Posted on September 10th in REACH Blog

How to (and Why You Should) Recruit Career-Tech Students

Andrew Kirkpatrick Student Welder

Editor’s Note: This post was written by James David Collum, co-advisor to the Beta Tau Gamma Chapter at Pearl River Community College in Mississippi. It originally appeared as part of the Five Star Advisor Plan curriculum. It has been edited for clarity.

Career and Technical Education (CTE) students may be pursuing Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degrees, Career Certificates, or Technical Certificates. While some of these students will transfer to a university, many will begin their careers directly after graduation.

Because of this, transfer scholarships and college fairs are going to be less important for this population; CTE students are going to be much more interested in the advantages that PTK will provide them in achieving their career goals.

There should be a focus placed on the benefits PTK offers that will help them be successful in their future career when recruiting CTE students. Some of these benefits include:

  • Building leadership and teamwork skills
  • Opportunities to work on projects that will help build a resume
  • Networking with other high-achieving students
  • Opportunitiesto serve their school and community
  • Participating in regional and national events

Advisors should focus on helping CTE students develop their professional resumes, teamwork skills, interview skills, soft skills, and professional portfolios.
 These will be of more immediate valuable to the students who may not transfer to a university.

It is also important to understand that CTE student schedules may be less flexible than transfer students. Many will be off-campus part of the semester completing internships or clinical rotations. It is essential for chapter leaders to be creative and think of ways to allow these students to be active participants in PTK.

It’s also important to develop an understanding of the different CTE programs at your school and get to know the CTE instructors. These instructors are an invaluable resource for recruiting CTE students for membership. It may also be beneficial to become familiar with CTE-specific organizations on your campus. These might include Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), Distributed Education Clubs of America (DECA), or SkillsUSA.

Why should PTK chapters actively recruit CTE students?

  • CTE students are very passionate about their chosen career paths, and they will bring this passion with them to PTK.
  • Recruiting CTE students helps promote diversity within the organization.
  • PTK can help CTE students realize their full potential and contribute to their success.


Once CTE students have become members, advisors should look for ways that these students can contribute using their unique talents. This might include utilizing the skills they are learning in their program or inviting industry contacts to be guest speakers. Chapters might consider creating a leadership role specifically for a CTE student. Duties for this person might include organizing career fairs, CTE student recruitment, or workshops to build job skills.

Did You Know?

Career and Technical Education (CTE) is focused on teaching tech-based and career-oriented skills. “CTE” replaced “vocational education” as the preferred terminology in 2006. The term “workforce” is typically reserved for non-credit training.

Photo Credit: Kristina Bridges-Templeton, Ozarks Technical Community College

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