Investigating the Relationship Between Career and Technical Education High School Course-Taking and Early Job Outcomes
This study examined how high school course-taking patterns (characterized by CTE concentration, academic concentration, or no concentration), personal characteristics embedded in a social cognitive theory framework (e.g., self-efficacy, academic expectations), and contextual variables (e.g., parental expectations, socioeconomic status) interact in the prediction of students' income and job satisfaction eight years after high school graduation. Using a nationally representative data set, the study found significant differences by sex and course-taking pattern in the prediction of income: Among men, CTE concentrators had the highest income; among women, academic concentrators reported the greatest earnings. In addition, socioeconomic status significantly moderated the effect of English self-efficacy and academic expectations in predicting income and job satisfaction. The findings highlight how a social cognitive framework can be used to investigate the links between high school course-taking, personal and contextual factors, and job outcomes.