Career Clusters and Programs of Study

Career Clusters are broad occupational organizing tool defining education for post-secondary education and careers using 16 broad clusters of occupations and 79 pathways with validated standards that ensure opportunities for all students regardless of their career goals and interests.


Robin Kroyer-Kubicek
Skills Standards Administrator
Phone: 608-266-2022

Denise Byrd
Office Operations Associate
Phone: 608-267-2274


Career Clusters are a tool for a seamless educational system that:

  • blends rigorous academic/technical preparation
  • provides career development
  • offers options for students to experience all aspects of a business or industry
  • facilitates/assists students and educators with ongoing transitions


Career Clusters

  • provide a framework for continuing contemporary, high-quality programs
  • provide a framework for seamless education
  • provide more career options for students
  • provide a framework for organizing and reorganizing the delivery of career and technical education and needed 21st Century Skills
  • provide understanding of knowledge and skill transfer and verification of qualification


Career Cluster Framework

The cluster/pathway framework supports ongoing efforts to move from vocational education to career and technical education.

  • Cluster Core Level--Skills and knowledge all students need within the cluster
  • Pathway Level--Skills and knowledge necessary to pursue a full range of career opportunities within a pathway
  • Career Specialties--Represents the full range of career opportunities within each path


Career Pathways

A career pathway is a coherent, articulated sequence of rigorous academic and career related courses, commencing in ninth grade and leading to an associate degree, and/or an industry-recognized certificate or licensure, and/or a baccalaureate and beyond. A career pathway...

  • is developed, implemented and maintained in partnership among secondary and postsecondary education, business, and employers.
  • is available to all students, including adult learners, and designed to lead to rewarding careers.


Career Specialties

  • training for specific jobs or occupations
  • knowledge and skill statements for this level would be created by industry standards and verified by business and industry representatives
  • Represents the full range of career opportunities within each path


National Career Cluster Framework Career Clusters in Wisconsin Resources

Career Clusters at a Glance

National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc)

National Research Center for Career and Technical Education (NRCCTE)

National Career Pathways Network (NCPN)


Listing of Career Clusters and Pathways in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Career Pathways Website

2008 - 2015 POS Overview

A Guide for Implementing Programs of Study in Wisconsin (links revised 5/7/13)

2014 - 2015 CPA Application

Implementing Career Clusters & Pathways

Curriculum Crosswalk (pdf)

Ten Components of a Rigorous Program of Study (pdf)

POS Workshops in Wisconsin





For questions about this information, contact Robin Kroyer-Kubicek (608) 266-2022