In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Vocational/Career and Technical Education

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Comprehensive Journals and Magazines
  • Subject Area Journals and Magazines
  • Teacher Preparation
  • Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment
  • Agricultural Education
  • Business and Marketing Education
  • Family and Consumer Sciences Education
  • Trade and Industrial Education/Technology Education/Engineering Education
  • Professional Organizations
  • Research Centers
  • Student Organizations
  • International Agencies
  • International Agencies (Country Specific)
  • United States Federal Government Agencies

Education Vocational/Career and Technical Education
Chris Zirkle, Jay Plasman
  • LAST REVIEWED: 26 May 2021
  • LAST MODIFIED: 26 May 2021
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756810-0068


Vocational/career and technical education has historically been known as “education for work.” It has focused on providing learners with the skills and knowledge needed to successfully transition to the workplace. The present vocational-technical education system in the United States is broad and complex, spanning many grade levels, subject areas, and educational institutions. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries the system also has evolved from being initially focused on entry-level job preparation to include adult retraining programs, college preparatory coursework, postsecondary options and programs, and many other options. This complexity is confounded by the broader educational system in the United States, which leaves decisions regarding vocational and career and technical education programming largely to each of the states. Despite these challenges, vocational and career and technical education continues to be a key component of the overall education system in the United States. In addition, with the rapidly changing context of work and the need for a skilled, adaptable workforce, the US vocational and technical education system will continue to hold a vital role in the US economy. Vocational education, referred to in many other countries as technical vocational education and training (TVET), also plays a significant role in educational systems across the globe. In many countries TVET has a more centralized focus than in the United States and does not have to contend with the different state structures found in the United States. In developed countries such as Australia, Germany, Great Britain, and South Korea, TVET is a key to economic prosperity, while in developing countries TVET is seen as a key to economic self-sufficiency.

General Overviews

The works in this section provide a general overview of vocational and technical education from both US and international perspectives. Gordon 2020, Miller 1985, Prosser and Quigley 1949, and Venn 1964 provide historical and philosophical views of vocational and technical education in the United States from different time periods, while Barabasch and Rauner 2012 and Scott 2014 give excellent perspectives on the different program areas and issues within vocational and technical education. Maclean and Wilson 2009, Pilz 2012, Pilz 2017, and Rauner and Maclean 2009 provide comprehensive views of vocational and technical education across the globe.

  • Barabasch, Antje, and Felix Rauner, eds. 2012. Work and education in America: The art of integration. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

    A comprehensive academic volume on vocational education and training (VET) or career and technical education (CTE) in the United States, which features insights into a variety of issues. Provides an up-to-date synthesis with a critical analysis of the relevant history, philosophy, governance, legislation, and organizational structures of the field in the United States.

  • Gordon, Howard R. D. 2020. The history and growth of career and technical education in America. 5th ed. Long Grove, IL: Waveland.

    Relevant, up-to-date synthesis of the history, philosophy, legislation, and organizational and curricular structure of career and technical education in the United States. Examines the current issues that shape the role of career and technical education in the global, technology-driven economy and issues and trends that will impact the future of the field.

  • Maclean, Rupert, and David N. Wilson, eds. 2009. International handbook of education for the changing world of work. 6 vols. New York: Springer.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4020-5281-1

    Covers the latest practice in technical and vocational education and training. Presents models from all over the world, reflections on innovative practice, and case studies. Includes the work of established and promising researchers and features comprehensive coverage of developments in research, policy, and practice.

  • McGrath, Simon, Martin Mulder, Joy Papier, and Rebecca Suart, eds. 2019. Handbook of vocational education and training: Developments in the changing world of work. 2 vols. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.

    Two-volume set examines nine critical areas of vocational education and training, including the changing world of work, skills for sustainable human development, planning and reforming skills systems, private training markets, vocational learning, competence and excellence, measuring learning and instructional performance, supporting learners, and vocational education and training (VET) teacher/trainer education.

  • Miller, Melvin. 1985. Principles and a philosophy for vocational education. Columbus: National Center for Research in Vocational Education, Ohio State Univ.

    Provides a set of principles to state preferred practices to serve as guidelines for programs and curriculum, instruction and evaluation. Postulates philosophy to provide a conceptual framework for vocational education to guide future decision-making and policy development.

  • Pilz, Matthias, ed. 2012. The future of vocational education and training in a changing world. Wiesbaden, Germany: Springer.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-3-531-18757-0

    Volume comprised of thirty individual contributions providing a comprehensive overview of early-21st-century issues in vocational education and training, its strengths and weaknesses, and its prospects. Vocational education and training experts from Canada, the United States, India, China, Japan, and Korea, as well as from a number of European countries are featured.

  • Pilz, Matthias, ed. 2017. Vocational education and training in times of economic crisis. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.

    Volume comprised of twenty-six individual contributions revealing how youth in transition is affected by economic crises. Provides essential insights into the strengths and weaknesses of the various systems and prospects of VET in contexts ranging from North America to Europe (e.g., Spain, Germany, or the United Kingdom) to Asia (such as China, Thailand, and India).

  • Pilz, Matthias, and Junmin Li, eds. 2020. Comparative vocational education research: Enduring challenges and new ways forward. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.

    Edited volume of eighteen chapters focused on research of comparative vocational education and training.

  • Prosser, Charles A., and T. H. Quigley. 1949. Vocational education in a democracy. Chicago: American Technical Society.

    Seminal text first published in 1925. Reexamines the role of vocational education in US society. A comprehensive examination of all aspects of the discipline, including theories of vocational education, vocational education for youth and adults, federal involvement in vocational education, and the training of vocational education teachers.

  • Rauner, Felix, and Rupert Maclean, eds. 2009. Handbook of technical and vocational education and training research. New York: Springer.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4020-8347-1

    Provides a comprehensive coverage of technical and vocational education and training research in an international context with special focus on research and research methods. Focuses include early research, policy research, planning and practice, individual disciplines of vocational education, case studies, and research methods.

  • Scott, John. 2014. Overview of career and technical education. 5th ed. Chicago: American Technical.

    Broad overview of career and technical education and information on current federal legislation. Also includes material covering the roles of teachers, guidance counselors, and administrators in career and technical education programs and material on dual enrollment programs and career academies and how these programs prepare students for the workforce.

  • Venn, Grant. 1964. Man, education, and work: Post secondary vocational and technical education. Washington, DC: American Council on Education.

    Following passage of the Vocational Education Act of 1963, describes the long-standing neglect of vocational and technical education, examines the historical development of the discipline, and posits new opportunities for growth. An assessment of the manpower needs of the American workplace and vocational and technical education’s role in those requirements.

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