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Best CTE Curriculum: Apex Learning vs iCEV

June 1st, 2023 | 8 min. read

McKenna Garrison

McKenna Garrison

McKenna Garrison joined the iCEV marketing team in 2022 as the Content Marketing Specialist. Originally from a small town on the Gulf of Mexico, Garrison attended Texas Tech University from which she graduated with a B.A. in Public Relations & Strategic Community and an M.A. in Mass Communication & Media Studies. Garrison looks forward to bringing more of a storytelling element to iCEV social media pages. She also hopes to connect other CTE educators from around the country to the incredible curricula and resources iCEV has to offer.

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Finding a single curriculum provider for your Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs can be an overwhelming task. Not only do you have to consider how each provider can meet the needs of your teachers and students, but you must also weigh costs, courses offered and even features. 

As a dedicated provider of CTE curriculum, we’re often asked how iCEV compares to Apex Learning as a single-source solution. 

In this article, you’ll discover key aspects of both curriculum providers, including:

  • What topics each includes
  • The purpose of each provider
  • The instructional format of each
  • The intended audience of each provider
  • How much each curriculum provider costs

After the article, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge necessary to determine which, if either, of these providers is the best option for your school or district. 


What Topics Does Each Include?

Apex Learning's Curriculum Topics

Apex Learning is a digital curriculum company powered by innovative courses that prepare students for success in the classroom. 

For their CTE curriculum, Apex Learning partnered with Pointful Education, a leading publisher of digital career and elective courses.  Together, they strive to enhance your CTE and elective offerings with comprehensive courses that prepare students for industry exams, engage them in career exploration, and teach them about emerging career paths.

Apex Learning includes courses for 10 career pathways:

  • Architecture and Construction
  • Arts, A/V Tech & Communications
  • Business Management & Administration
  • Finance
  • Education & Training
  • Health Science
  • Information Technology
  • STEM
  • Transportation, Distribution & Logistics
  • Project Management

You should note that while Apex Learning does offer various CTE courses, their bread and butter are Programs of Study (POS) rather than a comprehensive solution for all subject areas.

Currently, Apex Learning offers four programs of study, including:

  • General Management
  • Administrative Support
  • Human Resources Management
  • Accounting

Each program of study offers a series of CTE courses that equip students for high‑demand careers. Students are prepared with the foundational content they need to learn and for related certification exams, so they can earn industry-recognized credentials.

Additionally, some of their courses prepare students for eight industry certifications, including:

  • FAA Part 107 Commerical Drone Pilot certification
  • Java SE 8 Programmer certification
  • Child Development Associate certification
  • Entrepreneurship and Small Business certification
  • Adobe Certified Associate certification
  • LEED Green Associate certification
  • OSHA 30-Hour certification
  • Autodesk Certified User in AutoCAD certification

These certifications can prepare students to enter the workforce and feel confident in their validated knowledge and skills.


iCEV's Curriculum Topics

iCEV is a provider of comprehensive CTE curriculum, educational resources, and industry certification testing. 

iCEV offers hundreds of courses covering 11 CTE subject areas, including:

  • Agricultural Science
  • Architecture, Construction & Manufacturing
  • Business, Marketing, Finance, IT & Media
  • Career Exploration
  • Cosmetology & Barbering
  • Family & Consumer Sciences
  • Health Science
  • Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security
  • Middle School Digital Literacy & Career Exploration
  • Science, Technology, Engineering & Math
  • Transportation: Automotive, Diesel & Small Engines

iCEV’s CTE curriculum can also be utilized as prep content for industry certification exams hosted on the iCEV Testing Platform. 

iCEV currently hosts 16 industry certifications, including:

  • AMSA Culinary Meat Selection & Cookery certification
  • AMSA Food Safety & Science certification
  • AMSA Meat Evaluation certification
  • BASF Plant Plant Science certification
  • Benz School of Floral Design Principles of Floral Design certification
  • Center for Financial Responsibility Personal Financial Literacy certification
  • Ducks Unlimited Ecology Conservation & Management certification
  • Elanco Fundamentals of Animals Science certification
  • Elanco Veterinary Medical Applications certification
  • EETC Principles of Small Engine Technology certification
  • Express Employment Professionals Business Office Technology certification
  • Express Employment Professionals Career Preparedness certification
  • Home Builders Association of Alabama Residential Construction Skills certification
  • NCLA Principles of Livestock Selection & Evaluation certification
  • NHJTCA Equine Management & Evaluation certification
  • Southwest Airlines Professional Communications certification

Not only does iCEV’s curriculum prepare students for industry certifications hosted on the iCEV Testing Platform, but they also provide preparation curriculum for industry certifications not hosted on their testing platform. 

iCEV provides prep content for 17 other industry certifications, including:

  • Microsoft Office Specialist: Word Associate certification
  • Microsoft Office Specialist: Word Expert certification
  • Microsoft Office Specialist: Excel Associate certification
  • Microsoft Office Specialist: Excel Expert certification
  • Microsoft Office Specialist: Outlook Associate certification
  • Microsoft Office Specialist: Access Expert certification
  • Accounting Basic by NOCTI certification
  • Accounting Advanced by NOCTI certification
  • Criminal Justice by NOCTI certification
  • Early Childhood Education & Care - Basic by NOCTI certification
  • Early Childhood Education & Care - Advanced by NOCTI certification
  • Hospitality Management - Lodging by NOCTI certification
  • Welding by NOCTI certification
  • General Management by NOCTI certification
  • Fundamentals of Construction by NOCTI certification
  • Diesel Technology by NOCTI certification
  • Michigan Residential Builder 60-Hour Pre-Licensure

This industry certification prep material is included in the curriculum, so when you purchase a resource, your students can use the content to prepare for the aligned industry certification. 


What Is the Instructional Format?

Apex Learning

Apex Learning’s Pointful Education CTE courses are structured in a research-based format utilizing multiple pedagogical concepts such as Understanding by Design, Growth Mindset, and Video and Project-based learning. Through the use of these concepts, the curriculum maintains a consistent and engaging course structure that supports student-centered learning.



iCEV is a comprehensive learning solution designed to provide structure for a course while offering flexibility and support for students and teachers during the learning process. Within each course, you’ll discover lesson plans, projects, vocabulary handouts, task sheets, and digital multimedia lessons to support students as they learn. 

Materials you’ll find within iCEV courses include: 

  • Lesson plans with step-by-step guidance for instructors.
  • Standards-aligned task sheets that challenge students to put their knowledge and skills to the test through hands-on activities.
  • Media-rich video and presentation-based components designed to bring experts into your classroom and learning to life.
  • Lesson-specific vocabulary handouts.
  • Pre- and post-test features that allow you to access students’ knowledge before and after they engage with the content.

The resources provided help your educators ensure that they can create a successful learning environment. 


Who Is the Intended Audience?

Apex Learning

Apex Learning is a great resource for those looking for a comprehensive solution for the four programs of study that they offer

Additionally, Apex Learning offers a student-centered learning experience that includes opportunities to build knowledge. This active learning approach develops critical thinking skills and prepares students for success in the workforce. 

However, if you’re looking for a singular comprehensive curriculum solution, Apex Learning might not be the best fit as their curriculum, outside of the programs of study, are supplemental and does not cover all CTE subject areas.



iCEV’s CTE curriculum could be a good fit for you if you’re looking for single-subscription access to all its comprehensive, standards-aligned CTE courses.

Regardless of whether you’re looking for a curriculum for a single course or an entire high school program, an iCEV subscription gains you access to every course in the subject areas selected. 

The CTE curriculum also features media-rich lessons, industry-aligned prep material, integrated career exploration and class assignments with interactive activities and assessments.

However, if you’re looking for a single-course resource or supplemental materials, iCEV might not meet your needs


How Much Does It Cost?

Apex Learning

Apex Learning does not list their prices. To receive the most accurate information about how much their CTE curriculum would cost for your school, you’ll have to contact their sales team directly.



iCEV has a range of pricing, dependent on the number of subject areas, student licenses and certification vouchers you need. You can also request a quote for more accurate pricing information.


Which CTE Curriculum Provider is Right For Me?

As an educator, finding the best curriculum provider that fits the needs of your teachers and students can be challenging. From comparing course offerings to costs to instructional formats, there are a lot of things to consider. 

If you’re looking for comprehensive programs of study for a few specific subject areas that are also student-centric, Apex Learning could be the best option for you

But, if you’re looking for a single comprehensive curriculum solution for multiple CTE programs at your school, iCEV might be the better fit.

Whatever your choice, you’re well on your way to helping your students find success in the classroom.

If iCEV sounds like the best fit for your students and teachers, get started today with a live demo, where we'll discuss your needs answer all of your questions to determine if iCEV is right for you.

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