Date of Award

Spring 5-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


STEM Education & Professional Studies


Occupational and Technical Studies

Committee Director

Philip A. Reed

Committee Member

Michael F. Kosloski

Committee Member

Cherng-Jyh Yen


Career and technical education (CTE) incorporates occupational skills, workforce readiness skills, and credentials that make high school graduates better prepared for the workforce. Students who complete CTE programs of study have higher employment rates after high school graduation and often go on to postsecondary education. For those who do not go on to postsecondary education, CTE programs can provide opportunities for increased earnings and more access to the labor market.

This quantitative study used binary logistic regression, using data collected by the Center for Survey Research of the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center to examine if satisfaction with CTE programs of study, earned credentials, and gender could predict if graduates used their CTE programs of study in their employment outcomes. The results showed that as satisfaction with their CTE programs increased, so did the likelihood they would choose to work full time in that same field of study. The results also showed that earning a credential in their CTE program increased the probability a student would choose full-time employment in their chosen CTE field within one year following high school. Gender was a nonsignificant factor in the study. The implications of this research are noteworthy for secondary school leadership, CTE advocates, and policymakers to help them understand how student satisfaction with CTE programs and providing human capital gains through earned industry credentials can help improve student outcomes and provide a return on investment to industry partners who can bring valuable support and financial resources to CTE programs of study.


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