Last year, Comal ISD students earned as many as 438 industry-based certifications (IBC), giving them the opportunity to step into real-world jobs right out of high school. That’s more than double the number of certifications earned during the previous school year.
Students, through the district’s expanding Career and Technical Education (CTE) initiative, can earn IBCs in a variety of fields including: business; health science; information technology; hospitality; and transportation. An IBC is a verification of a student’s knowledge, qualifications and competence in a certain skillset for an industry. IBCs, which are monitored by the Texas Education Agency, may allow students to get a job in their preferred field after they graduate from high school or help them qualify for advanced college courses.
“Our long list of CTE courses challenge and prepare our kids for occupations as they leave high school or for future opportunities,” says Renee Martinez, Comal ISD’s director of Career Readiness. “Even better, the district covers the cost of these certification tests, which may range from $30 to $600 depending on the test.
In many cases, students may need to take multiple courses to develop the skills and knowledge they need to take and pass an IBC test.
Most of the certifications earned by students in 2020-21 were achieved in: Arts, AV Technology and Communications; Health Science; Business, Marketing and Finance, and Auto Tech. After earning a certification, students in these fields may qualify for jobs as graphic design associates, health professionals, small business entrepreneurs, mechanics and more.
The high number of IBCs were achieved despite the challenges presented by the pandemic.
“Whether it was remote or in-person learning, our teachers pushed our kids to study and earn these valuable credentials,” says Martinez.
In addition to CTE courses and IBCs, Comal ISD also offers students are variety of “local course” certifications. These courses may include CPR and basic life skills. Students also can earn a food handler’s license, a hunter’s license or a boater’s license.