CTE in West Virginia
Not every job requires a bachelor's degree. A career technical education is sufficient for many in-demand occupations in fields such as health care, information technology and skilled trades. Commonly called CTE, these programs don't include general education classes but instead focus exclusively on providing the skills needed for a specific occupation or industry.
To help students explore their options, CTE in West Virginia is broken down into 16 career clusters. Within each cluster are pathways leading to specific occupations. This system is designed to make it easier for people to narrow down their education choices by first identifying a broad area of interest and then quickly seeing which occupations are related to it.
Beyond career clusters and pathways, the State of West Virginia and two-year schools are working to improve access to CTE through the following initiatives:
- As mentioned earlier, the WV Invests Grant helps pay for technical programs for students pursing CTE in West Virginia.
- StepUp lets students take a prior learning assessment and potentially receive college credit for their work, military or volunteer experience.
- Work Force West Virginia is a state agency that, among other services, helps job seekers assess their interests and find the right training program.
Head to the websites of the best West Virginia community colleges listed above to see details of their CTE programs. Or to read more about career clusters and career planning, check out these links.
- Career Clusters - The College Foundation of West Virginia makes it easy to explore career clusters and see the many pathways within each one.
- Career Coach - Offered by the West Virginia Community and Technical College System, this website offers a career assessment and tools to explore occupations and find the right CTE program.
Transferring Credits in West Virginia
Some students enroll in the best community colleges in West Virginia because they want a technical education geared toward a specific career. Others, however, are looking for an affordable way to earn general education credits that can be used toward a bachelor's degree. For these students, understanding how credits transfer in West Virginia is essential.
While the state has made gains in recent years to ensure that credits will transfer between two-year and four-year schools, the process is still largely dictated by individual institutions. Some of the best colleges in West Virginia have articulation agreements that allow for the smooth transfer of a core set of classes. For instance, WVU has something called the Transfer Equivalency Self Service system, which outlines their requirements and guidelines. Others consider transfer requests on a course-by-course basis.
If you plan to pursue a bachelor's degree program, start by reviewing those top four-year schools in West Virginia. Once you know which school you'd like to attend, talk to an admissions counselor there as well as at your community college to determine if and how your credits will transfer between institutions.
Our guide on how to transfer schools is another resource to help you understand the transfer process and transfer agreements.
Resources for Community College Students in West Virginia
West Virginia Community & Technical College System - This system includes all the public two-year schools in the state and works to ensure that students have access to an affordable education that meets the needs of local employers.
College Foundation of West Virginia - This resources provides information on career planning, college financial aid and more.
Work Force West Virginia -A service of the West Virginia Department of Commerce, this website offers a variety of resources for job seekers.
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.