The Howard County Public School System offers a path for students interested in studying specific career areas while in high school.
Career Clusters encompass a range of careers based on essential economic activities, similar interests, common skills, and training required by those in the field. It is a way to organize teaching and learning to meet the specific needs and resources in broad career areas, grouping similar occupations. Essential knowledge and skills are taught to students in order to graduate fully prepared for further education and careers in the 21st-century global economy.
Click on a cluster for more information.
- Arts, Media and Communication - Includes the Visual Communications Academy with pathways in Graphic Design or Animation.
- Business, Management and Finance - Includes Academy of Finance, Accounting Academy, Business Management Academy, and Marketing Academy.
- Construction and Development - Includes Architectural Design Academy and Construction Management Academy.
- Consumer Services, Hospitality and Tourism - Includes Culinary Science Academy and Hotel & Restaurant Management Academy.
- Health and Biosciences - Includes Biotechnology Academy and the Academy of Health Professions with pathways in Clinical Research in Allied Health, Certified Nursing Assistant, and Emergency Medical Technician.
- Human Resource Services - Includes Child Development Academy, Homeland Security and Emergency Management Academy, and the Teacher Academy.
- Information Technology - Includes Computer Programming Academy and CyberSecurity Networking Academy with pathways in PC Systems and Computer Networking.
- Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology - Includes Pre-Engineering(Project Lead the Way) Academy and Systems and Project Engineering Academy.
- Transportation Technologies - Includes Automotive Technology Academy.
Links to Videos on the Academies (some videos require Windows Media Player to play):
Career Research and Development empowers students to create a vision of their future through quality academic coursework, progressive career development, and appropriate work opportunities. After a battery of interest, aptitude, and personality assessments, students identify their assets and strengths and apply that knowledge as they investigate Howard County Public School System academy programs, careers, and postsecondary options. Students who complete the Career Research and Development Program will have mastered the Skills for Success High School Core Learning Goals: Learning, Thinking, Communication, Technology, and Interpersonal skills. Students will develop an individualized portfolio containing examples of completed assignments and/or special projects representing mastery of the Skills for Success.
What is a Career Academy?
A Career Academy provides an opportunity for a group of students to enroll in a specific set of courses associated with a designated career area. Each Career Academy has the following components:
- A recommended sequence of courses.
- A capstone project, a work site experience, a research project studying careers in the academy area, or some
other experience in which students learn more about the career cluster with which the academy is affiliated.
- A demonstrated need for employees within the Career Cluster.
- An advisory board consisting of business leaders in the Career Cluster.
- Adherence to specific rules established by the school system.
What are the benefits of joining a Career Academy?
Students participating in a Career Academy have a clear path for graduation. Each academy meets all graduation requirements and prepares students for post-secondary education and/or the world of work. While in the academy, students have an opportunity to participate in special activities and events that provide greater awareness of the specific career area and opportunities within that area. Academy participants will be part of a small group of students with similar interests completing courses together. An advisor and business mentor will be provided to answer questions and help each student as they complete their high school experience. Students completing the requirements for the academy will receive a certificate and student transcripts will also identify the student as an academy completer.
How do I become a member of a Career Academy?
Any student may be part of a single Career Academy. To become a member of an academy, simply complete a declaration form available in all guidance offices. Students may join one academy up to the end of tenth grade, as long as all applicable prerequisites are met. After the form is submitted, the student will receive a welcome letter and an appointment with a guidance counselor to develop or revise the student's four-year plan so that the student will be able to successfully complete all requirements listed in this catalog for the Career Academy.
Where are the Career Academies located?
Some academies are located in each local high school, while others are located at the Applications and Research Lab (ARL). If the Career Academy is located at each high school, all coursework will be taught there. Students who participate in an academy located at the ARL will complete all academic and prerequisite coursework at their local high school and will complete the junior and senior level academy courses at the ARL. Bus transportation will be provided daily to and from the ARL.