CTE in Washington
The top community colleges in Washington offer a variety of career technical education programs. These degrees and certificates teach skills for a specific occupation or industry. Students enrolled in CTE programs can typically go straight to the workforce after graduation and don't need additional education.
While CTE is often associated with hands-on careers like nursing and automotive technology, career technical education can be found in virtually every sector. In fact, CTE in Washington covers 16 different career clusters ranging from arts, audio/visual technology and communications to transportation, distribution and logistics. Within each career cluster are pathways outlining the education and skills needed for specific occupations related to that field.
The following are among the initiatives designed to make it easier for students in Washington to pursue these pathways and complete a career technical education.
- The Worker Retraining Program provides tuition assistance for unemployed workers who want to return to school and learn new skills.
- Career Launch programs give students real-world experience either through an apprenticeship or a work-based component of their degree program or certificate curriculum.
- The Career and Technical Education Dual Credit program lets high school students learn advanced CTE skills and earn college credit early.
Each of the best community colleges in Washington can have more information about its CTE programs on its website. You can also learn more about the topic, in general, through the following resources.
- Career Clusters - Visit Washington Career Bridge to see all 16 career clusters as well as information about the skills and occupations found in each one.
- Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction -This government website provides comprehensive information about CTE in Washington, including details about career clusters, pathways and links to other resources.
Transferring Credits in Washington
You may already know that you can save money on your first four semesters of a bachelor's program by first enrolling in a community college program, but that may not be the only reason to start your college journey at a two-year school. According to a report recently cited in The Seattle Times, community college transfer students at Washington universities are more likely to finish their bachelor's degrees than their counterparts in any other U.S. state.
The Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) acknowledges two statewide transfer agreements for community college students seeking university enrollment:
- Direct Transfer Agreement (DTA)
- Associate of Science-Transfer (AS-T)
DTA plans are the more flexible of the two, focusing on general education courses and including around 30 credits of major-specific electives and prerequisites. AS-T plans contain fewer general education credits to allow for additional math and science classes.
The state also has more than a dozen major-related programs (MRP) -- course plans in individual subjects of study that fit within either the DTA or AS-T framework. Check with your advisor for tips on how to conduct your own transfer process as smoothly as possible.
For additional insight into education in the state, check out the top universities in Washington. Don't forget to also check out our guide on how to transfer schools for more information on the transfer process.
Resources for Community College Students in Washington
Washington State Community and Technical Colleges - The state system of community colleges offers students a wealth of information on how to register for college, pay for education and start a new career.
Washington Student Achievement Council - This government agency promotes higher education attainment in the state and provides information on financial aid and education initiatives.
Washington Career Bridge - Managed by the Workforce Training & Education Coordinating Board, Washington Career Bridge helps residents explore careers, view job trends and find training opportunities.
Using the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we generated a list of colleges and universities that met the following criteria:
- Level of institution is either "At least 2 but less than 4 years" or " Less than 2 years (below associate)"
- Data is reported for all 14 ranking variables listed in the Methodology section
We ranked the resulting community colleges member schools on multiple factors related to educational opportunity, student performance and student services. Each school was scored on a 10-point scale, using the following data points:
- The published in-district tuition and fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2018
- The published in-state tuition and fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2018
- The in-district per credit hour charge for part-time undergraduates, National Center for Education Statistics, 2018
- The in-state per credit hour charge for part-time undergraduates, National Center for Education Statistics, 2018
- Percentage of students receiving financial aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016
- Percent of students that transferred to a 4-year institution and completed within 8 years, College Scorecard, 2017
- The graduation rate in 150% time, National Center for Education Statistics, 2017
- Full-time student retention rate, National Center for Education Statistics, Fall 2017
- Student-to-faculty ratio, National Center for Education Statistics, Fall 2017
- Percentage of students enrolled in distance education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2017
- Flexibility, based on the following data points from the National Center for Education Statistics, 2018
- Whether the school offers credit for life experiences
- Whether the school offers programs of study that can be completed entirely in the evenings and on weekends
- Whether the school offers on-campus day care for students’ children
- Whether the school offers any kind of alternative tuition plan. These may include, but aren’t limited to, payment plans or guaranteed rates.