CTE Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1. Are 9th grade students allowed to take CTE classes? 

    In general, CTE programs are approved for 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students only.  However, 9th grade students are allowed to take CTE Cosmetology, as per the program approval with the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).  There is an exception which can be made for 9th grade repeaters, however, since they are in their 2nd year of high school.

    2. I'm in a magnet program at Brashear. Can I still take the Auto Body Repair program? 

    According to the Magnet Office, students who take a magnet program are not eligible to take a CTE Program.  In addition, it is almost always the case that the combination of 3 periods of CTE and 1 (or more) periods of the Magnet Program classes will create a situation where a student could not fit in the rest of his/her requirements to graduate.  

    3. Will I be able to take any other elective classes in I am in a CTE program? 

    There is no rule against a student taking other electives if they are taking a CTE program. It is a matter of the student having room in his/her schedule.  Students must have the English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Gym and Health classes they need to meet the graduation requirements.  So, as long as the electives fit in around the requirements and CTE, then a student can take electives.  However, there will not be much room for them.

    4. Is it possible to start a CTE program in 11th grade? 

    It is possible for a student to start a CTE program in 11th grade.  If a student starts at the beginning of 11th grade, he/she will be able to complete 2/3 of the credits/hours in CTE, and will be eligible for the end-of-program assessment given in the spring of their 12th grade year.  If a student wants to start a CTE program in the middle of his/her 11th grade school year, then the student must agree in writing (via a CTE application) to return for the following year as well.

    5. Is it true that CTE students don’t have to take as many science classes as regular students? 

    Beginning with the graduating class of 2014, non-CTE students are required to take 4 science courses and 4 social studies courses.  CTE students, however, are required to take only 3 science courses and 3 social studies courses. 

    6. What happens if I start a CTE program and find out I don’t like it? 

    When a student starts a CTE program, he/she has 10 school days to decide whether to remain in the program for the full school year.  If they decide that they would like to have their schedule changed in that time period, they need to complete a “CTE Student Withdrawal Form.”  After 10 days, however, the student is to remain in the CTE Program for the duration of the school year.  The exception being if the school/teacher/program requests that the student be removed via a “Request for Removal from CTE” form, which must be submitted with proper documentation to the CTE Office for approval.

    7. I was in Cosmetology at my old school in Butler. Will I have to start over? 

    Students who were in Cosmetology at an area career and technology center (CTC) will not have to start over. Student hours in an approved Cosmetology program are notarized.  They should continue the program in PPS at the point where they left off in the other program. 

    8. I was in Auto Technology last year but I really want to be in Auto Body Repair. Can I switch? Do my Auto Tech credits count? 

    Students can apply for a new CTE program for the beginning of a new school year.  HOWEVER, 12th graders may not be accepted as first time CTE students.  Permission for a mid-year program “switch”, must be requested from the CTE Office.  Even though Auto Technology and Auto Body Repair are similar, they are two distinct programs.  If a student is allowed to switch programs, the credits will not count towards the new program.  (It is no different from switching from Auto Tech to Cosmetology.  The student—if allowed to switch—must start over.)

    9. Is it true that you can earn college credits by taking a CTE program? 

    Many of the CTE programs offered by PPS have articulation agreements with Pennsylvania colleges and trade schools that can allow students who successfully complete their program to earn credits.  There are also 4 CTE programs in which students may earn dual enrollment college credits from CCAC, while still in high school.  Those programs are:  Culinary Arts, Emergency Response Technology, Health Careers Technology and RHVAC.

    10. How does the NOCTI exam help me? 

    The NOCTI exam is the key requirement for a student to take advantage of state articulation agreements with post-secondary schools.  By taking advantage of an articulation agreement, students may save themselves both time and money by not duplicating the coursework which they already mastered in high school. In addition, students who pass the NOCTI receive either a certificate of competency or a Pennsylvania Skills Certificate, which they can include on their resume.

    11. Am I able to get a tour of a program before I sign up? 

    CTE Career Counselors are available to conduct tours of all the CTE programs. This can be done as part of a group or on an individual basis. CTE is very proud of its programs, facilities, and instructors and the staff is always happy to welcome visitors. Please contact your school counselor or the CTE office at 412-529-8690 to arrange a visit.

    12. Are home-schooled students and/or cyber- schooled students allowed to take CTE programs? 

    Students who are home schooled are eligible to take CTE programs.  With the exception of students enrolled in Pittsburgh Online Academy, students who attend a cyber or charter school are not eligible for PPS CTE programs.  Please contact the CTE Office at 412-529-8690 or cte@pghschools.org  for additional information regarding enrollment.

    13. How am I supposed to schedule my students into three periods of CTE when they need block English and block math? 

    Students requiring block ELA or math classes present a scheduling challenge but it can be done! Please check the scheduling template that is available in the current High School Course Catalog or feel free to contact a CTE Career Counselor for additional information.


    For more information, feel free to contact CTE at 412-529-8690 or send an e-mail message to cte@pghschools.org.