Frequently Asked Questions About CTE

All schools and districts that offer five or more State-Approved (Chapter 74) classes will provide students with an introductory course called Exploratory.  

In Exploratory, ninth graders are divided into groups that rotate through a few days or weeks of hands-on experiences in each of the programs offered at the school. The best way to learn more about Exploratory is to contact the school or schools you are interested in directly. To find the schools closest to you, check out Massachusetts School Finder. 

No, students who reside in cities and towns that do not maintain an exploratory program may apply for admission to a school in another city, town or district offering an exploratory program. Ninth grade students who reside in cities and towns that offer an approved exploratory program shall attend the exploratory program provided by the district of residence provided however, that students may apply for non-resident admission for the purpose of exploring specialized agriculture and natural resources programs designated by the Commissioner and not available in the student’s district of residence. 

Not all CTE programs approved are available in every district. If she wishes to enroll in a program not available where you resident, she may apply  as a non-resident to the CVTE school offering that program. However, resident students who meet the minimum requirements for admission must be admitted before the CVTE school/program admits non-residents seeking the same program.

To see all your other options, here is a new online tool, Massachusetts School Finder, please enter your street address, town, child’s grade, distance you would like to search and select “all pathway/programs only.  

Chapter 74-approved vocational technical education programs are programs that meet the definition of vocational technical education contained in Massachusetts General Law Chapter 74. Districts apply for program approval to DESE’s Office for College, Career, and Technical Education (OCCTE) pursuant to Chapter 74 and the Vocational Technical Education Regulations. 

Career and Technical Schools may serve one community, a group of communities, or an entire region. In most cases, students from member school districts must apply during the fall or winter of their eighth-grade year to attend. Deadlines and requirements will vary and can be found on their websites. 

Yes, you need to apply to the school in which you are interested. 

The Chapter 74 Nonresident Student Tuition Program allows students to attend a school outside of their home school district in order to study at a state-approved CTE program that is not offered by their home district. He can apply as a non-resident student to the program. Every school has its own application and process. Please see the school’s website for details. 

To see all of your options, use the Massachusetts School Finder tool. Here you can search based on several filters. Here you can search schools that are “Pathway Programs Only.” 

Yes, once a non-resident student is admitted through school choice, the school district must treat school-choice students the same as it treats its own students residing in the district.

Yes. CTE Schools cannot discriminate based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, ethnicity, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability, age, ancestry, athletic performance, special need, English language skill, or academic achievement.

Yes, they are. Schools can provide support for English Language learners.

Yes, you can request applications and notice of equal education opportunities in the applicant’s native (non-English) language. 

Yes, all schools should help students and families who may need assistance completing application forms.

Yes, the application form should be available in both digital and hard copy formats and should     identify clear steps for students and their families to get help from the school if needed to complete an application. 

No, CTE schools may not request or require information from applicants concerning citizenship or immigration status. 

Yes, students with disabilities can apply. The application form has a section where students with disabilities can indicate what reasonable accommodations are needed for both admissions and at school. 

The Chapter 74 Nonresident Student Tuition Program allows students to attend a school outside of their home school district in order to study at a state-approved CTE program that is not offered   by their home district.

Yes, there is a list. Please check the DESE website for the most recent list. 

Every school has its own application process. Admission is not guaranteed. You must receive two approvals: The student must be accepted both by the receiving school and their sending district must approve the application for the student’s tuition. The student could attend at no cost to your family. Transportation is provided by your city or town of residence. Please see the school’s website for details. 

Yes, you do. The school district may approve or reject the application for tuition. You should submit a Non-Resident Student Tuition Application form to your home school district by April 1. 

No, the student can attend the new school at no cost to your family. 

Yes, transportation is provided by your city or town of residence. 

State-Approved programs are available in forty-four career fields. 

Yes, transportation is usually provided. Deadlines and requirements will vary and can be found on their websites. 

In communities where career and technical education is offered within a local high school, the school will inform students and families of the process. Many schools will offer a mix of State-Approved (Chapter 74) and Local Programs.  

Innovation Pathways are designed to give students coursework and experience in a specific high-demand industry, such as information technology, engineering, healthcare, life sciences and advanced manufacturing. 

Early College programs provide students college-level coursework with career exploration. For more information, contact your local high school and ask to speak with someone who can talk to you about career and technical education options.

Some school districts partner with a nearby Vocational-Technical school to allow students to enroll in technical training during the hours when vocational technical facilities are underutilized. You can contact your local high school for more information.

Additional questions? We’re here to help!

Our specialists are here to help families and students understand your options for career and technical education high schools. Check out the resources developed in partnership with the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education – or contact us today at 1 (800) 208-2242 – to learn more!

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