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Defining CTE Business Administration Programs

    A new approach to high school business and marketing education ensures program relevance for students, parents, and the business community. As secondary programs focused on clerical skills, retailing, or ad hoc technology continue to dwindle, a more rigorous curricula offers unique opportunities.  Ad hoc courses, created to spur short-term enrollment, such as consumerism (e.g., personal financial literacy or many business law curricula) and high-interest specialties such as sport or fashion marketing, may not contribute to positive positioning in today’s education and business environments.

    Career opportunities abound in business across many industries and specialties, including finance, management, marketing, and entrepreneurship. Although some jobs can be obtained upon high school graduation, many require further education. The Department of Labor (DOL) and other studies indicate that “business” is one of the top two or three employment opportunities. It also is one of the top college majors for new college enrollees. Our students will be best-served by programs designed around rigorous, business-validated standards structured to support meaningful exit points with varying levels of education.

    Positioning for the future. If business/marketing programs are to grow, they must be relevant to administrators, counselors, parents, students, and the business community. A broadly-based approach known as business administration provides curricula focused on core business functions (e.g., finance, management, marketing, operations, etc.). This knowledge and skill base prepares students for employment in any business environment and supports articulated or dual-credit opportunities with postsecondary institutions. A business administration program of study supports strong partnering between traditional business education and marketing education programs and creates unique opportunities for recruiting students with legitimate interest in business careers.

    For the business administration curricula to reach their potential, they require supporting strategies that include:

    • Comprehensive business administration curricula (core business, plus specialties)
    • Rigorous curricula comparable to the STEM initiative
    • Engaging pedagogy heavily oriented to substantive, project-based learning
    • High levels of accountability via proof of learning
    • Programs-of-study (logical, non-duplicative course sequences leading to certification and further education)
    • College connected via multiple credit-granting strategies
    • Work-based learning experiences
    • Consistency with national models to ensure data-based messaging, across districts and states, to position programs with the business community and college admissions officers


    Many research-based tools and processes are in place and readily available, many at no cost, from the not-for-profit MBA Research association of state education departments.

    Best Practice:
    Program of Study

    • Rigorous
    • Standards-based
    • Validated by business
    • Integrated with CTSO
    • Integrated with work-based learning
    • Integrated with academics
    • College-connected
    • Incorporates proof of learning
    • Multiple, related courses:
      • Non-duplicative
      • Logical sequence
    • Perkins-ready



    MBA Research Program-of-Study Kits

    Comprehensive PoS Kits, available free in member states and only $49 elsewhere:

    • 100% standards aligned
    • Multiple versions for 2-, 3-, and 4-year programs
    • Rigorous and challenging: standard, accelerated, honors-ready
    • Course recommendations for high school and college
    • Tools for counselors
    • Incorporates CTSO time