What is Career Technical Education?



Career Technical Education (CTE) is a dynamic educational pathway that merges traditional academic learning with hands-on, practical experience in various career fields. Unlike conventional education, which often focuses solely on theoretical knowledge, CTE equips students with the real-world skills and competencies needed to thrive in specific industries such as healthcare, engineering, and the arts. This approach not only prepares students for immediate entry into the workforce but also lays a solid foundation for further education and career advancement.

For high school students, enrolling in CTE programs provides a unique opportunity to explore different career options and discover their passions early on. By engaging in specialized courses and externships, students can better understand what they enjoy and excel at, which can guide their future educational and career choices. Additionally, CTE includes industry-recognized certifications that can give students a competitive edge in the job market right after graduation.

CTE programs are directly integrated into the community and have strong ties with local businesses and industries, offering students networking opportunities and potential job placements. Ultimately, whether you decide to enter the workforce, pursue a trade or apprenticeship, or apply to college, CTE adds to the traditional high school experience and empowers students to be career-ready, confident, and capable.

Earn High School Credit

Students who successfully complete our courses will earn high school elective credit and many of our courses are A-G approved. 

A-G courses are a series of high school classes that students are required to successfully complete to be eligible for admission to the California State University and University of California systems. Upon completion students have received hands-on and project-based training and are better prepared for college. SoCal ROC proudly offers over 30 A-G approved courses to all students. 

These letters represent different academic areas and are assigned to courses that have been approved as meeting the criteria for students to be able to matriculate into the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) systems as such: (A) History/Social Science, (B) English, (C) Mathematics, (D) Laboratory Science, (E) Languages Other Than English, (F) Visual and Performing Arts, and (G) College Preparatory Electives.

You can check out our A-G approved courses here.

Prepare for College and Career

Career Technical Education is a great resource to help students prepare for higher education and give them a competitive edge over other applicants. Career Technical Education is completely worth the time investment for the reasons listed below:

  • It provides practical experience with potential careers and helps students make a more informed decision about their next steps after graduation. This allows you to make the most of your time in college and invest your time and money in a career just right for you!
  • You will be exposed to industry professionals, terminology, equipment, and environments designed to prepare you for life after high school. You are given an opportunity to apply what you learned in the classroom and build your confidence and knowledge of industry specific skills that you will carry with you for the rest of your career!
  • You will set yourself apart from the crowd during the college admission process by demonstrating mastery of industry skills through CTE certifications, and in many cases official industry certifications! In addition to the certifications, you will gain soft skills and industry exposure that is unique to CTE students.
Open to All High School Students

Yes, SoCal ROC is unique in providing services for all high school students (9th-12th grade) in the surrounding area! Meaning if you would like to explore careers and earn industry certifications while still in high school you are able to!

Free to Students in JPA Partner Districts

If you attend a school in one of the six school districts served by SoCal ROC tuition, materials, and transportation is free! This is able to happen thanks to a joint powers agreement established between SoCal ROC and its six partner districts.

  • El Segundo USD
  • Inglewood USD 
  • Manhattan Beach USD 
  • Palos Verdes Peninsula USD 
  • Redondo Beach USD

  • Torrance USD 

Not a part of our JPA districts? Don’t worry you can still enroll by paying out of pocket or by contacting South Bay Workforce Investment Board (SBWIB) and/or Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) to see if you qualify for financial support

Courses Offered

SoCal ROC offers a variety of courses covering a wide range of industry sectors. SoCal ROC categorizes our courses by schools; 

  • School of Art and Design
  • School of Engineering and Design 
  • School of Health Sciences
  • School of Public and Consumer Services

Each School features many different pathways and course offerings. We offer in-demand courses ranging from Medical Assisting to Video Game Design. To find a course that is right for you click here!

CTE standards: What are the CTE Standards?

The California Career Technical Education Model Curriculum Standards were adopted by the State Board of Education on May 11, 2005, and are now available from the California Department of Education.

The standards, written for grades 7-12, specify learning goals in 58 career pathways organized around 15 industry sectors. The CTE Framework is designed to guide curriculum discussions at the local level resulting in a rigorous and relevant career technical education curriculum that increases student achievement.

The CTE standards and framework will bolster California's standards-based education system by incorporating cutting-edge knowledge about career options, technology, and skills required for success in adult life. This initiative is critical if California is to meet the challenges inherent in its diverse, rapidly changing education, economic, policy, and workforce environment.