Education System

School District Postsecondary Certificate Programs

What is the purpose of District Career Certificate Programs?

The purpose of district career certificate programs is 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.

Florida College System institutions also offer a wide range of career certificate programs.

What types of career certificate programs do school districts offer?

Thirty-nine Florida school districts provide a range of career certificate programs. These include Applied Technology Diploma (ATD), apprenticeship programs, and career certificate (formerly PSAV) programs. Programs differ in length depending on the occupation being trained for and the credential earned. In addition to the standard curriculum, ATD and career certificate programs over 450 contact hours require students to meet a basic skills requirement to complete the program. The Department of Education provides curriculum frameworks for each certificate program. The frameworks describe the program's purpose, structure, and length, as well as the standards the program covers. Sponsors of new apprenticeship programs set the curriculum requirements.

What is the Career Certificate Program?

Postsecondary Career Certificate programs train students in technical skills that enable them to attain and sustain employment and realize economic self-sufficiency. Certificate programs do not require students to have a high school diploma to enroll, but students must attain a specified score on a basic skills exam to complete the program. The top 10 district programs for 2018-19, as reported by the department in terms of enrollment, are listed below.
Postsecondary Career Certificate Programs Enrollment
Practical Nursing 4,159
AC, Refrigeration & Heating Tech2,017
Cosmetology 1,974
Welding Technology 1,895
Medical Assisting 1,731

Professional Culinary Arts & Hospitality

Early Childhood Education 1,441
Automotive Service Technology1,353
Electricity 1,260

Computer Systems and Information Technology

Source:  Department of Education.

What is the Applied Technology Diploma Program?

Applied Technology Diploma (ATD) programs are short-term segments of an associate in science or associate in applied science degree that lead to employment in a specific occupation. The following are diploma program enrollments for 2018-19.
Applied Technology Diploma Programs Enrollment
Emergency Medical Technician (Basic)  519
Medical Coder/Biller  217
Dental Assisting Technology and Management 166
Pharmacy Technician  105
Medical Clinical Laboratory Technician  56
Source:  Department of Education.

How much is tuition for Career Certificate and ATD programs?

According to s. 1009.22(3)(c), Florida Statutes, for Career Certificate and ATD programs school districts are authorized to charge standard tuition of $2.33 per contact hour and an additional $6.99 out-of-state fee per contact hour for non-residents. Program lengths for career certificate programs range from 30 to 2,700 hours. Each district school board is authorized to adopt tuition and out-of-state fee rates within a range of five percent below to five percent above the standard tuition and out-of-state fee rates established by the Florida Legislature. Districts may also charge fees for student financial aid (10% of tuition rate), capital improvement (5% of tuition rate), and technology (5% of tuition rate).

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 its 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 district-supported apprenticeship programs for 2018-19, as reported by the department in terms of enrollment, are listed below. 

Apprenticeship Programs Enrollment
Electrician 3,731
Plumbing Technology 1,281
Air Conditioning, Refrigeration, and Heating Technology 1,050 
Early Childhood Education 642
Structural Steel Work346
Fire Fighter336
Electrical Service Line and Repair 318
Elevator Constructor Mechanic 267
Brick and Block Masonry 226
Source: Department of Education.


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 district certificate program completers.

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?

What are the applicable statutes?

Sections 1004.91 and 1004.92, Florida Statutes.

Whom do I contact for help?

Director, Career and Technical Education Programs, 850-245-9020, email: