Programs of Study

Programs of Study (POS) are coordinated, non-duplicative sequences of academic and technical content at the secondary and postsecondary level that incorporate challenging state academic standards, that include both academic and technical knowledge and skills that are aligned with state-approved frameworks, including employability skills, that are aligned with local and regional needs, progress in specificity (beginning with all aspects of an industry or career cluster) and lead to more occupation-specific instruction, have multiple entry and exit points that incorporate credentialing, and culminate in the attainment of a recognized postsecondary credential. (Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, 2018)

Minnesota has developed resource documents used to identify and improve Programs of Study that meet the state’s minimum qualifications, are aligned with Perkins V legislation, and reflect state priorities. The ability to effectively deliver programs of study is a key component in defining a Minnesota Perkins consortia. Creating effective secondary/postsecondary programs of study can be part of modernizing education as we strive to improve our schools, colleges, and communities.

State-Recognized Programs of Study Minimum Requirements

  • Course standards accurately align to the academic, technical, and employability skills learners must master for entry and success in a given career pathway: Content standards, frameworks and competencies that define what students are expected to know and be able to do to enter and advance in college and/or careers comprise the foundation of a POS.
  • POS incorporates active involvement from an integrated network of partners: Ongoing relationships among education, business, and diverse community stakeholders bolster POS design, implementation, evaluation and maintenance.
  • Secondary program(s) meets MDE program approval requirements and incorporate courses that lead to postsecondary credits/credentials: Secondary programs have appropriately licensed teachers, advisory committees, develop and ensure access to equitable student leadership opportunities, and provide career exploration activities leading to postsecondary credits/credentials.
  • Postsecondary academic program meets Minnesota State board policy and Higher Learning Commission requirements: A cohesive arrangement of college-level credit courses and experiences, designed to accomplish predetermined objectives, lead to the awarding of a degree, diploma, or certificate.
  • Facilities, equipment, technology and materials used in the program of study reflect current workplace, industry and/or occupational standards and practices for installation, use, maintenance and safety.
  • POS incorporates authentic work experiences at the secondary and/or postsecondary level that are valued by industry: POS engages students in authentic work-based learning experiences that demonstrate progressive occupational learning aligned to industry workforce needs.
  • POS development, improvement and advocacy are supported by findings from a comprehensive local needs assessment: Systems and strategies for gathering, analyzing, and disseminating needs assessment data are effective for guiding the improvement of POS, and available in plain language to enhance use by stakeholders for POS advocacy.