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Career and Technical Education

The goal of the South Dakota Department of Education is for all students to graduate college, career and life ready. The office of Career and Technical Education provides support for students’ preparations for postsecondary education and the workforce. Services are connected to approved Career & Technical Education (CTE) programs, work-based learning, student organizations and more. In-line with the department’s aspiration, DCTE works to ensure students not only graduate from high school, but that they are prepared to navigate the transitions and life events that come after high school.

Career and Technical Education

Career Clusters and CTE Standards

South Dakota recognizes 16 career clusters. Career clusters are designed to help students acquire the knowledge and skills they need to reach their postsecondary and career goals. Each career cluster has its own set of approved CTE courses. DCTE provides a sequence of courses and course standards within each cluster.

Go to Career Clusters Page

Career and Technical Education Regions and Contacts

The Division of Career & Technical Education provides technical assistance to school districts using a regional outreach model. Through this model, regional career development specialists serve as a resource for all local CTE-related efforts.

Find your region's contact

Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs)

High school is more than just going to class. By getting involved in student organizations, students gain real-world skills that compliment what they're learning in the classroom. Participation in these organizations builds leadership and teamwork, and ultimately, helps students prepare for a career.

Find out more about South Dakota's CTSO's

CTE Teacher Certification

South Dakota's CTE teacher certification rules provide school districts and educators with flexibility in how they become certified to teach CTE courses while still ensuring educators have a strong knowledge base in both pedagogy and their specific content area.

Go to the CTE Certification Page

CTE for Core Content

CTE for Core Content provides students the opportunity to earn academic credit by completing approved career and technical education course. Approval to offer credit must be obtained through an application process with the Department of Education.

Go to CTE for Core Content Page

CTE Summer Conference

CTE Summer Conference is sponsored by the South Dakota Department of Education and in cooperation with the South Dakota Association for Career and Technical Education. Each year, this conference provides over 300 teachers, administrators, and school counselors with opportunities to connect with other educators and to explore best practices that will help them prepare students to be college, career, and life ready.

Go to CTE Summer Conference

Dual Credit

Dual credit is an opportunity for high school students who meet admissions standards to enroll in public postsecondary institutions in South Dakota and simultaneously earn credits for both their high school diploma and postsecondary degree or certificate.

Go to Dual Credit page


The CTE Monthly Newsletters contain information about upcoming events, professional development opportunities, opportunities for CTE students, statistics and data, information about SDMyLife, profiles from business and postsecondary partners, as well as updates and related CTE news.

Go to CTE Newsletters Archive


Perkins offers the South Dakota Board of Education, the Department of Education, and the Division of Career and Technical education many opportunities to further its efforts to develop and enhance secondary and postsecondary career and technical education programs.

Go to Perkins Page

Project Lead The Way

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) prepares students to be innovative and productive leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and to make meaningful, pioneering contributions to our world. PLTW partners with middle schools and high schools to provide a rigorous, relevant STEM education.

Go to Project Lead The Way Page

Industry Recognized Credentials

Industry recognized credentials are a way for students to demonstrate mastery of knowledge and skills. They can increase job prospects and options for postsecondary education as well as increase their marketability to employers.

Go to Industry Recognized Credentials page

School Counseling

As part of the education team, school counselors foster development in career, academic and social/emotional areas for all students.

Go to School Counseling page


With the support of teachers, counselors, and parents, SDMyLife's goal is to help students better understand themselves and how their interest, skills, and knowledge relate to real-world academic and career opportunities.

Go to SDmylife.com

Soft Skills

Soft skills are character and personality traits that reflect how you work in general, with others, and by yourself.

Go to Soft Skills page

Work-Based Learning

Work-Based Learning (WBL) connects students with industry to engage in real-world experiences. WBL experiences bridge academic, technical and employability skill development to help students become college, career and life ready.

Go to Work-Based Learning page

Workforce Education Grant

The Workforce Education Grants provide school districts and private, nonprofit entities who provide specialized training in South Dakota the opportunity to make transformative change in career and technical education programs.

Go to Workforce Education Grants page

Questions? Contact (605) 773-3423 or view CTE contact list.