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Florida has a skills gap. 54% of Florida jobs require skills training—which is more than a high school diploma but less than a 4-year degree, but only 45% of workers in the state have this level of training. Nationally, around 60% of employers in 2019 reported having difficulty filling jobs due to a lack of qualified applicants.

Career and Technical Education (CTE) at the postsecondary level works to fill this gap. Half of Florida’s 50 fastest-growing jobs require either a postsecondary certificate or an associate degree. It is increasingly important for workers to gain the necessary skills and credentials to obtain jobs in Florida’s key industries.

High Levels of Success

Currently, more than 380,000 students are enrolled in postsecondary CTE programs across the state. These students experience many advantages, including hands-on learning and strong industry partnerships.

The completion rates of postsecondary CTE programs are almost double that of two-year institutions. Within six months of program completion, 90% of CTE students have jobs, join the military or are placed in an apprenticeship. In 2018, those who completed an advanced technical certificate in Florida had the highest median wages one year and five years after graduation across all programs and credentials levels. Moreover, Florida College System students who completed an apprenticeship had the highest rate of full-time employment at 77%.

CTE Programs versus Degree Programs

Postsecondary CTE can be a great alternative to earning a two- or four-year degree. For starters, CTE programs are shorter, typically lasting between six weeks to 18 months. Additionally, postsecondary CTE programs are designed to be an affordable option for students and is often less expensive than a two- or four-year degree. These programs also provide a way for those who did not complete high school to get training and a certificate, as some CTE programs do not require a high school diploma in order to enroll.

However, students who choose to enroll in postsecondary CTE programs do not have to choose it as an alternative to a degree. Oftentimes, CTE programs result in stackable credits that students can apply toward an associate or bachelor’s degree. Furthermore, the knowledge and skills gained from CTE programs translate well into undergraduate curricula.

How to Enroll

The first step in postsecondary CTE enrollment is to align your interests and goals with a career pathway. View Florida’s 17 CTE career pathways at Get There Florida, and visit Earn Up’s Career Pathways page to learn how these align with key industries in Northeast Florida. Next, you need to connect with a Florida College System Institution or technical college to learn about their specific enrollment process and requirements. Florida State College at Jacksonville, St. Johns River State College and First Coast Technical College are great options in Northeast Florida that offer a variety of programs and credential options.

As Florida continues to invest in Career and Technical Education, the region will see the current skills gap begin to shrink. CTE provides high-achievers with a low-boundary option to gain essential training and education that is guaranteed to result in success. Whether you prefer a desk job or being in the field, there is a CTE program that fits your needs. From dental assisting and cosmetology to paramedic and electrician training, postsecondary CTE options are boundless and can be the perfect way to advance your career.