Postsecondary Career/Technical Education: Changes in the Number of Offering Institutions and Awarded Credentials from 1997 to 2006

Students can earn credentials in career-related fields at either the subbaccalaureate or the baccalaureate level (for example, a certificate in engineering technology or a bachelor’s degree in engineering). Although previous reports examine both of these sectors (Hudson and Carey 2005, Levesque et al. 2008), this Issue Brief focuses on the subbaccalaureate sector. This focus corresponds to the definition of career/technical education (CTE) as “organized educational activities that provide technical skill proficiency, an industry-recognized credential, a certificate, or an associate degree.” This brief provides a more in-depth view of this diverse educational sector. Specifically, the brief examines changes among less than-four-year Title IV postsecondary institutions, looking at the number of institutions that offer CTE and the number of subbaccalaureate CTE credentials (certificates and associate’s degrees) these institutions award. The analysis uses data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), administered by the National Center for Education Statistics, to examine change over a nine-year period (academic years 1997 through 2006).