High School Students' Perceptions of Career and Technical Education

Date of Award

Winter 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


STEM Education & Professional Studies


Occupational and Technical Studies

Committee Director

John M. Ritz

Committee Member

John Nunnery

Committee Member

Philip A. Reed


The topic of image has impacted Career and Technical Education (CTE) throughout its existence. Although CTE can be the economic passageway to independence for young people, factors exist that influence their perceptions and can keep them away from educational career training programs at the high school level. This study and others have been completed to investigate CTE's image issues, and the most encouraging information to be gleaned from this study are the perceptions of high school juniors with regard to enrollment in CTE programs. This research used survey research to answer its three research questions.

RQ1: What are the perceptions of high school career and technical education and non-career and technical education students regarding participation in career and technical education programs?

RQ2: Are there differences between career and technical education and non-career and technical education students in terms of what factors (e.g., people, media, events, experiences) influence their participation in career and technical education?

RQ3: What is the difference between high school career and technical education and non-career and technical education students with regards to demographics (e.g., academic standing, socio-economic, home status)?

Results from 813 respondents indicated with regard to Research Question 1, there were differences in perceptions between CTE and non-CTE students of CTE programs. An overall observation was that both groups perceived CTE favorably and the programs addressed the needs of students from all ability levels. Regarding Research Question 2, data from 776 respondents indicated the most influential people upon a CTE and non-CTE student regarding decisions to participate, or not to participate in CTE, were parents, with the mother being more influential than the father. As a result of the findings from 871 respondents addressing Research Question 3, the typical profile of CTE students was an African American male, performing at the B and C level academically, living more often with both parents, and experiencing no financial problems.

For CTE educators and stakeholders, these findings are encouraging. Educators must take and maintain active roles in portraying a different and more positive image of CTE. Much effort has been invested into improving the image of CTE, from the initial name change from vocational education to the persistent message that CTE is for students of all ability levels. Efforts to portray CTE as a pathway not only to the workforce but to college as well have been ongoing and purposeful. Apparently there has been some success in this regard, as evidenced by the data reported in this study.


In Copyright. URI: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/ This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).





This document is currently not available here.