technology and Communications cluster is about flexing your creativity, design, writing, performing, and multimedia skills. Prepare for careers from graphic design to broadcast journalism through a focus on advanced technologies used in venues including corporate boardrooms, hotels and convention centers, classrooms, and museums.
- Business Management & Administration: Business Management and Administration careers use your organizational and leadership skills to prepare for careers where you plan, direct and evaluate operations to run a successful business. There are a variety of career opportunities available including hiring staff, analyzing data and launching your own start-up. This career cluster employs the largest number of workers in Virginia.
- Education & Training: The Education and Training cluster is about using your ability to motivate and your love of people to provide education and training that reaches individuals of all ages and across a range of industries. Careers include teaching in a classroom, leading as a college president and serving in your community as a social worker.
- Finance: The Finance cluster is about using your skills in math and statistics to prepare for well-paying careers in financial and investment planning, banking, insurance, and business financial management. Every part of the economy offers a career in this field, providing endless opportunities to work in a variety of areas.
- Government & Public Administration: The Government and Public Administration cluster is about using your passion for public service to prepare to work in a diverse array of jobs found in local, state and federal government. Virtually every occupation can be found within this field. You may help protect our country, represent our interests abroad, or pass and enforce laws.
- Health Science: The Health Science cluster is about using your love of science to help keep people healthy and treat those who are not. Work directly with people as a doctor or physical therapist or on your own by conducting research on diseases and other important health information. This field allows you to work in diverse environments such as hospitals, medical and dental offices, or labs.
- Hospitality & Tourism: Hospitality & Tourism encompasses the management, marketing and operations of restaurants and other food services, lodging, attractions, recreation events, and travel-related services.
- Human Services: The Human Services cluster uses your skills in communication and problem solving to provide support to families and individuals with services from working in early childhood care to providing mental health services for older adults. This diverse Career Cluster allows you to work in a variety of settings including health care, spas, schools, and community centers.
- Information Technology: The Information Technology cluster uses your love of technology to learn how to design, develop and manage different types of software and hardware programs. Though this field requires a solid foundation in math and science as well as strong technical skills, there are careers in information technology in virtually every part of the economy.
- Law, Public Safety Corrections & Security: The Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security cluster uses your love of people and passion for your community to prepare for careers in law, public safety and security. Responsibilities may include protecting people from harm, crime or natural disasters. Job opportunities range from public safety officers to legal services.
- Manufacturing: The Manufacturing cluster uses your skills in planning and organization along with your love of technology, engineering, and design to work in careers processing materials into products. Careers also include related professional and technical support activities such as production planning, production design, maintenance, and engineering.
- Marketing: The Marketing cluster flexes your creative skills for a career in advertising, public relations, sales, or planning. This Career Cluster will prepare you to work on projects such as promotional campaigns, event planning, and new sales techniques.
- Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics (STEM): The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics cluster uses your abilities in problem-solving and prepares for careers using science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills. People in this Career Cluster conduct in-depth research to provide solutions to a variety of technical problems within many different fields. A postsecondary degree and relevant work experience are necessary to succeed in this field.
- Transportation, Distribution & Logistics: The Transportation, Distribution and Logistics cluster uses your knowledge of mechanics, mathematics, and design to work in careers you plan, manage and move everything from people to company products through a range of transportation services. In this field, you are involved in the logistics of all modes of transportation from road to rail to air to water.
- Energy: (Coming Soon) Click here for more information.
CTE will prepare you for more than a good-paying job. It’s the beginning of a career path. Most jobs today require post-secondary, advanced technical training. CTE meets that need!