College Credit and CTE Advanced Opportunities

  • Career and Technical Education (CTE) Advanced Opportunities is one of the four advanced opportunities recognized by the State Board of Education, and links approved technical and academic high school courses to certificate and degree programs at a technical college. Changes in policy now specify two options for high school students interested in career and technical courses: Dual Credit for technical coursework and Technical Competency Credit  

    Students benefit by:
    • Improving the transition from high school to college
    • Not repeating course competencies already mastered
    • Earning advanced credits while in high school and needing fewer college courses to graduate
    • Reducing tuition costs
    • Connects learning to career pathways
    • Of the 20 occupations with the highest job vacancy rates in Idaho, 17 are tied to CTE Career Pathways
    • 92% of technical college completers found jobs or continued their education

    Elements of CTE Advanced Opportunities:

    • Integrates academic and technical education and, if appropriate and available, work-based learning
    • Provides technical preparation for careers
    • Builds student competence in core academic and technical areas 

    Dual Credit is a program allowing high school students to simultaneously earn credit toward a high school diploma and a postsecondary degree or certificate. Dual Credit is awarded to a student on his or her postsecondary and high school transcript for the successful completion of a single course. Students may enroll in dual credit courses taught at the high school, online, or on the college campus.

    Two types of postsecondary credit may now be earned:

    • Academic – Academic credits apply to postsecondary academic programs and some postsecondary technical programs
    • Technical – Technical credits generally only apply to postsecondary technical programs.

    Students should work closely with their advisor(s) to ensure the credit earned in their dual credit course will apply to their intended postsecondary degree program. Dual Credit is eligible for Fast Forward funds and cost to students is $65 per credit.

    Technical Competency Credit (TCC) allows high school students to document proficiency in the skills and abilities they develop in approved high school CTE programs and translate that into technical college credits. For CTE high school programs that are SkillStack aligned, students are given an opportunity to earn a SkillStack badge.  To learn more about badging, watch this short video, Introduction to Idaho SkillStack.
    Steps to receive TCCs:
    1. While enrolled in a CTE high school class that offers an opportunity to earn TCCs, students must establish an on-line SkillStack account (Instructors and technical college transition counselors help students access to the on-line program and establish a user account.)
    2. Within the SkillsStack software, students can see the sub-badging (skills and knowledge) they must learn and demonstrate in order to obtain a skills badge. The badge represents a pre-specified # of TCC credits at technical colleges that offer an aligned program.
    3. To earn the a Badge worth TCC credits, students must complete the CTE class, pass the related year-end Technical Skills Assessment and if required, take a hands-on demonstration assessment conducted by an approved instructor at a technical college. Both assessments are pass/fail. Students have two years to to apply the credits earned at an Idaho technical college, which offers the related program. This results in reducing the time and cost of earning an Associate Degree aligned to the program area.

    For example, a Welding IV student who passes both assessments receives 12 Technical Competency Credits. The cost is $10 a credit hour so they pay a total of $120 for the 12 credits. When they enter the Welding program at College of Western Idaho (CWI), students skip the first semester of classes, which shortens their time it will take them to complete the 2 year programs to 1 1/2 years. 

    Students participating in a high school CTE program approved for SkillStack TCCs are not considered postsecondary students until they are accepted into a postsecondary institution. Technical Competency Credits are NOT eligible for Fast Forward program however, credits are offered at a reduced rate of $10 a credit hour which is a cost savings. 

    Idaho has six regional Advanced Learning Partnerships (ALP) that coordinate related services and the process for obtaining these credits. High School course instructors coordinate with the technical college transition counselors to inform students in "capstone" classes within the following approved pathways with detailed and timely information about how to obtain these credits.

    Approved magnet program pathways are:  Certified Nursing Assistant, Culinary Arts, Emergency Medical Technician, Pre-Engineering, Residential Construction, Automotive Technology, Collision Repair, Welding Fabrication, Diesel Technology, Small Gasoline Engines, Programming and Web Design.  In progress are Fire Services and Law Enforcement, Detention and Corrections.