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Graduating High School with CTE Certifications

Graduating High School with CTE Certifications

In today’s job market, jobs that do not require a college degree are on the rise. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook, many of the fastest-growing jobs through 2024 will be in CTE fields. In fact, many high-demand careers require certifications instead. This is great news for high school students who want options other than going straight into post-secondary education. In a high school CTE program, students can work toward a certification in many fields, such as Certified Nursing Assistant or Welder, while they are earning their high school diploma. This gives those students the opportunity to embark on a career right after high school. In many cases, these certifications can give students an advantage over other applicants in the job market.

CTE programs across the country are increasing their offering of programs that can lead to certification. Some of these programs are state-specific. Many of these certifications are nationally recognized or recognized in multiple states, allowing students to find a job in their area or nationwide.

Let’s look at one specific program, the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certification, which is accepted in 23 states through the National Nurse Aid Assessment Program (NNAAP) exam.  CNA programs are in high demand nationwide in high school as well as post-secondary education because of the expected job growth over the next ten years. With an aging baby boomer population, CNA job outlook is expected to grow faster than the average job outlook.

The NNAAP exam consists of two parts:

  • A multiple-choice test consisting of 70 items (which can be taken through written oral examination), and
  • A skills evaluation, in which students are tested on the practical training they have been given.

Both parts of the NNAAP exam cover 3 content domains – physical care skills, psychosocial care skills, and the role of a nurse aide. An acceptable score on the test results in a CNA certification in one of the 23 states that accepts this certification.

Before students can sit for the exam, they must participate in both classroom and practical training hours. Classroom hours are dedicated to learning the concepts and vocabulary used in the practical training hours. Classroom hours are not limited to live instruction. In fact, virtual instruction can be beneficial to students living in rural areas or in areas missing that expertise in their district. Expectations vary by states as to exactly how many classroom and practical training hours are required, but at least 40 hours of practical training are expected. 

The goal of these instructional and practical training hours is to prepare the students not only to pass their NNAAP exam but also to excel as a CNA upon receipt of their certification. Once students receive their certification, they can begin their career as a Certified Nursing Assistant. A CNA certification can also be used as a stepping stone to other careers in the healthcare field, such as Registered Nurses (RNs) or Licensed Practical Nurses(LPNs).

Students who are entering the workforce right after high school graduation can utilize the Certified Nursing Assistant certification, or many other certifications offered in their state and nationwide, to help them begin the career of their choosing upon graduation. And Edmentum’s suite of CTE courses can help students to determine the right career for them and get them started down that pathway to certification! Interested in learning more about Edmentum’s CTE options? Check out our Course Catalog!