School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Tracey Pritchard


Career and Technical Education, Career Development, College and Career Readiness, Constructivism, Guidance and Advisement, Programs of Study


Community College Education Administration | Curriculum and Instruction | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods


Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs are designed to help prepare students to become effective workers by equipping them with college and career readiness skills needed for the 21st century workplace. Students who participate in a CTE Program of Study (POS) have the potential for greater success during and after high school because they have achieved academic success in meeting the college and career readiness targets that lead to success in post-secondary and career training. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe the experiences of graduates from one high school in the southwest region of North Carolina who participated in a CTE POS. Through the use of documents, interviews, and a focus group the perceptions from 10 participants who participated in a CTE POS during high school were examined. The data gathered in this study was analyzed using the procedures of a hermeneutical phenomenology to gain a thick, rich understanding of participant experiences. Four themes emerged during the research process. The four themes were (a) The learning process was enhanced; (b) Influences on decision-making; (c) Learning with understanding supports knowledge use in new situations; and (d) Guidance and advisement needs to be purposeful. This study found that the participant’s learning process was enhanced through participation in a CTE POS, they were able to transfer learning to a variety of context that increased their readiness for college and their future career. The implications are discussed and recommendations are provided to educators along with recommendations for further research.