Ask Questions

Below are some frequently asked questions that we often receive about college and career ready at PGCPS, and the programs offered for students. Click on your question of interest to see the answer.

What is college and career ready?

What is a career academy?

What are the admissions criteria for career academies?

How and when will students select their career academy?

Which schools will receive career academies?  When will the programs start at each school?

What is the high school cluster model?

Will programs be equitable in each cluster?

What will be the transportation policy for students participating in Career Academies?

Can students transfer to different Academies?

If a student transfers from one high school to another, and their current academy assignment is not available at their new school, will the student be allowed to transfer? Will the student be able to stay at their current high school in their current academy? Will transportation be provided?

Will students complete a culminating project?

Will students earn college credit?

How are students in need of special services being considered in Academies? If a student has to take at least one Academy course during their 9th grade year, how will they be able to take this course?

How does Common Core fit into the Academies?

Will the Academy model limit the number of electives for students?

Can a student complete a program of study and meet all of the course requirements for college entry?

What is career and technology education?

What is a Maryland CTE program of study?

What is college and career ready?

College and career ready is a nationwide initiative to ensure a high school graduate has the knowledge and skills to qualify for and succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing college studies (2-year junior college or 4-year college/university) without the need for remediation. A high school graduate should also have the knowledge and skills needed to qualify for and succeed in the postsecondary job training and/or education necessary for their chosen career (e.g., technical/vocational program, apprenticeship, or significant on-the-job training).

To be college and career ready, high school graduates must study a rigorous and broad curriculum and be grounded in the core academic disciplines and other subjects that are part of a well-rounded education.

What is a career academy?

A Career Academy is a learning community within a high school that is a comprised of a group of students who take classes together tied to a particular career field/industry theme. Career Academies have a rigorous, 4-year, college preparatory course of study, along with potential opportunities for students to get certified in various areas depending on the academy field of study. PGCPS has 12 career academies available to all students entering high school in 9th grade. The academies are:

  • Architecture & Design
  • Aviation & Transportation
  • Business & Finance
  • Consumer Services, Hospitality & Tourism
  • Engineering & Science
  • Environmental Studies
  • Global Studies
  • Graphic Arts, Media, and Communication
  • Health & Biosciences
  • Homeland Security & Military Science
  • Information Technology
  • Law, Education, and Public Service

What are the admissions criteria for career academies?

The admissions criteria for each program will be determined by Curriculum and Instruction. Most programs have open enrollment.

How and when will students select their academy?

Until full implementation, students will be able to enroll in an academy if it is offered at their boundary school. Students will sign up during registration and be admitted through a lottery process. Once all academies are implemented, 8th grade students will indicate their academy preferences and be admitted through a lottery process.

Which schools will receive career academies?  When will the programs start at each school?

The high school programs are being implemented using a phase-in approach. Schools are selected for programs based on the school’s proposal, community interest, staff capacity, and building capacity.

Cluster Model

What is the high school cluster model?

High schools will be divided into five clusters. This model enables students to have better access to high school programs.

Will programs be equitable in each cluster?

The plans outline Career Academies available in each cluster. However, based upon community feedback, the program offerings in each cluster may not be identical in order to respond to community preference. It is anticipated that a few Academies will be offered in the Northern and Southern areas of the county, as opposed to each cluster due to the expense of operating a particular program.

What will be the transportation policy for students participating in Career Academies?

Currently, students can enroll in academies at their assigned boundary school only. Upon full implementation, it is anticipated that students will be provided transportation to all programs located within their cluster.

Can students transfer to different Academies?

At present, a student will only be permitted to transfer between academies at their boundary school. All program transfers should be done in consultation with a professional school counselor who will advise the student as to whether or not she/he has sufficient time to complete a different academy.

If a student transfers from one high school to another, and their current academy assignment is not available at their new school, will the student be allowed to transfer? Will the student be able to stay at their current high school in their current academy? Will transportation be provided?

If a student transfers from one high school to another that does not have their academy, then the student would transfer to their new boundary school and enroll in whatever programs are available at that school. Transportation will not be provided to allow a student to remain at their original school. If a student is in good standing, current practice allows 12th graders to finish at their prior school. However, transportation is a parental responsibility. If a student relocates in a grade other than 12th and wishes to remain in their Career Academy, SSR and the Office of Student Records and Transfers will evaluate the requests on a case-by-case basis.

The Programs

Will students complete a culminating project?

The culminating event at the end of each the career academy is a student internship in the area of the student’s career academy program of study.

Will students earn college credit?

Many of the programs are designed to provide students with the opportunity to earn college credits.

How are students in need of special services being considered in Academies? If a student has to take at least one Academy course during their 9th grade year, how will they be able to take this course?

Several of our 9th graders take double period courses for a variety of reasons. In these instances, we’ve recommended that school staff evaluate which non-required 9th grade courses could be taken in a later year of high school. For example, while students often take Foundations of Technology and Fine Arts in 9th grade, these courses could be taken in a later year. This course movement would allow students to fit the academy course into their schedule.

How does Common Core fit into the academies?

The Department of Curriculum and Instruction is responsible for developing the Career Academy curriculum. Where appropriate, Common Core standards will be infused into the academy curriculum.

Will the Academy model limit the number of electives for students?

The academy model focuses the electives a student takes into a program of study. This allows students the opportunity to have real-world experiences based on their program, receive a certificate/license, and/or earn college credit.

What is career and technology education?

Career and technology education (CTE) are programs of study certified by the state of Maryland to prepare youth for a wide range of careers. CTE programs are responsive to shifting workforce priorities and emerging careers.

While careers may require varying levels of education, from high school and postsecondary certificates, to apprenticeships, or two- and four-year college degrees, CTE programs of study provide opportunities for our students to earn industry-recognized credentials and college credit while still in high school.

For the state of Maryland, CTE programs are groupings of related occupations that represent the full range of career opportunities in key economic sectors of Maryland’s economy.

Students add value to their overall education by completing CTE programs of study. In Maryland, these programs of study are grouped into 10 career clusters. Career Pathways are like road maps of learning that help students plan for and pursue further education and careers.

What is a Maryland CTE program of study?

Maryland CTE programs of study are statewide model programs designed to prepare high school students for the 21st century’s global economy and its rapidly changing workforce needs. Typically, these programs consist of four sequential courses that each strengthen and deepen a student’s knowledge and understanding of the subject. All CTE programs are aligned to established academic and technical skill standards to ensure student preparation for college and careers. These programs also include work-based learning opportunities (e.g., internships, clinical experiences, or industry-mentored projects) tied to the student’s area of interest. Upon completion of a Maryland CTE program of study, students also have the option to earn college credits and/or industry-recognized credentials such as certifications and licenses.

Program of Study Example – Project Lead The Way: Biomedical Sciences

  • Foundational Course – Principles of the Biomedical Sciences:
    Provides foundational learning for the career area and provides an overview of the career filed options.

  • Second Course – Human Body Systems:
    Deepens the students learning and understanding of the content.

  • Speciality Course – Medical Interventions:
    Provides specialized learning in a specific area of the career.

  • Capstone Course – Biomedical Innovation:
    Students participate in a final course that brings together the learning from the previous courses into a practical work-based experience or other type of project.

Can a student complete a program of study and meet all of the course requirements for college entry?

YES! Students electing to complete a CTE Program as part of their high school program are prepared for entry into college and a career pathway. The chart below shows a typical high school program of study that includes a CTE Program Sequence beginning in Grade 10. It also depicts how students can earn industry certification and/or college credit while in high school.



In Maryland, all secondary and postsecondary programs are offered in related programs of study to advance student preparation and success in a career. However, specific program offerings vary by location. Contact the local school systems and/or community colleges who work together to identify areas of interest and program requirements.

In most CTE programs, the awarding of college credit and/or industry certification requires students to meet pre-determined standards and assessments as determined by the postsecondary institution and/or industry. A description of these requirements and opportunities for college credit and/or industry certification is included for each CTE program of study.