Bright ideas for tech-savvy educators, right to your inbox

Introductory CTE Courses to Pique Middle Schoolers’ Interests

Thursday, May 1, 2014 -- Vanessa Berentson

In many instances, middle school can be a very stressful time for students. The National Center for Education Statistics reported noticeably more bullying in middle school grades than in senior high. Pair this with more difficult school subjects and varying home scenarios, and middle school turns out to be a time when students can become withdrawn from education. If students are finding that the core subjects aren’t their strong suit or are becoming withdrawn for other reasons, they can start to explore what opportunities are available for them beyond school through Career Technical Education (CTE).

By having introductory CTE classes in middle school, students can learn about career paths and start to envision long-term goals for themselves without the pressure of making a firm decision like they might need to do in high school. CTE middle school courses should introduce basic concepts of career paths in middle school so that students can continue to learn more about the opportunities available to them. It also provides a nice bridge from the “what do I want to be when I grow up” conversations that happen in elementary school to applying to colleges or discussing majors in high school.

It’s important to get students exploring career paths at this age; however, schools must be careful not to sign up students on specific CTE tracks too early on. Making sure that the courses you offer are introductory is a key factor in bringing CTE to middle schools. Edmentum offers a variety of introductory CTE courses that would be great for middle school students. Here are a few of the options:

  • Introduction to Accounting: The Bureau of Labor Statistics identifies accounting as one of the best careers for job growth in the next decade. This course empowers students with the essential skills they need to understand accounting basics. Lessons include Account Types (assets, liabilities, expenses, etc.), The Accounting Cycle, and Balance Sheet Elements.
  • Web Design: This semester-long course takes students inside the essentials of Web design and helps them discover what makes a site truly engaging and interactive. The course covers the basics of HTML, CSS, and how to organize content, and it helps to prepare them for a career in Web design.
  • Principles of Engineering and Technology: This easy-to-manage course provides students with essential STEM knowledge and an effective overview of STEM careers. Topics covered include biotechnology, mechanics, and fluid and thermal systems.

Are you teaching CTE in middle school?  What have you found that does or doesn’t work? You can find more information on Edmentum’s CTE offerings on our website.