State Approval Policies and Procedures for Postsecondary Career and Technical Education

Publication August 2007

This study examined the final program approval for new postsecondary Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs and program review policies and procedures for existing programs based on publicly available Web sites and on follow-up interviews with representatives in the final state approving agency. The purpose of the study was to inventory the various state-level policies and procedures and examine how occupational standards were being incorporated into approval processes.

In addition, the study examined the methods by which the states ensured that programs were aligned with labor market needs and how articulation efforts were being incorporated into the final state program approval policy and procedure. The study was limited to public, two-year degree-granting institutions and did not include any policies and procedures for private or proprietary institutions. The study also did not examine non-credit CTE courses or programs that did not lead to a degree or certificate.

Most states posted information concerning two-year postsecondary program approval on available Web sites. A majority of states (26) used the same approval process for new postsecondary CTE programs and non-CTE (primarily transfer programs). Three states (Arizona, Delaware, and Pennsylvania) were excluded from the study because policy and procedural decisions on program approval and review were not administered through a centralized state agency. Two states (Alaska and Hawaii) did not have centralized state-level agencies but utilized the policies and procedures of the state university system that were publicly available on their respective Web sites and were included. Washington, DC does not have its own community college system, but relies on neighboring states to provide these services for its students. Therefore DC was not included in this study.

The study had four distinct components: an inventory of final state approval policies for new program approval and program review of existing programs; an analysis of how occupational standards were included in new program approval and existing program review; an inventory of the methods identified at the state level to help ensure program alignment with labor market needs; and an inventory of how articulation between secondary and postsecondary CTE programs were mentioned in the final program approval or review process.

Merkley, R. J., & Johnston, G. H. (2007, August). State approval policies and procedures for postsecondary career and technical education. St. Paul, MN: National Research Center for Career and Technical Education, University of Minnesota.

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