BOONE—A new online Bachelor of Science degree in Career and Technical Education offered at Appalachian State University is designed to produce teachers in “high-need” areas in the state’s public schools.
The only degree of its kind in North Carolina, it has four concentrations to be offered on both Appalachian’s main campus and online: Business, Finance and Information Technology; Marketing and Entrepreneurship Education; Technology, Engineering and Design Education; and Trade and Industrial Education. A fifth concentration in Family and Consumer Sciences Education is currently offered on Appalachian’s main campus only.
The concentrations are geared for teaching at the middle or high school level or perhaps community college, depending on which concentration is chosen. “This degree allows us to meet the needs of the state by providing teachers for these high-need areas,” said Associate Professor Jerianne Taylor, program coordinator for the new degree. “These programs are all considered high-need areas, just like the sciences and math, and require individuals who have technical skills as well as understand teaching,” said Taylor.
Although 60 students are already enrolled in the program on Boone’s main campus, Taylor expects the online version to enroll a total of 100 new career and technical education majors. Offering the program online provides opportunities for non-traditional students and those who for financial or other reasons can’t afford to leave home to attend college. Costs for the online program are approximately $153 per credit hour.
“This is like a 2+2 program, where students complete freshman- and sophomore-level courses at the community college and then transfer to Appalachian for their junior and senior years. Students can even transfer in with as few as 30 transferable credit hours if they’re willing to take classes at both institutions simultaneously,” Taylor said.
Taylor also expects the new CTE program to appeal to students enrolled in high school Early College or Career and College Promise programs. “Many of the students in these programs leave high school with an associate’s degree and career skills in hand. So often we as CTE teachers encourage our high school students to go into the field but not to teach. This pathway opens the door to teaching career and technical education courses,” she said.
“People who want to be teachers know they want to be teachers. It’s one of those things that just clicks with you,” she said. “You know you want to make a difference and give back to your community. Those who have completed an AA, AS or AAS degree can make a difference in their community with just two more years of instruction.”
Future plans call for adding concentrations in agriculture education and health sciences education. “When we are able to add these additional concentrations, we will have a complete umbrella addressing all areas of career and technical education at the undergraduate level,” Taylor said.
About Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.