Career Technical Education

Career and Technical Education (CTE) is one of the key areas within SBUSD where students can explore their passions and develop professional skills that will serve them for the rest of their lives. In total, about 12.5 million high school and college students are enrolled in CTE across the nation. There are over 3,000 secondary students in our district participating in CTE courses, and interest in our programs is growing every year. CTE programs foster  communication, collaboration, technical and leadership skills through group work, field trips, and mentorship/internship opportunities. CTE provides all learners for the world of work by introducing them to workplace competencies and makes academic content accessible to students by providing it in a hands-on context. Studies show that CTE supports students of all types and all backgrounds - CTE is good for all learners. The mission of SBUSD CTE is to make school valuable to students by linking learning today to their future tomorrow.

SB Unified currently offers 17 career technical education pathways within 8 industry sectors. There are CTE Programs in our three comprehensive high schools (Dos Pueblos High School, San Marcos High School, Santa Barbara High School) and at three of our junior high schools (Goleta Valley Junior High School, LaCumbre Junior High School, Santa Barbara Junior High School). SBUSD CTE also includes two California Partnership Academies; the Multi-media Art and Design Academy (MAD) and the Visual Art and Design Academy (VADA), both at Santa Barbara High School. Santa Barbara High School hosts the Computer Science Academy; San Marcos High School hosts the Health Careers Academy, and Dos Pueblos High School hosts the DP Engineering Academy, and there are additional pathways at each school site as well.

San Marcos Culinary
MAD Filmmaking
All of our CTE courses are taught by teachers with CTE or Industrial Technology credentials, and provide students with sequenced courses. As of this year, all high school CTE courses are approved for UC a-g credit. Additionally, our CTE enrollment has increased over the past four years, as has the number of CTE completers we have, district-wide. Completers are students who have participated in 300 or more hours of sequenced, skill-based instruction in their industry sector, passing their courses with a C- or higher, and finishing a ‘capstone’ course. In the Santa Barbara Unified School District, some students are able to become pathway completers upon graduation by taking two sequenced courses in their industry pathway, while some pathways as many as eight courses. Students achieving completer status is a component of the CA Dashboard College and Career Readiness Indicators, and a useful data point when having conversations about how we are serving students.

How to connect with Santa Barbara Unified School District CTE Staff:

Career and Technical Education Showcase

The Santa Barbara Unified School District High School Showcase is a special event that takes place every November. Held at the Earl Warren Showgrounds, the Showcase provides an opportunity for Career and Technical Education programs, Visual and Performing Arts, PEAVC/AVID, Middle College, and other elective offerings to 'showcase' what they do. Each high school puts together booths and exhibits for their programs, and high school students build and host the exhibits. All eighth grade students in the SBUSD (approximately 1500) are brought to the Earl Warren Showgrounds by bus, so they can move around the exhibit hall, learn about the programs they could participate in during high school, and connect with older students who can tell them about their experiences and invite them to learn more. In the evening, the Showcase opens up to parents and the public, and attendance at the event has typically been over 2,000 guests. The Showcase is strategically held in November so that when the course selection process begins in December, all students have had some experience to reflect on when they choose their classes and their high school. 

Career and Technical Education in Santa Barbara Unified

To learn more about specific CTE programs, click on the "Programs by School" link.


How to achieve College and Career Readiness through Career Technical Education (CTE)

Career Technical Education (CTE) pathway completion with a grade of C- or better in the capstone class plus one of the following:

  • Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) Dual Enrollment Credit with a C- grade or higher
  • Smarter Balance Summative Assessment (SBAC) with a score of 3 or more in English Language Arts (ELA) or math and a score of level 2 or more in ELA or math.

Career and Technical Education Industry Sectors

Arts, Media and Entertainment
DPMedia Pathway – Dos Pueblos High School
Multimedia Arts & Design Academy (MAD) – Santa Barbara High School
Visual Arts & Design Academy (VADA) – Santa Barbara High School

Building Trades and Construction
Construction Technology Pathway
Dos Pueblos High School, Santa Barbara High School, San Marcos High School

Education, Child Development and Family Services
Education Pathway – San Marcos High School

Engineering and Architecture
Engineering Academy – Dos Pueblos High School

Health Science and Medical Technology
Health Careers Academy – San Marcos High School
Sports Medicine Pathway – Dos Pueblos High School, Santa Barbara High School

Hospitality, Tourism and Recreation
Culinary Arts Pathway – Dos Pueblos High School, Santa Barbara High School, San Marcos High School

Information and Communication Technologies
Computer Science Academy – Santa Barbara High School
Computer Science Pathway – Dos Pueblos High School, San Marcos High School

Marketing, Sales and Services
Entrepreneurship Academy – San Marcos High School

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