Area Career Centers

Career centers, found in many locations around Indiana, allow high school students to gain real-world skills that can translate into high skill jobs or college credit upon graduation.


Career centers, found in many locations around Indiana, allow high school students to gain real-world skills that can translate into high skill jobs or college credit upon graduation. Industry leaders are eager to change the idea of success after high school-that a college degree isn’t always necessary because there are many high wage jobs out there with out enough skilled workers to fill demand.


  • Counselors should know the programs offered at their area career center.  In addition, they should know how each program is set up in their respective pathways (i.e. how CTE courses connect to PLTW courses, introductory and foundational courses in FACs and Business, Engineering, Transportation, Construction, etc…).  There are several courses students take in 9th and 10th grade that can add value to a graduation pathway. Secondly, they should know the outcomes that all CTE programs offered at their area career center provide students.  This includes dual credits (you can find this information on the DOE website on the summary of courses spreadsheet.  This is indicated as CTE dual credit and typically offered through Ivy Tech or Vincennes University.
  • Counselors should also know what Industry Recognized Certifications are available through each program-examples of this are the Certified Nursing Assistant license students can earn in Health care, AWS certification in Welding, ASE certifications in Auto Mechanics—keep in mind, some courses offer several different certifications that students can earn which can really set them up for employability after high school.  Counselors should also be familiar with the Work Based Learning experiences students may have opportunities to participate in during their CTE program.  In some cases, these experiences are a required part of earning certification in the pathway.
  • As for referring students, typically, students begin taking the advanced level CTE courses at the career center beginning their Junior year.  Most CTE courses offer a 1st year and 2nd year course in the particular pathway. It’s important to start the conversation about attending a career center early-so both the student and family is aware of this option.  In my experience, we would have several middle schools bring their 8th grade students to tour our center and see the programs.  As counselors meet with students to review/revise their schedule each year,  possible career center programs should be addressed if the student has an interest in a particular program or has taken intro and foundational courses within a pathway.
  •  DWD is really working hard to raise awareness on high wage/ high demand jobs, then link them to the  vocational programs. For example, welders are in high demand and can come out of Career CTE with certifications and make $50,000 with no college debt!
  • Pitfalls to avoid-placement is key for a successful CTE experience by students.  They need to know what they are getting into.  It’s good for counselors to make connections with the CTE teachers and find out the specifics of the courses, or better yet, go and see the programs in action. Directors love to show off their programs! Call your area career center and schedule a tour for your counseling team. Courses are usually 2-3 hours per day. Some programs are more hands-on than others, while some are more rigorous/academic–that’s good information for a counselor to know.



  • If there are no accessible career centers in your area, consider partnering with you local chamber of commerce to connect with nearby businesses and industry to set up a bi-annual or annual career day. It is important to form partnerships with local post-secondary CTE programs at Ivy Tech, Indiana Tech, and other post-secondary institutions as my students may be able to take some college courses while in high school for credit. Don’t forget to include the military in post-secondary education for students.
  • Call all the nearby career centers and as them if/when they have open houses you could advertise to your high-schoolers. OR, better yet, could they come and talk with high-schoolers during study hall times?
  • Every college/university is different in accepting college credit earned while still in high school so that would need to be confirmed before spending the money on a college course. It is helpful to build relationships with an Ivy Tech or Vincennes rep that works in this area because they will know how the dual credit transfers to other colleges or how it can be used at their campus.
  • See if you can “job shadow” the programs so you really understand the options when talking to students and parents.  This will also help when thinking of students who might benefit from a program. For example, I had no idea what tool and die was. It is slow-paced and very detailed Some students would not do well in that program vs auto-where you are moving around a lot.  I reached out to our Career Center Director and she coordinated with teachers.  We have 2 sessions- I was able to job shadow 4- 5 programs in one day.
  • Learn More Indiana–magazines and website- great resource for apprenticeship programs that are usually tied to vocational programs.
  • Like anything, it comes down to relationships.  We do our best to hold Professional development opportunities about all the things you are asking about (Dual Credits, Work Based Learning, updates on our programs, etc) for our sending school counselors.  We also have all of their freshmen or sophomore students (depending on the district) tour our facility.


If you have suggestions, feedback, or resources, please email and let us know.