Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability
Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability

Education System

Florida College System Career Training Programs

What is the purpose of the program?

Florida College System institutions offer postsecondary career education programs to provide students with the skills and competencies necessary to perform work tasks related to specific occupations so they may attain and sustain employment and realize economic self-sufficiency.

School district career centers also offer a wide range of career training programs.

What types of career education programs do colleges offer?

Florida College System institutions offer a range of career education programs. These include career certificates, apprenticeship programs, and college credit programs (Associate in Science (AS) degrees, Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degrees, College Credit Certificates (CCC), and Applied Technology Diplomas (ATD)). Programs (college credit and career certificates) differ in length depending on the occupation being trained for and the credential earned. The Department of Education provides a curriculum framework for each career education program. The frameworks describe the purpose of the program, structure of the program, length of the program, and the standards covered by the program.  The frameworks are currently organized into various career clusters.

What is the Career Certificate Program?

Career Certificate programs train students in technical skills that enable them to attain and sustain employment and realize economic self-sufficiency. Career certificate programs do not require students to have high school diplomas to enroll, but for programs over 450 contact hours, students must attain a specified score on a basic skills exam to complete the certificate program. Before articulating credit earned in a career certificate program, students must earn the high school diploma or its equivalent.
The top 10 career certificate programs offered by colleges for 2019-20, as reported by the department in terms of enrollment, are listed below.
College Career Certificates Enrollment
Florida Law Enforcement Academy3,504
Fire Fighter I / II1,294
Cosmetology1,065
Correctional Officer876
Welding Technology 781
Practical Nursing573
Fire Fighter479
Cross Over from Correctional Officer to Law Enforcement Officer474
Facials Specialty431
Commercial Vehicle Driving392
Source:  Florida Department of Education data.

What is the Apprenticeship Program?

Apprenticeship is a relatively long (up to five years), highly structured program that provides vocational skill training in a given job through a combination of on-the-job training and classroom instruction. Students enrolled in apprenticeship programs are usually required to have a high school diploma or equivalency. Apprenticeship programs are different than other certificate programs as employers generally initiate and sponsor programs and then may enter into agreements with school districts or state colleges which provide classroom instruction and/or assist with funding. As a result, the sponsor selects the program participants who are exempt from paying registration, matriculation, and lab fees. Additional information about apprenticeship programs can be found on the department's website.

The top 10 college-supported apprenticeship programs for 2019-20, as reported by the department in terms of enrollment, are listed below.

Apprenticeship Enrollment
Electrician    1,598
A/C, Refrigeration, & Heating Technology     394
Plumbing Technology      366
Fire Sprinkler System Technology      308
Industrial Pipefitter     203
Carpentry      38
Culinary Operations      35
Early Childhood Education      34
Sheet Metal Fabrication Technology       31
Roofing      11
Source:  Florida Department of Education data.

What are the Associate in Science (AS) and Associate in Applied Science (AAS)?

Associate in Science (AS) and Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree programs prepare students for entry into the workforce. These programs require students to have a high school diploma or equivalency for admission. The AS degree is awarded to those students who complete all of the required courses for the career and technical program in addition to selected general education classes (i.e., liberal arts and sciences). Selected programs provide for articulation from an AS degree to a bachelor's degree. For an AAS degree, the coursework is more applied than an AS degree, and the degree is not intended to transfer to a bachelor's degree program.

The top 10 college programs for 2019-20, as reported by the department in terms of enrollment, are listed below.

Associate in Science/Applied Science   Enrollment
Nursing (Registered Nurse) 14,711
Business Administration 11,644
Health Services Management   4,839
Criminal Justice Technology   4,755
Computer Information Technology   3,676
Computer Programming and Analysis  3,060
Emergency Medical Services   2,816
Paralegal Studies (Legal Assisting)  2,803
Early Childhood Education   2,627
Accounting Technology  2,157
Source:  Florida Department of Education data.

What are the College Credit Certificate (CCC) and the Applied Technology Diploma (ATD)?

College Credit Certificate (CCC) and the Applied Technology Diploma (ATD) programs are short-term segments of an Associate in Science or Associate in Applied Science degree. The College Credit Certificate program consists of the required technical courses but not general education courses. The Applied Technology Diploma programs provide entry-level courses in a specific area that can be applied toward an AS or AAS degree. The College Credit Certificate program requires students to have a high school diploma or equivalency. If the Applied Technology Diploma is being offered as a college credit program then a high school diploma or equivalency is required for admission, but if it is being offered as a clock hour program then there is no requirement for a high school diploma to enter the program.

The top 10 college programs for 2019-20, as reported by the department in terms of enrollment, are listed below.

College Credit Certificate/Applied Technology Diploma   Enrollment
Business Specialist 7,299
Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) 3,050
Paramedic1,933
Industry Operations Specialist1,895
Business Operations1,168
Medical Information Coder/Biller1,113
Business Management 1,076
Information Technology Support Specialist  739
Computer Programmer  536
Accounting Technology Operations  534
Source:  Florida Department of Education data.

What type of statewide information is available on student outcomes?

The Department of Education and Department of Economic Opportunity provide information on post-graduation employment outcomes for Florida college graduates.
College postsecondary career education program performance measures and standards may be found in the department's Long Range Program Plan.

Updates

The 2021 legislature enacted Chapter 2021-164, Laws of Florida, which includes the following:

  • Establishes a new office, the Office of Reimaging Education and Career Help, within the Executive Office of the Governor, to facilitate alignment and coordination of entities responsible for the state's workforce development system.
  • Requires that the Office of Reimaging Education and Career Help create a no-wrong-door-entry strategy to ensure that individuals are not required to visit multiple locations when seeking access to education and workforce training.
  • Requires the State Board of Education to appoint a Credentials Review Committee to identify training programs to be included on a Master Credentials List and develop a returned-value funding formula that does not penalize the Florida College System if students postpone employment to continue their education. The returned-value funding formula will allocate institution performance funds that reward student job placement and wages for students earning industry certification, with a focus on increasing the economic mobility of underserved populations.
  • Requires an annual review of postsecondary career and technical education offerings to ensure alignment with quality frameworks, the Master Credentials List, institutional performance (including academic achievement, college readiness, credential and certificate attainment, job placement, and wages), as well as checking for unwarranted duplication of programs in the same geographical or service area.
  • Establishes the SAIL to 60 Initiative which provides grants to Florida College System institutions to cover up to two-thirds of the cost of short-term high-demand programs for eligible students upon successful completion and award of a credential of value. 
  • Establishes a Money-Back Guarantee Program which requires Florida College System institutions to refund the cost of tuition to students unable to find a job within six months of successfully completing a selected workforce training program. Performance results of these Money-Back Guarantee programs are required by November 1 of each year.
  • Requires each Florida College System Institution ensure that their student career service center prepares student for employment upon completion of their academic work.  These service centers should also use existing state career planning services to assist with identifying career opportunities, identifying in-demand jobs, understanding the skills and credentials needed for specific jobs, identifying on the job training experiences, and creating a digital resume.
  • Requires the appointment of faculty committees to identify the competencies within general education core courses which demonstrate career readiness and will result in the award of a verifiable and nationally recognized digital credential. These links between general education courses and digital credentials must be identified as part of the institution's catalog for students entering the Florida College System in 2022-23.
  • Requires measuring the return on investment for workforce-related programs offered by Florida College System institutions.
  • Requires the State Board of Education to establish criteria for review and approval of new workforce education programs. Also, these new programs may not receive performance funding or additional FTE funding until the program is approved by the State Board of Education based on criteria that include 1) an analysis of workforce demand for program graduates, 2) the geographic region to be served. New programs must also include articulation agreements between technical centers and Florida College System institutions, with demonstration of alignment between the exit requirements of the technical center with admission requirements of the Florida College System institution and performance indicators to be used to determine the program's success.

Where can I find related OPPAGA reports?

Florida College System Industry Certifications, Report 19-10, October 2019
School District Postsecondary Industry Certifications, Report 19-09, October 2019
Approximately 42% of Nursing Programs Had Licensure Exam Passage Rates Below the Required Legislative Standard in 2016, Report 17-07, June 2017

Where can I get more information?

Whom do I contact for help?

Office of the Chancellor, Career and Adult Education, 850-245-0446, email: CareerandAdultEd@fldoe.org.

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