Career Pathways… What’s the Deal?


CTAE pathways have become an important aspect of most North Forsyth students’ experiences. However, North Forsyth’s student pathways could have more diversity and be more specialized. Photo by Cynda Allen.

Career, Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) pathways have become an important aspect of most North Forsyth students’ experiences. Popular career pathways include Healthcare, Marketing, JROTC and Computer Science. These career pathways introduce students into potential career fields and connect students into engaging CTAE organizations such as HOSA, DECA and FBLA.


Career pathways are a source of enjoyment for many North Forsyth students. Senior Jennifer Dunn is a part of the healthcare science pathway and is currently taking Sports Medicine. Being in the healthcare pathway has helped her “experience what [she’s] going to [do] in the future” and “[improve her] employee skills.”


However, North Forsyth’s student pathways could have more diversity and be more specialized, especially in comparison to other high schools in the county. Here are some suggestions for some future career-technical pathways that North Forsyth can introduce in the future (in no particular order):



Journalism is categorized as a Fine Arts Pathway instead of a career pathway (Shutterstock).

Being a student journalist, this suggestion may come off as biased. Journalism is under the Fine Arts pathway, next to pathways such as Choir, Band and Yearbook. Although journalism has a fine arts tie to it with its focus on writing and photography, journalism is a legitimate career field that some of our former journalism students have intended to major in. 


Journalism as a career field pathway would have the same courses and structure as our current journalism class. Unlike other pathways, it wouldn’t make sense for journalism to have a certifying test. Instead, journalism should have a capstone project where student journalists research and conduct a project about a community issue to get their diploma seal. The structure can be similar to the International Skills Diploma project, which I am currently doing for Spanish.



Government-related courses should be introduced earlier to North students (Dreamstime). 

Mock trial, student council and debate are a couple of activities that aspiring government officials could participate in at North Forsyth. However, the three government-related courses that students can take–AP U.S. Government and Politics, AP Macroeconomics and AP Economics–are offered senior year. This is especially later if students are considering careers in public administration or business, then realize that they may not like those entry courses.


Instead, I propose that a hypothetical government and public administration pathway be introduced at North. Pathway courses can be structured similarly to Alliance, with courses such as Intro to Government, Government Issues and others. A capstone project for the government pathway would also be similar to the International Skills Diploma project. Government students can discuss how being in the government pathway has impacted their involvement in mock trial, student council, or other government-esque activities.


Business, Management & Administration

North Forsyth should have some more business-fundamental courses, such as communications or finance (iStock).

Yes, I know what you may be thinking with this title. Don’t we have a marketing pathway at North? Why would we need business courses here? But you already answered the question–there aren’t any business courses here, only marketing courses. 


So, I’m the Vice President of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), and I’m heavily considering a career in business and international relations. But, there are no business classes in the FBLA pathway–only computer science courses. According to Shannon Rush’s website (the AP Computer Science teacher and FBLA advisor), there used to be business classes here like Business Communications, Accounting, the whole deal. But now there’s none.


For this one, I’m not really proposing a brand new pathway, but rather an addition to the computer science courses under the business pathway for FBLA students. Unlike government and journalism, there are many business-related certifications ranging from Google Certifications to Human Resource Certifications online, so those can supplement a final end-of-course test.


Architecture & Construction

Architecture, as a topic, can be introduced into some of our engineering pathways (Pinterest).

Now, this career pathway shouldn’t actually be its own pathway. Architecture is in its own niche area related to STEM and engineering, so it should be treated as such to a certain extent. For this field, it would be a great idea to add a class or topics to the engineering pathway so that students can get a basis of architecture along with their STEM courses.


Of course, these are a couple of suggestions for potential pathways. Hopefully, North Forsyth will either create these pathways or incorporate elements of these hypothetical pathways into pre-existing ones in the future.