Career and Technical Education

CTE News

  • CCS has just launched our official Facebook and Instagram pages! Follow us to keep up with the work we do every day!
  • Denver Public Schools Computer Science Education Week and Hour of Code will be held from Dec. 4-8. Join teachers and leaders from across the district as we celebrate Computer Science and bring CS to every k-12 school in DPS! You can sign up for support and participation rewards or check out our resource guide for ideas on how to bring Computer Science into your classroom!

DPS Career and Technical Education gives students early exposure to thousands of career options as they learn more about their own passions and interests.

We take those interests and nurture them. With access to hundreds of exploration opportunities, students visit work sites in a field they want to know more about and talk to professionals. Students take the skills learned in the classroom and apply them on the job through shadowing, internships and apprenticeship opportunities. Our goal is to help students identify their passions, explore what they love doing and make a career out of it through intentional planning. Career and Technical Education is a transformative approach to preparing students to be successful in college and their future career, and it’s another way DPS is redesigning the high school experience.

This is learning made real, and your bright future starts here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Career and Technical Education?

CTE is: Career and technical education (CTE) provides students with the academic and technical skills, knowledge and training necessary to succeed in future careers and develop skills they will use throughout their careers. CTE prepares students for the world of work by introducing them to workplace competencies, and makes academic content accessible to students by providing it in a hands-on context. CTE is a great way for students to explore a variety of career options early and earn industry certifications prior to graduation.

Why should I take Career and Technical Education classes?

CTE students have a significantly higher high school graduation rate (90%) than the national average (75%), and their earned college credits help families save thousands of dollars towards a college degree.

CTE classes prepare students for life after school by introducing them to real-world skills and workplace competencies. They are a great way for students to explore a variety of career options early and earn industry certifications prior to graduation.

How do I sign up for Career and Technical Education classes?

Talk to your school counselor to learn more about CTE programs that may be available at your school. You can also search for programs by school on the DPS website.

What other opportunities do I have with Career and Technical Education??

Here are some other options with CTE:

  • Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) enhance student learning through contextual instruction, leadership, personal development, applied learning, and real‐world application. CTSOs are intracurricular and work as an integral component of the classroom curriculum and instruction, building upon employability and career skills and concepts through the application and engagement of students in hands‐ on demonstrations and real‐life and/or work experiences through a CTE program.
  • Through Work-Based Learning, students can participate in summer programs such as youth apprenticeships and launch internships that will allow them to gain work experiences from different industries and areas of interest, and help them develop skills to be successful in their futures.
  • Students will also be able to participate in concurrent enrollment classes during the summer, which allows students to earn free college credit while still in high school, giving them a head start on their college and career goals. Students gain exposure to the academic challenges of college while in their supportive high school environment or on a college campus, earning college and high school credits simultaneously.

If you have any additional questions, you can contact the CTE team at:

Is Career and Technical Education available in middle school?

Yes! DPS has several middle schools with thriving CTE programs and plans to expand throughout the district in the coming years. Explore our Middle School CTE programs and schools!

School Based Programs - Search by School

With a focus on Colorado’s most in-demand industries, DPS offers hundreds of career-related courses at many levels — from introductory all the way to college-level classes. Through engaging, hands-on projects, students learn critical thinking skills and are empowered to generate solutions. Projects encompass real work — from building a graphic design portfolio to dusting objects for fingerprints in forensic science labs.

Students work with their counselor, teachers and parents to take these early sparks of interest and develop them into an Individual Career and Academic Plan (ICAP).

Search by School »
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Explore Pathway Programs

Students take the skills and insights learned in school, and step outside of the classroom to “try on” different careers. DPS offers many on-the-job training opportunities at various levels of depth, with job shadowing, internships and apprenticeships. Some of these opportunities are even paid!

This culture of learning gives students an idea of what employers will expect of them, and what it takes to be successful in college and their career. Students not only expand their professional networks, but can even earn money while learning through paid opportunities.

Explore by Program »

Career Clusters

Change your mind about a career field? That’s what this is all about. We hear that all the time, and that’s a good thing — it’s what we call progress. Isn’t it better to explore all kinds of careers while in high school — for free — to figure out what you really might like instead of waiting until you’ve paid for tuition in college? Try something on, and if it doesn’t fit, change your mind, again and again.

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CTE and Your School Journey

The Denver Public School Career Readiness Capstone (Career Capstone) is a competency-based graduation option for students to demonstrate career readiness. Students who complete the Career Readiness Capstone are equipped with the knowledge, experience, and credentials to access in-demand, livable-wage careers. The Career Capstone is designed to be accessible to all students enrolled in district-approved CTE pathways. 

DPS requires all students to graduate having a plan for after high school that is meaningful to them. Students will work with their counselors, teachers and families to develop and complete their personalized Individual Career and Academic Plans (ICAPs). Through this personalized career and academic planning process, students are empowered to learn about themselves and evaluate their path to success by exploring career and college options. ICAPs are also commonly aligned with a student’s CTE pathway curriculum.

DPS uses RIASEC to help students understand their career interests. RIASEC stands for 6 characteristics: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional. The RIASEC test asks questions about your aspirations, activities, skills, and interests in different jobs to help you discover careers and fields of study that are likely to satisfy you. Your RIASEC results can also help inform your decision about which CTE pathway is likely best suited for you and your interests.

If you have any questions about Career and Technical Education in Denver Public Schools, please contact