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Career Academies

  • A Career Academy is an educational structure for students to complete courses as a cohort and move through a Career & Technical Education program of study as a group.  Based on a Career & Technical Education curriculum model, the career academies are built on a pathway theme that leads to post-secondary education or a workforce opportunity.  Academies are designed as smaller learning communities that help students build quality relationship with teachers and other students, while learning professional skills in a career-themed program of study. 

    Cabarrus County Schools partners with the National Academy Foundation (NAF) to provide services for most of the Career Academies in the district.  One academy is independent, but still uses the same structure and assessment process.  All academies follow the same model with a specific career theme.  The four tenets of these academies are listed below.

    Career Academy Structure:

    • Academy Development and Structure
      • Each academy has a career theme.
      • The academy program of study can include multiple pathways.
      • Academy themes are based on career needs found within the local community.


    • Quality Curriculum and Instruction
      • The program of study for an academy is based on a minimum six-course sequence.
      • Students enrolled in an academy will take a Career & Technical Education course six of their eight high school semesters.
      • Each course is designed to build upon the overall theme of the academy.


    • Work-Based Learning Opportunities
      • All academy students are encouraged to complete a work-based learning opportunity.
      • All students can experience job shadowing, internships and/or pre-apprenticeships, during their time in the academy.
      • Internships can be paid or unpaid.


    • Advisory Boards
      • Advisory boards are a vital part of the academy process to provide needed information on industry changes.
      • Although advisory boards are not a governing body, they do provide needed assistance and advice when curriculum changes and updates are needed.
      • Advisory boards help with work-based learning opportunities.


    The Career Academies of Cabarrus County Schools are part of a larger Program Choice process.  Students in the eighth grade can apply for entrance into the academy that aligns with their career interest.  For information concerning the Program Choice options offered in Cabarrus County Schools, please use the following link to learn more. (Program Choice)