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Career and Technical Education (CTE) | CTE Career Clusters

What Are the Florida Career Clusters?

May 14th, 2024 | 12 min. read

Brad Hummel

Brad Hummel

Coming from a family of educators, Brad knows both the joys and challenges of teaching well. Through his own teaching background, he’s experienced both firsthand. As a writer for iCEV, Brad’s goal is to help teachers empower their students by listening to educators’ concerns and creating content that answers their most pressing questions about career and technical education.

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In the United States, career and technical education (CTE) is found in every state and most school districts.

And while on the national level there are 16 career clusters that fall under CTE, each state has a different take on those clusters. Some even include an additional career cluster (or two) in order to prepare students for high-demand careers in that state.

Here we’ll dive into CTE Florida, specifically pertaining to the Florida career clusters.

In Florida, CTE is made up of 17 career clusters:

  1. Agriculture, Food, & Natural Resources
  2. Architecture & Construction
  3. Arts, A/V Technology & Communication
  4. Business Management & Administration
  5. Education & Training
  6. Energy
  7. Engineering & Technology Education
  8. Finance
  9. Government & Public Administration
  10. Health Science
  11. Hospitality & Tourism
  12. Human Services
  13. Information Technology
  14. Law, Public Safety & Security
  15. Manufacturing
  16. Marketing, Sales & Service
  17. Transportation, Distribution, & Logistics

On this page we’ll take a look at the details of each career cluster to see how Florida approaches CTE compared to the rest of the country.

First off, let’s take a look at a snapshot of how CTE works in Florida.

Florida Career and Technical Education

CTE in Florida is organized and consistently reviewed to keep up with demands in the workforce. This is seen from the Florida Department of Education (Florida DOE) all the way down to individual school districts, with support from the Florida Association for Career and Technical Education (FACTE) at every turn.

Each career cluster in Florida has dedicated curriculum frameworks that ensure students across the state all learn the same information, no matter which district they are in. These frameworks are frequently reviewed to keep the courses relevant for what students will need when they join the workforce.

Depending on the pathway a student has chosen within the cluster, they have an opportunity to complete a Postsecondary Adult Vocational (PSAV) program in order to obtain a degree or certificate.

Along with the courses and certification programs, students interested in pursuing a career in the field have opportunities to join a career and technical student organization (CTSO) to connect with other students and reinforce their experiences.

Overall, CTE in Florida is focused on preparing students to be exceptional additions to the workforce in many in-demand careers!

Now that you have an idea of how CTE works in Florida, let’s get into the 17 career clusters.

1. Agriculture, Food, & Natural Resources

The Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources (AFNR) cluster prepares students for careers involving plant life, minerals, and more -- and using them to sustain human life.

In Florida, the AFNR cluster includes curriculum frameworks starting in middle school and continuing through secondary programs. In total, there are more than 20 courses that students pursue to start a career in this cluster.

The AFNR cluster has more than 25 different PSAV, degree, and certification programs that students can choose, depending on the courses they take.

At the national level, the CTSO connected with this cluster is the National FFA Organization. In Florida, there is a state-specific version called the Florida FFA Association.

2. Architecture & Construction

The Architecture & Construction cluster prepares students for careers that involve all facets of modern structures, from initial design to post-construction maintenance.

In Florida, the Architecture & Construction cluster includes 17 courses across middle and high school. In addition there are more than 20 programs that students can enter in order to obtain a degree or certificate for a career in one of the pathways.

Unlike the AFNR cluster, the Architecture & Construction doesn’t have a specific CTSO. The most relevant one for students in this cluster is SkillsUSA Florida.

3. Arts, A/V Technology, & Communication

The Arts, A/V Technology, & Communication cluster focuses on a wide range of careers related to film, journalism, performing arts, telecommunication, and visual arts.

There are 25 middle and high school courses in Florida that fit into this cluster. There’s also a surprisingly long list of programs for certification -- more than 60!

As with the Architecture & Construction cluster, there is not a dedicated CTSO for students who choose this cluster, but they can choose to join SkillsUSA Florida.

4. Business Management & Administration

While the Florida Business Management & Administration cluster is very similar to the national one, it includes six pathways as opposed to the standard five. The business pathways in Florida are:

  1. General Management
  2. Business Information Management
  3. Human Resources Management
  4. Operations Management
  5. Accounting (FL only)
  6. Administrative Support

The Florida curriculum frameworks for this cluster include 24 courses across both middle and high school. There are also more than 30 different PSAV and certification programs that students have the opportunity to work towards within the Business Management & Administration cluster.

Unlike the previous examples, the Business Management & Administration cluster has two CTSOs that students can choose to join. Both of them are state-specific versions of national organizations: Florida Business Professionals of America (FL-BPA) and Florida Future Business Leaders of America - Phi Beta Lambda (FBLA-PBL).

5. Education & Training

The Education & Training career cluster prepares students for careers primarily focused on public education, with some related opportunities in training services.

Because this cluster is so specific, there are fewer courses than some of the other ones. In total, there are seven course frameworks for the Education & Training cluster. When it comes to certificate programs, this cluster has about 20 different options, most of which are specific certificates for public education.

There are two state-specific CTSOs for students in this career cluster: Florida Family, Career & Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) and Florida Future Educators of America (FFEA).

6. Energy

The Energy career cluster is unique in that is not one of the 16 national career clusters.

The Florida DOE describes this cluster as preparing students for “careers in planning, managing and providing support and technical services related to the generation, transmission and distribution of various types of energy along with the engineering design, construction, maintenance and repair of these systems.”

The curriculum frameworks for Energy are made up of seven courses across middle and high school. In addition, there are 13 PSAV, degree, and certificate programs for careers related to this cluster.

Similar to some other clusters, there are no specific student organization for the Energy cluster, but students are encouraged to join Florida SkillsUSA.

7. Engineering & Technology Education

The Engineering & Technology cluster is Florida’s version of the national Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics cluster.

In Florida the focus of this cluster is to help students learn about opportunities in many industries related to engineering and technology.

Florida’s cluster includes 22 total courses and programs between middle and high school. There are currently no specific PSAV or certificate programs related to this cluster in Florida.

However, there is a CTSO that students in this cluster can use as a resource: students can participate in Florida Technology Student Association as the designated CTSO for this career cluster.

8. Finance

At the national level, the Finance cluster has five pathways, but in Florida there are only four:

  1. Securities & Investments
  2. Business Finance
  3. Insurance
  4. Banking Services

In addition, the Finance cluster has seven courses in the curriculum framework. If a student chooses to complete a PSAV, degree, or certificate program, there are 13 options to choose.

There aren’t any CTSOs specific to the Finance cluster, however students are encouraged to join Florida Business Professionals of America (BPA), Florida DECA, or the Florida FBLA.

9. Government & Public Administration

The Florida Government & Public Administration cluster closely follows the national cluster and includes all of the standard pathways.

Middle and high school students can choose from six courses in the Government & Public Administration cluster. In addition, students can also choose from one of four certificate and PSAV programs.

In Florida, the CTSO for this cluster is the Florida Public Service Association (FPSA). The Florida DOE also recommends that students in this cluster join Florida SkillsUSA for additional opportunities.

10. Health Science

In Florida, the Health Science career cluster aligns directly with the national career cluster and focuses on providing opportunities for students to study in one of five pathways related to health care.

The curriculum frameworks for health science are robust, with 23 courses to choose from across middle and high school. The list of PSAV, degree, and certificate programs is even more staggering with more than 80 options!

The CTSO for the Health Science career cluster is the  Florida HOSA - Future Health Professions organization and has more than 15,000 members statewide.

11. Hospitality & Tourism

The Hospitality & Tourism cluster prepares students for careers in food services, lodging, travel services, and recreational events.

There are 10 courses for middle and high school in the Hospitality & Tourism curriculum frameworks. For certificate programs, students have over 30 options, with a variety of options for each specific pathway.

The recommended CTSOs for students who choose Hospitality & Tourism are the Florida Family, Career, & Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), Florida Collegiate DECA, and Florida SkillsUSA.

12. Human Services

The Human Services career cluster in Florida differs from the national cluster. Rather than having five pathways, the Florida DOE only lists three:

  1. Counseling and Mental Health Services
  2. Family and Community Services
  3. Consumer Services

The Florida curriculum frameworks have 18 courses available for middle and high school students. In total there are 14 program options to obtain a degree or certificate for a career in the Human Services cluster.

There are no specific CTSOs for Human Services, but the Florida DOE recommends the FCCLA or Florida SkillsUSA for students who are interested.

13. Information Technology

The Information Technology cluster prepares students to work in careers related to creating and managing hardware, software, and digital media.

In Florida, the Information Technology cluster includes 31 middle and high school courses, some of which are solely focused on one specific career in IT. To go along with the abundance of course options, this cluster has over 70 PSAV, degree, and certificate options!

The CTSO specifically for Information Technology is the Florida Technology Student Association (FTSA). However, depending on the path a student chooses within the cluster one of the more business-focused CTSOs could also be relevant.

14. Law, Public Safety, & Security

While the Florida Law, Public Safety, & Security career cluster has a slightly different name than the national one (Law, Public Safety, Corrections, & Security), it fully aligns with the national level.

There are 8 course options for middle and high school students in this cluster. In addition, there are over 30 post-secondary programs that could lead to a degree or certification for a career in this industry.

The most relevant CTSO for Law, Public Safety, & Security is the Florida Public Service Association. Students could also opt to join Florida SkillsUSA, like with many of the other clusters.

15. Manufacturing

The Manufacturing career cluster prepares students for careers related to production, such as processes, maintenance, and logistics.

In Florida, there are 10 courses related to Manufacturing. This pathway also offers many areas of specialization: there are more than 70 different degree and certificate programs that students can pursue!

Even with all of these opportunities, there are no CTSOs specifically dedicated to students in the Manufacturing cluster. However, they can choose to join one of the more general organizations such as Florida SkillsUSA.

16. Marketing, Sales, & Service

Though at the national level this is strictly referred to as the Marketing career cluster, Florida’s Marketing, Sales, & Service cluster directly lines up with the national one.

The Marketing, Sales, & Service cluster has 14 courses across middle and high school. There are also 12 total certificate programs for students to choose from.

There aren’t any CTSOs specific to this cluster, but the Florida DOE recommends that students join Florida DECA or Florida SkillsUSA.

17. Transportation, Distribution, & Logistics

The Transportation, Distribution, & Logistics career cluster prepares students for careers related to moving people, materials, and goods via different methods.

The curriculum frameworks include 17 courses between middle and high school that students can choose. In addition there are more than 60 PSAV, degree, and certificate programs related to transportation, distribution, and logistics.

There are no specific CTSOs relating to transportation, distribution, or logistics. However, the Florida DOE suggests either Florida SkillsUSA or Florida Technology Student Association for students who are interested.

Address Your Most Common Teaching Challenges

No matter which Florida pathway you teach, most CTE teachers like you experience similar challenges day to day in the classroom. After all, between satisfying your course standards, engaging students, and all your other duties, you have a lot on your plate. 

If you need solid strategies to help you solve problems that you face every day, check out this guide to overcoming the most common teaching challenges out there

This guide goes in-depth into issues like student engagement, handling technology in the classroom, and more, while offering strategies to make your class run smoothly and save yourself time in the process:

Overcome Your Teaching Challenges