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Career Clusters and Pathways

The Framework

Career clusters are broad occupational groupings that serve as an organizing tool, categorizing common knowledge and skill sets for secondary and postsecondary education. Career clusters use 16 broad groups of occupations and 79 pathways (sub-groups). 

The Process

A career pathway is a coherent, articulated sequence of rigorous academic and career related courses (the POS), commencing in ninth grade and leading to an associate degree, and/or an industry-recognized certificate or licensure, and/or a baccalaureate and beyond.  Career Pathways in K12 are realized through each district’s Academic and Career Planning process.

A career pathway...

  • includes academic and CTE content in a coordinated, non-duplicative progression of courses.
  • offers the opportunity, where appropriate, for secondary students to acquire postsecondary credits.
  • leads to an industry-recognized credential or certificate at the postsecondary level, or an associate or baccalaureate degree.
  • is developed, implemented, and maintained in partnership among secondary and postsecondary education, business, and employers.
  • is available to all students and designed to lead through the desired levels of education and training to rewarding careers.


For questions about this information, contact Diane Ryberg (608) 267-9088