Programs of Study

The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (Perkins) calls upon states to create sequences of academic and Career Technical Education coursework to help students attain a postsecondary degree or industry-recognized certificate or credential, otherwise known as programs of study (POS).

At minimum, according to the definition put forward in Perkins, programs of study must:

  • Incorporate and align secondary and postsecondary education elements.
  • Include academic and CTE content in a coordinated, non-duplicative progression of courses.
  • Offer the opportunity, where appropriate, for secondary students to acquire postsecondary credits.
  • Lead to an industry-recognized credential or certificate at the postsecondary level, or an associate or baccalaureate degree.

To help states and local recipients meet the new program of study requirements, the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Career Technical and Adult Education, in collaboration with major national associations, including Advance CTE, organizations, and states, have formulated a rigorous programs of study design framework. This framework identifies 10 components that, taken together, support the systemic development and implementation of effective programs of study. Although all 10 components are important, they are neither independent nor of equal priority. State and local program developers must identify the most pressing components for state or local adoption, taking into consideration their relative need within their educational context.

The Rigorous Program of Study Design Framework Components:

  1. Legislation and Policies
  2. Partnerships
  3. Professional Development
  4. Accountability and Evaluation Systems
  5. College and Career Readiness Standards
  6. Course Sequences
  7. Credit Transfer Agreements
  8. Guidance Counseling and Academic Advisement
  9. Teaching and Learning Strategies
  10. Technical Skills Assessments


NOTE: The Common Career Technical Core (CCTC) are a set of common, program-level standards for CTE designed to support POS development.