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Career Technical Education CTE

  • This is defined in the Michigan Administrative Code. According to R 395.241, Rule 11, a "Department-approved formal CTE program or curriculum" consists of:

    • A coherent sequence of courses so that students gain academic, technical, and work behavior skills.
    • Instruction that includes classroom, laboratory, work-based learning, and leadership opportunities.
    • Instruction that is supervised directed or coordinated by an appropriately certificated CTE teacher.
    • Consists of standards approved by the State Board (R395.243, Rule 13).
    • Must receive approval from MDE/OCTE through an application process (R 395.244, Rule 14).

    According to R 395.243, Rule 13 "Successful Completion" means:

    • Complete coursework covering all-state program standards and/or
    • Take any required technical assessment

    For state and federal funding purposes, a new CTE instructional program must submit an application to operate, which must be approved by the MDE CTE office. The number of courses covering the standards in a CTE program is determined by the district and submitted in its application. The district may design one or two-year programs. Not all high school students in CTE instructional programs can complete the requirements for certificates. Some industry certificates/licensures can only be received once a student turns 18 years old or after they have completed additional post-secondary coursework.


  • The law is explicit in stating that a credit may only be replaced by a "Department-approved formal CTE program," as described above and in the Michigan Administrative Code. By replacing a course with a formal CTE program, the program does not need to embed the content standards from the content area being replaced. On the other hand, students may earn credit in a variety of ways, including integrating academic content into CTE instruction.

  • The following credits may be replaced only with a department-approved formal CTE program as defined in the administrative code for students without a personal curriculum:

    • 1 credit of a world language; and/or
    • 1 Science credit

    Completion of a Department-approved formal CTE program may be used to replace one or both of these credits.

    Through a personal curriculum, students have options for replacing one MMC credit in Social Studies, physical education/health, and/or visual, performing, and applied arts with a department-approved formal CTE program. More information is available on the Personal Curriculum webpage. One Department-approved formal CTE program may be used to replace up to three of these credits.


  • Only the content outlined by the content standards and required by the Michigan Merit Curriculum (MMC) can be modified with a personal curriculum. If MMC content is embedded within the CTE program, it is assumed that it is content integral to success with the skills and knowledge needed for successful completion of the CTE program. Therefore, it is not recommended that students in a CTE program of study use a personal curriculum to modify content.

  • Any course or experience awarding a credit towards the three standards-based math credits must be aligned to the adopted math standards. Students are required to be proficient in ALL the math standards to be granted the 3 MMC math credits. There are no specified "Algebra II benchmarks" on the state high school assessment. The current Department-prescribed state high school assessment is the SAT, administered in the spring of students' junior year, which does not specify the standards assessed by courses.

    Because of the specificity in the legislation regarding the exchange of Algebra II with a formal CTE program, there is no difference between exchanging the Algebra II credit and earning Algebra II credit through the integration of the Mathematics into a CTE program or class. Districts are encouraged to use the Mathematics Credit Guidelines to ensure that students have the opportunity to learn all of the mathematics standards before they graduate, whether they are enrolled in a formal CTE program or not.

  • CTE programs may be used to help students partially or fully earn the necessary credits in a variety of required credit areas. For example, a district may allow a student to receive credit for Mathematics in building trades classes if the district determines that the building trades program covers the required high school content expectations for those subjects. It is also possible for CTE courses to be used to help students in, for instance, an electronics class earn credit for the "one additional Math, or Math-related" credit required in the MMC. The amount of academic credit granted for CTE Programs is a local decision.

    Guidelines for Awarding Academic Credit in CTE, Humanities and Other Delivery Models provide a format for using teacher work teams in each local district to examine the CTE curriculum and determine the amount of academic credit to award based on a crosswalk with the content expectations. Local districts are encouraged to use the guidelines for awarding academic credit in ways other than CTE as well.

  • Yes, any course, including CTE programs, that integrates science may count as a science credit. If the 3rd science credit is exchanged for a formal CTE program or curriculum, then Science content does not need to be integrated. However, districts are responsible for ensuring that students have an opportunity to learn the standards for science as outlined in the Michigan Science Standards since these will be tested on the 11th Grade Science exam.

  • Earning Credit

    380.1278(b) (7) The board or board of directors may provide this curriculum by providing the credits specified in this Section and Section 1278a by using alternative instructional delivery methods such as … Career and Technical Education (CTE).


    Sec 1278a (1)(a)(i) …A pupil may partially or fully fulfill the algebra II requirement by completing a Department-approved formal CTE program or curriculum that has appropriate embedded Mathematics content, such as a program or curriculum in Electronics, Machining, Construction, Welding, Engineering, Computer Science, or Renewable Energy, and in that program or curriculum successfully completing the same content as the Algebra II benchmarks assessed on the Department-prescribed state high school assessment, as determined by the Department.

    World Language

    Sec. 1278a (2) (2)… For pupils who graduate from high school in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, or 2021 ONLY, a pupil may partially or fully fulfill one credit of this requirement by completing a department-approved formal CTE program or curriculum…