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Occupational Education

1. What is the State Board of Education's (SBE) role in determining the occupational education requirement?

RCW 28A.230.090 authorizes SBE to establish some of the state's graduation requirements. SBE has established essential credit requirements, a culminating project, and a high school and beyond plan (WAC 180-51-061,WAC 180-51-066, and WAC 180-51-067). Occupational education is one of the state requirements.

2. How is occupational education defined?

WAC 180-51-067 specifies: "Occupational education"means credits resulting from a series of learning experiences designed to assist the student to acquire and demonstrate competency of skills under student learning goal four and which skills are required for success in current and emerging occupations. At a minimum, these competencies shall align with the definition of an exploratory course as contained in the career and technical education (CTE) program standards of the office of the superintendent of public instruction.

3. What is the current occupational education graduation requirement?

The state high school graduation requirement in occupational education is (1) credit.

4. What are the career and technical education program standards with which an occupational education credit must align?

The characteristics of exploratory career and technical education courses are described in the OSPI program standards document.

5. Does the one credit graduation requirement in Occupational Education have to be met in an approved Career and Technical Education (CTE) course and be provided by a CTE-certified instructor?

No. A non-CTE course, taught by a non-CTE certified teacher can meet the occupational education graduation requirement as long as it delivers the four outcomes of an exploratory CTE course. Students who enroll in exploratory courses must:

  1. Demonstrate the application of essential academic learning requirements in the context of preparing for living, learning and work.
  2. Demonstrate occupational specific skills.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of career options within a chosen pathway.
  4. Demonstrate employability and leadership skills.

6. Can the occupational education requirement be waived?

No. The occupational education requirement cannot be waived or met by earning a credit in another subject area.

7. What is the "two-for-one"policy for Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses?

The "two-for-one"policy is a rule change (WAC 180-51-067) in effect for students in the graduating class of 2016. Students who take CTE-equivalent courses may satisfy two graduation requirements while earning one credit for a single course; hence, "two-for-one". The purpose of this policy is to create flexibility for students to choose more elective courses or to address other graduation requirements.

A CTE-equivalent course consists of two courses: one CTE, one academic. One of those courses is placed on the student's transcript for credit. Students generally choose which course they want placed on the transcript, and this choice is driven by their High School and Beyond Plan. This practice will remain the same.

Under the rule in effect through the class of 2015, WAC 180-51-066, the student earns one credit and satisfies one graduation requirement.

The new policy will permit the second course to be "checked off"as a "met requirement"by local counseling staff. Which course is put on the transcript and which one is locally "checked off"will continue to be determined by the student, based on their post high school goals.

The total number of credits the student needs to graduate will not change.

Districts will continue to use a locally-developed process to enable the record-keeping needed to assure that all requirements have been met. Currently, the standardized transcript does not track the types of credits applied to courses.

Page last updated: December 2012