Career and Technical Student Organizations

Career and technical student organizations (CTSOs) is one of 12 elements of high-quality CTE, defined in ACTE’s comprehensive, research-based Quality CTE Program of Study Framework. This element addresses CTSOs, which are organizations for individuals enrolled in CTE programs that engage in activities as an integral part of the instructional program, including the delivery and availability of CTSO opportunities for student skill and leadership development. The following reports, articles, guides and toolkits can help you develop and support high-quality CTSOs.

CTSO Activities

CTSO Activities

Expanding Career Readiness Through Career Technical Student Organizations
ACTE, June 2011

CTSOs help students develop academic, technical and employability skills and achieve educational attainment.

The Power of CTSOs
Young, ACTE Techniques Magazine, February 2014

Two young women relate how DECA shaped their lives.

Looking Inside the Black Box: The Value Added by Career and Technical Student Organizations to Students’ High School Experience
Alfeld et. al, National Research Center for CTE, June 2007

This research finds a positive association between CTSO participation and academic motivation, academic engagement, grades, career self-efficacy, college aspirations and employability skills. The authors discuss the benefits of CTSO participation for a larger and more heterogeneous group of students.

A Study on Successful Techniques of DECA Chapters in Competitive Events at the District, State and National Levels
Huff, University of Wisconsin-Stout, 2003

This thesis describes how to best prepare students for success in DECA competitions.

Student Perceptions of Selected Technology Student Association Activities
Taylor, Journal of Technology Education, 2006

This study offers insight to teachers on the use of Technology Student Association activities in the classroom.

CTSO Access and Equity

CTSO Access and Equity

Recruiting for Your CTSO
Faulkner, ACTE Techniques Magazine, February 2018

Techniques for recruiting CTSO participants include letters to students and parents, reviews from former students, community outreach and social media.

Making an Impact: How CTSOs Support Students in Poverty
Saed and Scates-Winston, ACTE Techniques Magazine, September 2017

CTSO advisers can recognize and support students in poverty by creating a safe space, knowing your community’s resources and more.

Overcoming Barriers: Supporting Nontraditional, Underserved and Special Populations
Minnesota Foundation for Student Organizations, 2014 

This publication describes a competitive grant process to address discrepancies in access to and participation in career and technical student organizations

Benefits of Career and Technical Student Organizations’ on Female and Racial Minority Students’ Psychosocial and Achievement Outcomes ($)
Aragon, Alfeld and Hansen, Career and Technical Education Research, 2013

Research findings reveal that CTSO and CTE experiences provide benefits above those offered through general education alone, particularly for girls and students of color.

Perceptions of FCCLA as Reported by Advising and Non-Advising Family and Consumer Sciences Teachers
Alexander, Davis and Pierce, Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences Education, 2015

This journal article presents barriers to Family and Consumer Sciences teachers in Texas high schools becoming advisers of FCCLA and affiliating chapters of FCCLA in schools.

Guides, Toolkits and Profiles

Guides, Toolkits and Profiles

CTSO Guide to Accessing Federal Perkins Funds: For the Support of Career and Technical Student Organizations
Fiscus and Hyslop, 2008

This publication summarizes the references to CTSOs in the Perkins IV legislation, including in accountability, state and local plans, and state and local required and permitted uses of funds.

CTSO State Profiles
National Coordinating Council for CTSOs

The State CTSO Profiles explain the value, reach and impact of CTSOs within each state. These were developed for each state, with custom messages and a detailed report showing the CTSO membership by chapter within each congressional district.

CTSO-specific Resources

These guides help advisers with developing, recruiting and managing chapters for eight of the national CTSOs.