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The Latest in Career and College Prep Opportunities

February 23rd, 2018

HCPSS students can explore their interests and prepare for college and careers through a wide range of programs. In honor of Career and Technology Education CTE Month, HCPSS highlights opportunities available throughout the school system.


Middle and high school students can take CTE courses to develop the skills, knowledge and training necessary to succeed in future careers and become lifelong learners.

At the high school level, students can join a Career Academy to prepare for college and entry-level employment in specific career areas. Immersion in a subject area, through specialized coursework and hands-on experiences, enables students to explore their desired field while gaining practical skills and contacts that can prove invaluable to future success.

New Academies

Next year, HCPSS will launch two new Career Academies to prepare students for opportunities in Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning (HVAC) and Agricultural Science. These academies respond to community interest and reflect growth in employment opportunities available in these areas.

Cutting Edge Technology

Architectural Design Academy and Animation and Interactive Media Academy students are among the first in the nation to experience virtual and augmented reality learning opportunities thanks to a grant from the Bright Minds Foundation and Brendan Iribe, Oculus VR co-founder and HCPSS alumnus.

Career Research and Development

Career Research and Development (CRD) Career Academy students learn skills focused on effective career planning, career decision-making, goal setting, financial literacy and college readiness. In the classroom, students identify career interests and aptitudes, and learn and practice job skills, then they can apply those skills in an employment setting.

As of this year, CRD students have the opportunity to participate in the Student Apprenticeship Pathways electrician program, developed with Independent Electrical Contractors and Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. The electrician program, the first of its kind in the state, allows students to acquire credentials while in high school, and shows great promise for expansion through additional fields and partner organizations.

Project Lead the Way

The Engineering: Project Lead the Way academy program introduces students to the scope, rigor and disciplines of engineering through specialized coursework combined with traditional mathematics and science courses. The academy focuses on principles of engineering, digital electronics, computer-integrated manufacturing, and a capstone course in which students design and build solutions to authentic engineering problems.

Teacher Academy of Maryland

The Teacher Academy of Maryland is designed for students who want to explore a career as an elementary, middle or high school teacher. Students in the academy conduct formal observations, develop and deliver lesson plans in a K-12 setting, and participate in special events and activities. Students who complete this academy have the opportunity for scholarships and college credits at seven Maryland colleges/universities through statewide articulation agreements.


JumpStart expands dual college credit opportunities for all students, giving them a head start in earning a college degree at a greatly reduced cost and time. Supports are provided to ensure that students at all achievement levels may participate and succeed. Expanded dual enrollment programs at Oakland Mills and River Hill high schools enable many more students to participate.

Career Education and Experiences for Students with Individualized Education Plans

Several programs prepare students receiving special education services for meaningful employment.

Gifted and Talented (G/T) Research Program

The G/T Research Program includes two college-level courses, Independent Research and Intern/Mentor, in which students design an original research study or creative production in a self-selected area of interest.

G/T Independent Research

As part of G/T Independent Research, students receive instruction in primary and secondary research methodologies, college-level writing, and presentation techniques from the G/T resource teacher, as well as professional guidance in the field of study from a project advisor.

G/T Intern/Mentor Program

Students–with the support of professional mentors–apply, create and evaluate specialized knowledge to contribute to the larger community through the G/T Intern/Mentor Program.

Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC)

The JROTC provides a citizenship, service, character and leadership development program for high school students. The instruction prepares high school students for leadership roles while making them aware of their rights, responsibilities and privileges as American citizens through rigorous instruction and hands-on activities.

Rising Women

JA Rising Women, a Junior Achievement of Central Maryland program, is a unique after-school opportunity for female high school students living in Howard County who are interested in exploring their entrepreneurial potential. Under the guidance of businesswomen in Howard County who serve as mentors, JA Rising Women participants conceptualize an idea for a product or service, capitalize the venture, market the offerings, and reap the profits.