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CTE Leadership Program

Career and technical education administration is one of the most complex positions in public education. The role and responsibilities of the CTE director includes personnel management and human resources, student management and pupil services, fiscal and facilities management, capital improvement efforts, curriculum and instruction leadership, organization development and supervision, effective communication and collaborative skills with multiple stakeholders, understanding public policy, laws, and rules/regulations that govern CTE, and professional and ethical best practices. The CTE Leadership program at Penn State provides candidates with opportunities to be immersed in these critical areas. The relationship between management and leadership skills is a focus in our program. Courses are taught by faculty in the Workforce Education and Development Program who have a wide-range of experiences in CTE and public education, administration, business and industry. Our faculty are researchers who are shaping the field of CTE at the state, regional, and national level. The Penn State University’s WFED Program is nationally ranked and recognized as one of the best programs in the country by U.S. News and World Report.

CTE Leadership Program

Career and technical education administration is one of the most complex positions in public education. The role and responsibilities of the CTE director includes personnel management and human resources, student management and pupil services, fiscal and facilities management, capital improvement efforts, curriculum and instruction leadership, organization development and supervision, effective communication and collaborative skills with multiple stakeholders, understanding public policy, laws, rules/regulations that govern CTE, and professional and ethical best practices. The CTE Leadership program at Penn State provides candidates with opportunities to be immersed in these critical areas.

The relationship between management and leadership skills is a focus in our program. Courses are taught by faculty in the Workforce Education and Development Program who have a wide range of experience in CTE and public education, administration, business and industry. Our faculty are researchers who are shaping the field of CTE at the state, regional, and national level. The Penn State University's WFED Program is nationally ranked and recognized as one of the best programs in the country by U.S. News and World Report.


Director/ Administrative Certification

Penn State's WFED CTE Leadership Program offers the CTE Director certification and M.Ed. degree option program of study in a blended format with on-line classes using telecommunications services. Coursework for the CTE Director certification can be completed in 2 years (4 semesters) and the M.Ed. degree option can be completed in 2-3 years.


Grade Level Scope of Certificate

A person holding a valid PA certificate as a Vocational Education Director is qualified to manage school operations and provide educational leadership in an area vocational-technical school or career and technical center (CTC), grades 7-12.

Certification Assignment

An educator holding a valid Vocational Education Director’s certificate is qualified to provide services required in the operation of any area vocational-technical school or CTC, to include:

  • Serving as a career and technical education instructional leader
  • Supervising and evaluating certificated and non-certificated staff persons required for school operation
  • Addressing strategic planning for fiscal operations and resource and technology management for school building
  • Addressing budget planning and resource allocation
  • Working with academic and career and technical student achievement data to improve educational programming
  • Working with the Pennsylvania Department of Education on Program Approval, Curriculum & Equipment Grants, and the Local Perkins Plan
  • Serving as liaison with member district board members and superintendents
  • Managing communications with the general public and other stakeholders
  • Maintaining a close relationship between the technical center and business/industry partners
  • Working with the latest technological innovations to streamline operations and improve facility operational efficiency


Program of Study 

Candidates for the CTE Director Certificate must qualify for admission to the Graduate School of Penn State.

PSU Grad School Site

Admissions Site

Candidates for the CTE Director Certificate must meet Pennsylvania Department of Education eligibility guidelines if they wish to earn the career and technical education director certificate. Candidates must have a bachelor's degree and meet relevant vocational education teaching experience requirements of Pennsylvania certification regulations: Three (3) years of Vocational Administrative Director.

Candidates for the CTE Director Certification must complete the ETS Praxis series School Leaders Assessment (SLLA) examination. Please see Pennsylvania specific SLLA PRAXIS examination information.

For the list of courses, please see the program of study page for Director/Administrative Certification.

Pathways to CTE Directors Certificate with WFED Degree Options


For those in Vocational Instructional II Certificate with a Baccalaureate Degree

a.) 24 credit hour CTE Directors Certificate is reduced to 18 credit hours

Courses: WFED 508, 528, 538, 529, and EDLDR 576

Internships: WFED 595B-1, 595B-2, 595B-3

b.) 24 credit hour CTE Directors Certificate as outlined above + 12 credit hours for WFED M.Ed.

Additional Courses: STAT 500 or WFED 540, WFED 414, WFED 596, EDLDR 559

For those with Baccalaureate Degree and 3 Years of professional experience in CTE

a.) 24 credit hour CTE Directors Certificate

b.) 24 credit hour CTE Directors Certificate + 12 credit hours for WFED M.Ed.


For those with Master's Degree and 3 Years of professional experience in CTE

a.) 24 credit hour CTE Directors Certificate

b.) WFED Ph.D. option for those wanting the CTE Directors Certificate

1) 60+ credit hours to include the 24 credit hours CTE Leadership for CTE Directors certificate

c.) WFED Ph.D. options for those already holding the CTE Directors certificate

1) 60+ credit hours to include combined WFED and related coursework for Ph.D. degree

Admissions Process

For Pre-Determination of service based on the PDE requirement for the Director's Certificate, please contact Staci Lynch at: sml91@psu.edu or 814-863-0805. REQUIRED

Materials to be submitted:

1. CTE Directors Certification Application Form

2. Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV)

3. Endorsement letter from a career and technical education administrator (i.e., CTC director) expressing their willingness to support the applicant and mentor them in program required CTE administrative internships.

*Please contact Dr. Michael Harvey mwh10@psu.edu regarding this requirement if there are any questions.

*all applicants must meet background checks and clearances to work in PA schools.

Many US states and territories require professional licensure/certification to be employed. If you plan to pursue employment in a licensed profession after completing this program, please visit the Professional Licensure/Certification Disclosure by State interactive map.

Please submit application materials  and OFFICIAL UNOPENED transcripts to:

Staci M. Lynch

c/o Director's Certification

Workforce Education and Development

409J Keller Building

University Park, Pa 16802

Email: sml91@psu.edu

Phone: 814.863.0805

CTE Leadership Program Contact

Michael W. Harvey, Ph.D.

Professor of Education

Workforce Education and Development

411 C Keller Building

 Penn State University

University Park, Pa 16802

Phone: 814.867.2652

Fax: 814.865.0128

Email: mwh10@psu.edu