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78 Career and Technical Education Facts for 2019

Note: Page last updated 7/31/2019.

Career and technical education (CTE) has become a major pillar of the American education system over the past several years.

Previously called vocational education or vo-tech, CTE provides students with real-world skills that they need to enter the workforce in 16 different industries.

But there’s one big question about CTE that’s hard to answer — does it actually work?

On this page, you’ll see conclusive evidence that CTE is a nationwide phenomenon that does everything from increasing high school graduation rates to boosting the overall US economy. 

Just like our products and website, we’ll keep this page up-to-date at all time with the freshest facts on CTE.

First, it's important for everyone to be on the same page. If this is your first time learning about CTE, check out the video below! 

Video: What Is CTE?


For reference, CTE includes 16 career clusters (also known as “tracks”).


Let’s start with an eagle-eye view of CTE in general before jumping into each career cluster.

General CTE Stats


  1. CTE has 16 career clusters / tracks
  2. 7.4 million secondary students and 4 million post-secondary students are interested in CTE nationwide
  3. Between 2000 and 2014, the number of for-profit CTE institutions increased by about 68.7%
  4. 95% of CTE students graduate high school, which is 10% higher than the national average
  5. 78% of CTE graduates enroll in post-secondary education full-time
  6. Between 2012 and 2022, there will be 50,557,900 job openings for CTE graduates
  7. Of those jobs, 15,627,500 (30.9%) will be new
  8. The United States has 1,200 career and technology centers in 41 states
  9. The Perkins Act is the main source of funding for CTE programs nationwide
  10. Perkins funding can cover up to 100% of CTE materials costs, including digital curriculum
  11. Students enrolling in post-secondary CTE courses are eligible for federal financial aid
  12. 94% of today’s high school students experience some degree of CTE courses
  13. In 2014, 7.5 million high school students earned at least one CTE credit
  14. 91% of high school graduates who earned 2-3 CTE credits enrolled in college
  15. 81% of high school dropouts say real-world skills education would’ve kept them in school
  16. For every $1 of government funding in CTE, taxpayers earn as much as $12.20 in benefits in return
  17. Technical and applied science graduates earn $2,000 to $11,000 more per year than those with a bachelor’s degree
  18. 27% of people with an associate’s degree or less out-earn those with a bachelor’s degree
  19. 1/3 of CTE students are enrolled in programs preparing them for careers in leading industries
  1. In 2014, students earned a total of 3,842,589 CTE credentials in the United States
  2. Earned credentials have increased 62.7% since 2000
  3. In 2014, these states awarded the most CTE credentials
  1. 1/3 of all high school dual enrollment credits come from CTE courses (600,000 total)
  2. 82% of CTE students say they’re “satisfied” with career opportunities
  3. 80% of CTE students say CTE classes helped them “know where they were headed
  4. 70% of CTE students say entering a CTE program of study helped them get better grades
  5. 64.7% of post-secondary CTE students enroll in public two-year institutions
  6. 45% of CTE students say it used real-world examples to help them understand classwork
  7. Between 2011 and 2012, 34% of students seeking certificates had already earned a certificate or degree
  8. 20.4% of post-secondary CTE students enroll in private for-profit institutions
  9. In 48 states, high school graduate rates for CTE students are 3%-22% higher than state averages

Track 1. Health Science


  1. Median annual wage for careers in health care: $28,710
  2. 11 of the 20 fastest-growing jobs are in the health care field
  3. From 2016 to 2026, the five fastest-growing jobs in health science are:
  • Home health aides
  • Personal care aides
  • Physician assistants
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Physical therapist assistants
  1. Health care careers will grow 18% between 2016 and 2026, much faster than the US average
  2. Health care jobs continued to grow during the most recent US recession
  3. From 1990 to 2009, interest in health science increased 222%
  4. From 2002 to 2012, health science certificates and associate’s degrees grew 137%
  5. 36% of all CTE students in 2012 pursued a career in the health science career cluster
  6. Between 2011 and 2012, 42% of all students seeking certificates enrolled in health science
  7. HOSA-Future Health Professionals, the career and technical student organization for health science, has more than 200,000 members

Track 2. Business


  1. Median annual wage for careers in business and finance: $67,710
  2. From 2016 to 2026, there will be more than 773,800 new jobs in business
  3. From 2012 to 2022, the five fastest-growing jobs in business are:
  • Customer service representatives
  • Office clerks
  • Operations managers
  • Secretaries and administrative assistants
  • Stock clerks
  1. From 2003 to 2012, interest in business certificates decreased from 11% to 5% of all students


Track 3. Sales


  1. Median annual wage: $27,020
  2. From 2016 to 2026, the jobs with the best outlook in sales are:
  • Insurance agent sales
  • Sales engineers
  • Real estate brokers / sales agents
  • Financial services sales
  • Wholesale sales representatives

Track 4. Finance


  1. Median annual wage: $66,530
  2. From 2012 to 2022, the five fastest-growing jobs in finance are:
  • Accountants
  • Tellers
  • Bill collectors
  • Insurance agents
  • Financial managers

Track 5. Information Technology


  1. Median annual wage: $84,580
  2. From 2016 to 2026 IT jobs with the best outlook are:
  • Information security analysts
  • Software developers
  • IT research scientists
  • Web developers
  • Computer support specialists

Track 6. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)


  1. Median annual wage: $77,900 (roughly)
  2. From 2016 to 2026, about 194,500 new jobs are projected to be added
  3. From 2012 to 2022, the five fastest-growing jobs in STEM are:
  • Mechanical engineers
  • Industrial engineers
  • Architectural and engineering managers
  • Electrical engineers
  • Environmental scientists

Track 7. Manufacturing


  1. Median annual wage: $33,990
  2. Manufacturing is made up of 7 national career pathways
  3. From 2012 to 2022, the five fastest-growing jobs in manufacturing are:
  • Maintenance and repair workers
  • Team assemblers
  • Industrial machinery mechanics
  • First-line supervisors
  • Inspectors

Track 8. Transportation & Logistics


  1. Median annual wage: $31,600
  2. From 2016 to 2026, employment in transportation and logistics will add 634,400 new jobs

Track 9. Hospitality


  1. Median annual wage: Varies widely
  2. From 2012 to 2022, the five fastest-growing jobs in hospitality are:
  • Food preparation
  • Restaurant servers
  • Janitors
  • Housekeepers
  • Restaurant cooks

Track 10. Government


  1. Average annual wage: $51,340
  2. From 2012 to 2022, the five fastest-growing jobs in government are:
  • Compliance officers
  • Government program interviewers
  • Construction and building inspectors
  • Court and municipal clerks
  • Tax collectors

Track 11. Law


  1. Median annual wage: $49,500
  2. From 2012 to 2022, the five fastest-growing jobs in law are:
  • Security guards
  • Police and sheriff’s patrol officers
  • Lawyers
  • Correctional officers
  • Paralegals

Track 12. Agriculture


  1. Median annual wage: $66,360
  2. Agriculture is the only CTE cluster that is projected to show little change in employment from 2016 to 2026
  3. From 2012 to 2022, the five fastest-growing jobs in agriculture are:
  • Crop, nursery, and greenhouse labor
  • Farmers, ranchers, and agricultural managers
  • Non-farm animal caretakers
  • Refuse and recyclable material collectors
  • Water and wastewater treatment plant operators

Track 13. Human Services


  1. Median annual wage: $31,810
  2. From 2012 to 2022, the five fastest-growing jobs in human services are:
  • Personal care aides
  • Childcare workers
  • Cosmetologists
  • Social and human service assistants
  • Social workers

Track 14. Construction


  1. Median annual wage: $44,730
  2. From 2012 to 2022, the five fastest-growing jobs in construction are:
  • Laborers
  • Landscaping and grounds-keeping
  • Carpenters
  • Electricians
  • Construction trade supervisors

Track 15. Education & Training


  1. Median annual wage: $48,740
  2. From 2012 to 2022, the five fastest-growing jobs in training are:
  • Elementary school instructors
  • Teacher assistants
  • Secondary school instructors
  • Other instructors
  • Middle school instructors

Track 16. Arts, Audio/Visual Technology, and Communications


  1. Median annual wage: Varies widely
  2. From 2012 to 2022, the five fastest-growing jobs in arts, A/V, and communications are:
  • Graphic designers
  • Musicians
  • Telecommunications line installers
  • Telecommunications installers
  • Producers and directors

Challenges for CTE Educators: Keeping Students Engaged

Student interest in CTE is increasing by the day, and education is responding.

With more students, more institutions, and more opportunities on the horizon, it’s never been more important for CTE instructors to bring the future into their classroom.

However, there is also a growing need for teachers to find new ways to keep students engaged and motivated in the classroom. If you're like one of the many CTE teachers struggling to maintain student interest, download your free guide to increasing student engagement in CTE programs:

Get Your eBook: Boost Engagement in Your Classroom