In 2002, the State Board of Education (SBE) charged CCWD-ODE to revise and update the program approval standards for career and technical education programs (formerly known as professional technical education) programs. Through the work of a statewide taskforce, five standards were identified and approved by the Oregon ​SBE. These standards were transitioned to and adopted by the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) in 2014. 

Career Technical Education (CTE) Program Approval Standards

A. Need

The community college provides clear evidence of the need for the program.

Program Elements

  1. The program need is clearly indicated by labor market research based on current, valid and reliable information, statistics and forecasts.
  2. The program need is based on current and projected employment demand that is not being met by training provided by existing programs.
  3. The program will lead to jobs demonstrating opportunities for competitive wages and wage progression for program completers.

Guiding Questions

  1. Why is this program necessary?
  2. Does the workforce data show that the proposed program is needed?
  3. Can training be provided without creating a new program?
  4. What other data resources have been utilized in addition to the Employment Department, e.g., professional organizations, national census, and regional workforce specialists?
  5. What career pathways, employment opportunities and further educational opportunities exist for students who complete the program?

B. Collaboration

The community college utilizes systemic methods for meaningful and ongoing involvement of the appropriate constituencies.

Program Elements

  1. The program has been developed through joint ventures and significant systemic working relationships with business, industry, labor communities, and/or workforce development partners, such as:
    • Advisory committees
    • Apprenticeship committees/trusts
    • Business/industry associations or alliances
    • Cooperative Work Experience (CWE) and work-based learning experience sponsors/supervisors
    • Part-time faculty from industry
    • Customized training and development departments
    • Partners/co-applicants in college led grant activities
  2. The program has been developed through joint ventures and significant systemic working relationships with educational partners;
  3. The program is proactive in creating a supportive environment for minority students, students with disabilities, and ELL/LEP students.

Guiding Questions

  1. Who are your key constituents and how have they helped you design your program?
  2. What resources are your constituents contributing or sharing?
  3. What programs within your college are helping you shape and implement your program, e.g., student services, developmental education, second language programs?
  4. Who in the college community has been involved in planning?
  5. Are there any national constituents involved in the design and resource sharing?
  6. How will this program help meet your partners’ needs? 

C. Alignment

The community college program is aligned with appropriate education, workforce development, and economic development clusters.

Alignment is the demonstrable outcome or product of collaboration. Programs that are aligned share common outcomes and proficiencies for students and workforce providers. Students can transfer credit or get credit for proficiency. In PK 20 systems, students can move not only vertically but laterally between and among programs, building skills and credit as they go and transitioning to their next step.

Program Elements

  1. Program is aligned with appropriate PK-20 educational programs and related activities.
  2. Program supports workforce and economic development initiatives as identified by the local economic and workforce development boards or agencies, state appointed task forces, the Workforce Investment Board, business and industry associations, and HECC priorities.
  3. The program is part of a clear career ladder or career pathway with education and training options leading to the program identified and continuing training and career advancement opportunities identified.
  4. The program and/or related occupations are clearly identified within the appropriate career learning area, career cluster, and career focus area.

Guiding Questions

  1. How have key constituents been meaningfully and systemically involved in the development of the proposed program?
  2. What other programs could provide benefit for your students if the instruction and outcomes were aligned with this new program?
  3. Is your program meeting important education, workforce development, and economic development activities and priorities?
  4. How does this program fit into Oregon’s educational initiatives?
  5. How does this program fit into the larger context of workforce educational needs and state and national initiatives?
  6. Are there articulation agreements in place for students from high school to receive college credit?
  7. Are there articulation agreements in place for program credits to be transferred to other colleges?
  8. What professional certifications will the students receive as a result of the instruction?

D. Design

The community college program leads to student achievement of academic and technical knowledge, skills and related proficiencies.

Design involves program admission procedures, instructional methodologies, student assessments, learning outcomes, student follow-up processes, performance indicators, program evaluation, and all other aspects of the program of study.

Program Elements
The program has the curriculum, instruction and student evaluation systems to assure a sequential program of study that provides students with the instruction and experiences to achieve academic, technical and career related skills.

  1. The curriculum demonstrates a cohesive instructional program that will lead to the attainment of the academic, and career and technical exit proficiencies and clearly documented program and learner outcomes needed for success in the field of study for the occupational area.
  2. CTE academic and technical skill performance indicators are used as measurements of program effectiveness.
  3. The instructional design for the program is planned for optimal learning and accessible scheduling with identifiable components of professional technical instruction and applicable related instruction or general education.
  4. The program is designed or may be delivered in distinct segments that contribute to increase student completion and success.
  5. The instructional methods used reflect current research in education and training practices, (e.g., authentic instruction and assessment, problem and project base learning, mentoring, the development of student's critical thinking skills, varied teaching and learning styles).
  6. The program has the capacity to gather data regarding successful student transition into work, four year programs, and/or other next steps. The college uses this data to determine areas of strength and areas for improvement within the program.
  7. The college and program affirmatively provides access, accommodations, flexibility and additional/supplemental services for special population and protected classes of students, including student with disabilities, ELL/LEP students and minority students.

Guiding Questions

  1. Is the program designed to meet the need stated in Standard A?
  2. Are the learner outcomes clearly identified and targeted to the identified needs of students?
  3. Is the program designed so that the student can participate in a learning community?
  4. Does the student have an opportunity to construct his own learning experiences?
  5. What assessment will be used to place student in the appropriate courses?
  6. Are the times and length of instruction appropriate for working adults?
  7. How do all aspects of the program lead to student achievement and successful transitions?
  8. How will data be collected and use to determine student success and improve the program?
  9. Are there related internships, work study and part time employment opportunities for students?
  10. How are career and employment information and counseling incorporated?
  11. Are tutoring and mentoring incorporated?
  12. How is academic and technical rigor addressed?

E. Capacity

The community college identifies and has the resources to develop, implement, and sustain the program.

The capacity needed will be largely determined by the need and design of the proposed program. The college must have the resources to offer the proposed program without negatively impacting existing approved programs. Capacity may also reflect financial and in-kind resources contributed by partners.

Program Elements

  1. The college demonstrates the capacity to offer the program and will provide the necessary and accessible facilities and services to assure that all students can attain the skills and knowledge necessary to fulfill program objectives.
  2. There are sufficient and accessible facilities, instructional materials and equipment for the program.
  3. Financial resources are adequate for the implementation and continued operation of the proposed program.
  4. Personnel resources are adequate for the number of students in the proposed program in fulfilling the stated objectives/outcomes in accordance with bargaining unit criteria for full-time to part-time faculty ratios and accreditation standards.
  5. Adequate internship, work-based learning experience and/or Cooperative Work Experience sites are available.

Guiding Questions

  1. What impact will this program have on current school programs and budgets?
  2. What is the student to teacher ratio?
  3. Will the course fees support the costs of instruction; if not, how will other revenue be generated?
  4. What additional facilities or tools, supplies and equipment required?
  5. What in-kind and financial resources are available from key partners?
  6. Is team teaching being utilized to manage instructional personnel needs?
  7. What opportunities have been identified to extend student learning beyond the classroom?



The college and program will affirmatively provide access, accommodations, flexibility, and additional/supplemental services for special populations and protected classes of students.

Continuous Improvement

The college has assessment, evaluation, feedback, and continuous improvement processes or systems in place. For the proposed program, there will be opportunities for input from and concerning the instructors, students, employers, and other partners/stakeholders. Labor market information and need will be periodically reevaluated and changes will be requested as needed.

Adverse Impact

The college will follow all current laws, rules, and procedures and has made good faith efforts to avoid and/or resolve detrimental duplication and adverse intersegmental and intrasegmental impact problems with other relevant programs and institutions.

Records ​Maintenance & Congruence

The college acknowledges that the records concerning the program title, curriculum, CIP code, credit hours, etc., maintained by the designated state department (CCWD-​ODE) are the official records; it is the college’s responsibility to keep their records aligned with those of ​CCWD. The college will not make changes to the program without informing and/or receiving approval from the ​State.