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Career and Technical Education in Tennessee

More than ever before, Tennessee students have access to a wide range of career options and pathways. The Tennessee Department of Education’s Career Clusters offer a way to introduce these careers to students beginning in high school. These clusters were designed to reflect the U.S. Department of Education’s standards of Career and Technical Education.

Tennessee’s Career Clusters are organized into 16 broad categories, which cover the basic knowledge and skills needed for each of those career pathways. These clusters help students discover and define career interests and goals, while providing a resource for career planning. Each cluster is divided into different pathways, which are then grouped by the knowledge and skills required for these jobs and career fields. All Career and Technical Education classes are available, at no cost, as part of the overall public school curriculum.

Tennessee’s 16 categories of study include:

  • Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources – prepares students for careers in the planning, implementation, production, management, processing and/or marketing of agricultural commodities and services, including food, fiber, wood products, natural resources, horticulture, and other plant and animal products.
  • Architecture & Construction – prepares students for careers in designing, planning, managing, building and maintaining the building environment, including new structures, restorations, additions, alterations and repairs.
  • Arts, A/V Technology & Communications – prepares students for careers in the manufacture, sales, rental, design, installation, integration, operation, and repair of audiovisual communications and equipment, including sound, video and data.
  • Business, Management & Administration – prepares students for careers in planning, organizing, directing and evaluating business functions that are key to efficient and productive business operations.
  • Education & Training – prepares students for careers in planning, managing and providing education and training services and related support services, including academic, vocational and technical instruction.
  • Finance – prepares students for careers in financial and investment planning, banking, insurance, and business financial management.
  • Government & Public Administration – prepares students for careers in various levels of government, including local, state and federal opportunities.
  • Health Sciences – prepares students for careers in various health service areas, ranging from diagnostic and therapeutic sciences to health information technology.
  • Hospitality & Tourism – prepares students for careers in the management, marketing and operations of restaurants and other food services, including lodging, attractions, recreation events and travel-related services.
  • Human Services – prepares students for careers in various areas related to families and consumer needs, ranging from child and lifespan development to personal care and cosmetology.
  • Information Technology – prepares students for careers in the design, development, support and management of hardware, software, multimedia and systems integration services.
  • Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security – prepares students for careers in planning, managing and providing legal, public safety, protective services and homeland security, including professional and technical support services.
  • Manufacturing – prepares students for careers in various levels of manufacturing, ranging from production design and engineering to machining and operations/maintenance.
  • Marketing – prepares students for careers in planning, managing and performing marketing activities designed to help reach employer goals.
  • Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics – prepares students for careers in various levels of scientific research and professional and technical services, including laboratory and testing services, and research and development services.
  • Transportation, Distribution & Logistics – prepares students for careers in the planning, management and movement of people, materials, and products by road, air, rail and water, including infrastructure planning and management, logistic services, and the maintenance of mobile equipment and facilities.

Start Exploring Careers Today

Learn more about Tennessee's Career Clusters.

You can also contact your local public school or search by district or specific school.