Ready for the real world: CTE courses help students prepare for future careers

Note-taking, lectures, PowerPoints. 

That’s what a normal day looks like for most classrooms. However, students at the Frisco ISD CTE Center have a bit of a different learning experience. 

With more than 30 courses offered and 5,000 students enrolled, the CTE Center has been providing Frisco ISD students with real-world experiences in the form of certifications and licenses since 2008, preparing students for life after high school. 

Specialized courses such as Health and Forensic sciences give students the opportunity to become a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) and receive Patient Care Technician (PCT) certifications. 

A lot of these skills that they are retaining will help them gain clients in the real world,”

— Sandra Gilmore

“Students in health science at the CTE learn about EKGs which are the heart rhythms and they learn how to draw blood and learn phlebotomy duties as well,” health science teacher Jennifer Hanna said. “So they get training in both and then take the PCT test in April.”

Most pre-med and nursing students do not have the opportunity to get a CNA certification until their third year of nursing school, but those enrolled in the CTE’s health sciences pathway are able to get licensed before graduating high school. 

“We are sending them to college with about 200 to 250 clinical hours which is quite a head start compared to other students entering,” Hanna said. “A lot of our students in this course go onto nursing and without having taken this course they wouldn’t be able to get this hands-on approach until at least the third year of their nursing program after their undergrad.”

In addition to science and pre-med, design and art students have advanced opportunities as well.

Without having taken this course they wouldn’t be able to get this hands-on approach until at least the third year of their nursing program after their undergrad,”

— Jennifer Hanna

“In my class students have the opportunity to get Adobe certified through Photoshop, Illustrator, and Design,” graphic design and illustration teacher Sandra Gilmore said. “The certification is beneficial because a lot of students don’t have that prior knowledge or ability to show employers that they are proficient in these critical programs. A lot of these skills that they are retaining will help them gain clients in the real world.”

No matter what field, these certifications prove to be beneficial when it comes to job hunting or college applications. 

“I plan to pursue nursing in my future and I plan on getting a masters in nursing and I’ve always heard that the best nurses start out with a CNA certification so I think that was definitely something I wanted to do,” Heritage senior and health science student Divia Moorjani said. “This course will really help me in college and in a career as a nursing assistant because I already have such valuable hands-on experience.”