Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs provide academic and technical instruction in the content areas of agriculture, business and marketing education, family and consumer sciences, health sciences education, trade and technical education, and technology education. CTE programs approved by the New York State Education Department (NYSED) enable students to earn at least 3.5 credits (7.0 credits in NYC) in focused and rigorous courses that form a cohesive concentration.

As of 2015, students in NYSED-approved programs have had the opportunity to take advantage of a CTE graduation pathway. To use the CTE 4 + 1 graduation pathway option, students must successfully complete an approved program (including a three-part technical skills assessment).

Approved programs lead to an industry-recognized credential, certificate or an associate or baccalaureate degree and offer:

  • An opportunity to apply academic concepts to real-world situations.
  • Preparation for industry-based assessments or certifications.
  • The opportunity to earn college credit or advanced standing while still in high school.
  • Work-based learning opportunities where students demonstrate mastery of skills essential in the workplace.

CTETAC resources can be used along with the Implementation Guide to CTE Program Approval and all the Program Approval information on NYSED’s CTE webpage. Each section on the NYSED program approval webpage is clear and concise and contains a brief video. These videos make the components more understandable through the narration and inclusion of graphics and examples. Templates are also included for some of the components. These are not official or required documents but rather guides to assist you.

Steps to CTE Program Approval

The CTE Program Approval Process requires four steps in preparation for applying to the NYSED Office of CTE. A CTE program is eligible for state approval provided the school district/BOCES has met all program approval guidelines:

1.     Conducting the CTE self-study, which includes collecting and reviewing evidence of each component of the program and making recommendations and improvements.

2.     Conducting the external review, which involves sharing the self-study with external stakeholders to elicit further recommendations.

3.     Completing the application for program approval and obtaining the superintendent’s and Board of Education president’s signatures. For re-approval, only the superintendent’s signature is required.

4.     Submitting the application and supporting documents to the NYSED for review.

Components of a NYSED CTE Approved Program

The required components of NYSED Approved CTE Programs include:

  • A meaningful learning strand of CTE courses
  • Connections to academic content
  • An employability profile
  • Work-based learning opportunities
  • At least one post-secondary agreement, which could be an articulation and/or dual credit agreement
  • A 3-part technical assessment comprised of written and performance parts secured from a nationally recognized industry-based vendor and a locally developed project
  • Appropriately certified CTE teachers
  • A system for collecting, reporting, and using data to improve the program.


How long is the process to secure NYSED approval for a CTE program?

 The entire approval/re-approval process typically takes six to twelve months but may take up to two years. This depends on many factors, such as how many components are already in place. Also, it is essential to be aware of the NYSED strict deadline dates for submitting applications.


Resources – General

  • During the entire process, it is important that your team regularly visits the Program Approval webpage on the NYSED site. Current submission deadlines are listed for schools/BOCES seeking approval or re-approval of their CTE programs. In addition, the list of currently approved CTE programs and contact information is updated regularly.
  • NYSED’s program approval page also has a link to each of the six CTE content areas. Look at your CTE content area to see if there is any program approval guidance, documents, and/or suggestions specific to it.
  • Throughout this CTE Technical Assistance Center (CTE TAC) program approval webpage, there are NYSED links to each required component of the program approval process. You will also find additional resources including professional development opportunities and sample documents from approved programs across New York State. As with the NYSED sample documents, they serve as examples, not as official or required documents. Your program should prepare its own documentation based on local practices, resources, culture, and support.
  • Both the NYSED CTE Team and the CTE TAC staff are available to answer questions in support of the application process. Contact the or the CTE TAC Field Team Associate in your region to help you through the program approval process.