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Career Education: Info, Help and FAQ

What is Career Education?

what is career education

Career education (CE) is a robust educational experience designed to provide manifold learning opportunities for high school students. CE allows students to evaluate potential career paths and then participate in programs, courses, classes, and other academic opportunities that develop skills that will help them succeed in that chosen path once they enter the workforce. Career education is an ‘umbrella’ term that encompasses many programs.

CTE is supported through the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, commonly referred to as ‘Perkins V’. As part of Perkins accountability, all districts who participate in Carl Perkins funding are required to submit for students in grades 11 and 12. Over 95% of all public LEAs, including non district charter schools participate in Perkins funding.

There are overlaps between CCR and CTE data reporting. Therefore, many of the CCR data reporting requirements will already satisfy CTE data reporting requirements. For reporting guidance, please visit the CTE Data Resources page.

Career education information is collected in WISEdata for two primary reasons:

  1. Measuring college and career readiness (CCR) and
  2. Career and technical education (CTE) reporting required in connection with federal Carl Perkins act funds.

Career Education Component - College and Career Readiness (CCR):

What is College and Career Readiness (CCR)? CCR is a guiding principle throughout Wisconsin schools, applied in age-appropriate ways from our earliest grades all the way through high school. Schools/districts prepare students to be college and career ready by providing a variety of opportunities through academic content areas, as well as through the teaching of skills, mindsets and habits. Our graduates must be critical thinkers, able to communicate effectively, collaborate with others, and solve real world problems.

Career Education Component - Career and Technical Education (CTE):

What is Career and Technical Education (CTE)? Career and Technical Education (CTE) prepares students for a wide range of careers that reflect the contemporary workplace and plays a major role in addressing the workforce and economic needs. CTE encompasses a broad range of activities including academic coursework, career based learning opportunities, and connections to relevance in the world of work. For more information, refer to the Career and Technical Education webpage.

What is a CTE course? According to DPI, a CTE course is a secondary (high school level) course offered through the Wisconsin program areas which must be taught by a CTE instructor licensed for that specific discipline. Local schools/districts should follow this guidance when determining CTE courses and development for their specific options. Before districts identify the appropriate Roster code for CTE course offerings, districts must verify that the course is taught by a licensed CTE educator within the specific discipline as this determines whether or not the course is CTE. Generally, students in grades 9-12 can enroll in CTE courses offered by the school districts.

Wisconsin recognizes 6 CTE Program Area Types. These are commonly referred to as the 6 CTE Departments:

  1. Agriculture and Natural Resource
  2. Business and Information Technology
  3. Family and Consumer Sciences Education
  4. Marketing Management and Entrepreneurship Education
  5. Technology & Engineering
  6. Health Science*

*NOTE: Wisconsin does not offer a CTE health science education license. As such, health science education courses may be taught by a health education instructor, a licensed science instructor, or a family and consumer science teacher.

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Who Should Submit CE Data?

Who should submit CE data

All public school districts are required to report CE data for students in grades 9-12. Districts must use the latest Roster codes for grades 9-12 when submitting on CE courses and programs. This is especially imperative for accurately reporting CTE data in connection with Perkins requirements. Only grades 11 and 12 CTE Concentrators get reported under Perkins.

Grade Levels to Report for Career Education:

CCR data reporting is required for all public school districts for students in grades 9-12. Please refer to the Career Education Data Reporting document for an overview of CE data reporting.

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Why Does CE Data Get reported?

Why does CE data get reported

Career Education, and its two primary components of CCR and CTE, have both state and federal reporting requirements.

College and Career Readiness (CCR) data reporting is required by the 2017 WI Act 59.

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Career Education Data Flow

Like all other elements collected via WISEdata, your career education data will go through the data import process and data validations and quality metrics process. This presentation reviews the entire WISEdata life cycle and understand how your data will travel through the Ed-Fi API, WISEdata Portal, and to WISEdash.

Please refer to the Career Education Data Reporting Scenarios page for details on data flow.

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Career Education (CCR & CTE) Data Elements


All CTE data elements are reported for students in grades 11-12 - AND - all CTE courses will need to be submitted through Roster for grades 9-12. CTE courses are the starting point for collecting all other CTE data.

CTE and CCR reporting relate to one another because they are both components that fall under the larger ‘umbrella’ called Career Education. CE reports on a wide variety of college and career readiness data which may also satisfy CTE reporting requirements. Learn more by reviewing the CCR and CTE relationship diagram. There are no additional data elements that will need to be submitted for CTE Participants. DPI encourages you to submit career education data to WISEdata continually throughout the year as it happens.

DPI Help Desk begins data quality checks in August to prepare for the annual December snapshot. Reporting must be complete prior to the annual December snapshot date since snapshots include Career Education data. Career education and CTE data is due at the December Snapshot. View the Snapshot Preparation Guidance page for current dates, helpful tools, and best practices. You can also review the WISEdata Events calendar for information about upcoming dates, training or webinars that will be made available for preparation.

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WISEdata Portal: Exports, Validations and Data Metrics

Career Education data relies heavily on data you already submit, particularly enrollment and Roster data. Career education data quality checks, real-time metrics, and data details will appear in the WISEdata Portal in the same way they do for the other data you submit. Visit the CTE Data Resources for training documents and resources about CTE reporting requirements.

Current data can be viewed in WISEdata Portal. Use the Exports tab to review data as it is currently flowing to WISEData. You can use these Excel files to check students, course counts, class size, and categories. This is live data that will eventually be captured in snapshots.

  • Certified / non-Certified Career Education Programs
  • CTE Concentrators
  • CTE Participants
  • Course Offerings
  • Two new Exports will be piloted for the 2024-25 school year, available for public LEAs:

    • Career Connected High School: This export includes students in grades 9-12 and the identified courses they were scheduled in for Dual Enrollment Program, IRC Program, or WBL Program.
    • College Career Ready: This export includes students in grades 9-12, who meet criteria for participating in any Dual Enrollment Program, IRC Program, or WBL Program, for the reporting year. Students are displayed in format 1=Yes and 0=No.

WISEdata Portal will display validation errors and warnings for Roster, CTE, and CCR data. If you have errors, you will want to resolve them by reviewing the data entered into the SIS and re-sync any necessary changes. Check with your vendor on how to re-sync data. Only new data flows automatically, revised data requires a re-sync to WISE. Review your data validation messages frequently. WISEdata Portal, Vendor Resource tab offers a SIS CTE Data Reporting recorded webinar.

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Career Education FAQ and Use Cases

Certified Career Education          CTE Courses          Dual Enrollment          Perkins



What are Certified Career Education Programs? Certified career education programs (‘certificated’ and ‘certified’ are both terms used to this type of program) provide an opportunity for a student to earn certification as part of their participation in college and career readiness experiences. This certificate is a result of the certificated program having a specific curriculum, as well as required hours set forth by the state agency or organization overseeing the program. For example, Youth Apprenticeship is governed by the Department of Workforce Development, while State Co-ops overseen by DPI. For a list of certified career education programs see this Career Education Data Reporting document.

How are Certified Career Education Programs submitted to WISEdata? Career education data elements are collected by setting up courses with the appropriate, corresponding certified, non-certified, dual enrollment, or IRC data elements. Course enrollments submitted with an associated certified career education program also require that you submit a certificated program status type at the conclusion of the course. Schools need to maintain the course master setup and plan for submitting course level data within their SIS. Please reference your district SIS vendor resources or WISEdata Portal>Vendor Resources for the CTE Data training.

What is the Certificated Program Status Type? What is this status type used for? A ‘certificated program status type’ must be submitted for each certified CE program that a student participates in. This helps indicate whether the student earned certification while in the program or not. The status types are:

  1. Student met the requirements of the certified program and was/is to be awarded a certificate

  2. Student is continuing in the certified program

  3. Student has left the certified program before completion

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How do I submit my CTE courses through Roster? In order to properly submit CTE courses through Roster, districts must first ensure the Roster code contains a CTE course flag indicator - and - meets the definition of a CTE course. To view all courses identified as CTE from the Roster, download the DPI courses sheet and filter “CTE Course” to “Yes.” It is imperative that all CTE courses be submitted with a Roster code that contains the CTE course flag indicator, as this may impact your district’s CTE data reporting. While we understand the Roster course list may not align perfectly to all district CTE course offerings, it is important that districts review course descriptions and select the course that best aligns with the CTE course being offered. If you are unable to map a CTE course you offer locally to the DPI-populated course list with the CTE indicator flag, reach out to your vendor or DPI for assistance.

I am trying to submit a non-CTE course, but the code associated with the course I want to submit has a CTE flag. What should I do? Submitting a Roster code with a CTE=Yes flag indicates to DPI the course is CTE. If the course is not CTE, submit a Roster code where the CTE course=No. Submit the code where the course description best aligns with the course you are offering and also is flagged as CTE course=No.

  • Example: The code you would like to use for your non-CTE Computer Science course is flagged as CTE course=Yes. Explore other codes flagged with CTE course=No. Examples of other non-CTE Computer Science courses are ‘Multimedia Design’, ‘Interactive Design’, ‘Digital Imaging’, ‘Particular Topics in Management Information Systems’, and or ‘Web Design’.

Where can I find the latest Roster codes? How can I download the codes? You can download the latest DPI Roster codes from the Courses WISEdata elements page. Click the Download all courses as CSV button for the appropriate year to obtain a spreadsheet of course descriptions and codes for that school year.

How do I know if a Roster code is a CTE course on the courses download? Once you have downloaded the spreadsheet of courses, filter on the column titled ‘CTE course’ and select ‘Yes’ to view all of the CTE Roster codes.

How do I map career pathways to a CTE course? Instructional Area Codes (IAC) represent career career pathways. The district CTE team creates a sequence of courses that represent a single career pathway. The sequence of courses are tied together using a single IAC to represent the career pathway. Work with your local CTE team to get a list of the career pathways being taught at your school. The CTE team can identify the specific IAC used for each career pathway. There should be one IAC for each career pathway offered at your school and this is the work of Carl Perkins. You can download a spreadsheet containing IACs from the IAC Code Type WISEdata elements page. This spreadsheet has a column titled "Cluster Title" The IAC entered _____ must match the ‘CTE career pathway Type’ column in the DPI Roster codes spreadsheet. IAC mismatched to the DPI Roster code will result in an error within WISEdata Portal. The CTE Data Resources webpage has a Roster Work Plan to assist schools in organizing these data elements before entering them into the SIS.

How do I submit grades for a student who is enrolled in a CTE course? Courses should be graded. Districts submit final grades for courses taken by students in their SIS. Double check your SIS setup for Roster to ensure grades are turned on to send. Each SIS vendor offers assistance. To ensure that your grades are flowing appropriately, check WISEdata Export, Roster Sections - Grades/Marks.

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How do I submit Dual Enrollment? Each SIS vendor also has a drop down menu for selecting the type of Institution of Higher Education (IHE) associated with the course. Review a complete list of program names and guidance on specific dual enrollment program names to submit. The CTE Data Resources webpage has a Roster work plan to help districts organize the course level data elements that need to be entered into the SIS.

Students need to be scheduled into properly identified dual enrollment courses within the high school. Final grades need to be entered into these dual enrollment courses to properly show completion. Note that only dual enrollment courses with a passing grade entered will be included in school and district report cards and Carl Perkins accountability reporting. Please be aware that editing transcripts to show Early College Credit Program (ECCP) or Start College Now (SCN) grades will not result in completion status being reported via WISEdata. WISEdata reads data directly from the course enrollment data elements submitted.

WISEdata Portal, Vendor Resources has a CTE Data Reporting webinar available to help with this process. For dual enrollment courses taught by college or university professors, Students taking a college course must be associated with a section, course, and a local (district) teacher. In this scenario a monitoring educator from your district may be assigned. The actual teacher at the technical college is NOT submitted to Roster.

Do I need to identify the specific type of dual enrollment course? DPI only requires the program name (dual enrollment) and type. See the dual enrollment guidance document linked on the Dual Enrollment page for a list of program types.

Many CTE instructors will refer to dual enrollment courses as Transcripted or Advanced Standing. Districts should report these courses in WISEdata using the program types listed in the Dual Enrollment Guidance document, mentioned above. They should also continue to report these courses on student’s official transcripts as required by PI 26.04 (6) for Technical Skills Attainment Transcript Requirement. Student official transcript data, however, is NOT collected in WISEdata. More information can be found on the DPI Dual Enrollment Page.

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CTE data reporting is required by the federal Perkins act. This reporting includes course information at the 11th and 12th grade levels from the secondary (high school) districts receiving Carl Perkins funds. The collected enrollment information is then used:

  • To respond to the federal performance report mandated by the State
  • To gather information related to the districts for the State Plan
  • To assist districts in measuring progress to mandated core indicators of performance
  • To provide data that inform the Office of Civil Rights process

The following data elements need to be submitted with a CTE Concentrator:

  • Career Pathway Type (career cluster level)

  • A single Instructional Area Code (IAC)

  • Program Area(s)

Should a school submit a CTE Concentrator record for a student who is enrolled as a non-primary student? No. CTE Concentrator records are only submitted by the school of primary enrollment.

I have a CTE course that is Health Science Education but the course is not taught by a licensed CTE licensed teacher in the specific discipline. Do I flag these courses as CTE? Districts will need to make sure the course is taught by a licensed CTE educator within the specific discipline, as this determines whether or not the course is CTE. Health Science Education continues to be the exception as there is no CTE Health Science Education license issued in Wisconsin. As such, Health Science Education courses may be taught by a health education instructor, a licensed science instructor, or a family and consumer science instructor. It is important that all CTE courses be submitted using codes that contain a CTE course=Yes flag in the DPI Roster codes sheet for the appropriate year. This indicates to DPI the course is CTE. Visit the Health Science Programming in Wisconsin web page to see example courses in Health Science.

I have a course being taught by a non-CTE teacher that has similar CTE content. What SCED code should I use? Starting with SCED 8 (which aligned to the 2021-22 school year), there is also a non-CTE version of every CTE SCED code on the Courses download. Each SIS vendor will have directions to use their filters to select the non-CTE version of SCED code.

If you are looking for the non-CTE code for a given course using the DPI courses sheet, you can use the “Find and Replace” feature in Excel. Copy the CTE SCED code from column A, and paste it into the ‘Find what:’ field. Click “Find Next.” Double check that the CTE Courses column reads “No” in column F. This should provide you with the non-CTE Roster code for an equivalent course.

  • Example 1: The code you would like to use for a Child Development and Parenting CTE course is currently not flagged as CTE. Instead, explore other codes with a CTE course=yes flag. Examples of other Child Development CTE Roster codes are ‘Child and Adult Care Services’ or ‘Child Development’.
  • Example 2: The code you would like to use for your Clothing and Sewing CTE course is currently not flagged as CTE. Explore other codes with CTE course=yes flag. Examples of other Clothing and Sewing CTE Roster codes are ‘Apparel Construction’ or ‘Clothing and Textiles’.

How do I report a CTE Participant? A student is a CTE participant if the student was enrolled in and completed (passed) one or more CTE course for the reporting year. Districts do not have to manually identify or flag a student as a CTE Participant through the SIS. Instead, DPI will determine participants based on students enrolled in CTE course offerings submitted via WISEdata. Students who are enrolled in a CTE course with a performance type of passed or failed will be identified as CTE participants. Therefore, it is important that you submit CTE courses with codes where CTE flag=Yes in the DPI courses sheet for the appropriate year. Districts can review their CTE participants by downloading the WISEdata Portal Export: CTE Participants.

How do I submit a CTE Concentrator? Since the 2020-21 school year, a student is identified as a CTE Concentrator if the student has completed a minimum of two CTE courses within a chosen career pathway throughout high school. Each school CTE team creates career pathways for students to follow, this is a requirement for Carl Perkins V. Once a student is reported as a CTE Concentrator for a school year, they should continue to be reported as a CTE Concentrator until high school completion. Each year, CTE Concentrators need to be manually approved in the Student Information System. This is not an automatic process, even for prior year Concentrators.

Submit a student as a Concentrator by marking the student as a CTE Concentrator in your SIS. Each SIS vendor has instructions to assist in this process. Data entry staff should also work with their CTE team to understand the designed career pathways offered in the school. All students identified as CTE Concentrators will each have a ‘CTE Concentrator Summary’ record submitted to DPI. Specific questions and guidance on how to mark and/or navigate the SIS should be addressed to your SIS vendor contact person. WISEdata Portal has a feature called Vendor Resources that houses a recorded CTE Data Reporting webinar. Additional resources are available at CTE Data Resources. Districts can review their CTE Concentrators by downloading the WISEdata Portal Export: CTE Concentrators.

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