Frequently Asked Questions about Online Career Prep
What is Stride Career Prep?
Stride Career Prep is a program offered at select Stride K12-powered online public and private schools that teach students what they need for a bright future. In addition to core academic courses required for graduation, career-focused electives allow high school students to explore different career fields and gain skills that can help them be successful in the workplace and in college. Whether they intend to go to college, are already working in their chosen career field, or plan to start a career right out of high school, Stride Career Prep can combine their passion and interests with what they'll need to compete for jobs in high-demand fields.
What is career education or career technical education?
Career education prepares your student for a career after school. Stride Career Prep is Stride K12’s approach to career education. Expanding upon traditional vocational education curriculums, Stride Career Prep includes in-demand fields such as business, information technology, and health science.
Why should I enroll my student in a school with Stride Career Prep?
Some students know what they want to do after high school and taking career prep courses can give them a head start. Others may not know what they want to do, and through Stride Career Prep, can explore different occupations and career fields to figure out their interests. Others simply enjoy taking courses that they find relevant to everyday life. Stride Career Prep helps students master professional skills such as teamwork, project management, and leadership, which are needed to succeed on the job or in college.
What are career fields and career pathways?
A "career field" is a broad term for an industry classification. For instance, two Stride Career Prep fields are Information Technology and Manufacturing. As part of our curriculum structure, career fields are further subdivided into "pathways," which are specializations within that career field. For example, Pharmacy Technician is a pathway under the Health and Human Service career field.
Is Stride Career Prep different from homeschool?
Stride K12 as a company provides options for home-based education, but not all of those options are the same as traditional homeschooling. Traditional homeschooling means that parents choose the curriculum and hold the responsibility for instructing their children. While Stride offers options for homeschooling curriculums for purchase, they also offer full-time, education options like Stride K12-powered, tuition-free public schools that have set curriculum and state-certified teachers like traditional public schools. Some of these schools offer the Stride Career Prep program. K12 Private Academy also offers a tuition-based option for Stride Career Prep, either as a full-time program or a part-time, more flexible opportunity where students can stay at their local school while adding career courses and other activities to their existing schedule.
How much does it cost to attend a Stride K12-powered school?
It varies, depending on your needs and location. Stride K12-powered online public schools are available in many states, tuition-free. Stride K12 also powers a selection of private school options, each with its own fee structure. K12 Private Academy offers a part-time, more flexible option where students can stay at their local school and add in Stride Career Prep courses and activities. There are also supplementary and independent homeschool classes available for direct purchase. Check schools in your area for where the Stride Career Prep program is offered.
Can students stay enrolled at their local school and still participate in Stride Career Prep?
Students can stay at their local school and add Stride Career Prep into their existing schedules through K12 Private Academy’s part-time option. This tuition-based opportunity lets students take career electives, prepare for industry certification exams, plus get access to support services like internships, networking opportunities, and career clubs while completing their local curriculum. Please note, there is a fee associated with this more flexible Stride Career Prep option.
Can students change their selected career pathways?
Yes! We understand that as students explore different options in a career readiness education program, they sometimes choose to change their pathway to fit their career goals. Stride Career Prep helps them to explore different occupations and find the career pathway that interests them the most.
Is Stride Career Prep part of the required credits that are needed for high school graduation?
The Stride Career Prep program is not required for graduation. Some courses may fulfill elective requirements, and therefore, may count toward graduation requirements. Check with your school counselor for specific details.
Will students receive a high school diploma?
Yes. Students graduating from a Stride K12-powered school receive a high school diploma.
Will students earn any certifications or credentials?
Stride Career Prep prepares students to take one or more industry-recognized certification exams, depending on the selected career pathway and how many courses they successfully complete.†
Why would my student need an industry-recognized certificate or a credential?
An industry-recognized certification is one way your student can demonstrate to college admission officers and employers that they're ready and able to do the work required to be successful and have technical expertise in a particular field. Most certifications require students to take an exam to show that they're knowledgeable in the content learned throughout their course of study. Exam requirements may also include a hands-on component. Test preparation is a part of Stride Career Prep, which supports students in their efforts to obtain the hands-on/practicum that they’ll need to be prepared for the certification exam.
Who issues the certificate or credential?
It depends on the certification or credential. For example, issuers include Adobe®, Microsoft®, NOCTI®, and ACTE®.†
Is there a certification exam?
Yes, most certifications require students to take an exam to show that they're knowledgeable in the content learned throughout their course of study. Exam requirements may also include a hands-on component. Test preparation is a part of Stride Career Prep.†
How can my student prepare for a certification exam?
Stride Career Prep prepares students for pathway-specific careers and certification exams. Most career pathways consist of four to six specialized courses followed by some work-based experience. Typically, students need to be in a pathway for two years to complete these specialized courses (in addition to core subjects). Certain certifications, such as Adobe® Photoshop or Microsoft® Excel, can be obtained after completion of a single course. †
How much do certification exams cost?
Exam fees vary and may be paid for by the school. Students should check with their counselor for details.
Does my student need an internship to graduate?
No, they do not need an internship to graduate. However, a hands-on component may be required to complete certification requirements and prepare for certification exams.†
How often do classes meet?
Students have live, online teacher-led sessions, called Class Connects, regularly each week. The number of Class Connects a student is required to attend depends on the course and the progress they are making in the course.
How do students contact their teachers?
Students can contact their teachers during Class Connects or at any time by email. In addition, many teachers offer additional ways to communicate. Students should check with their teachers for their preferred method.
What is a typical day like?
A typical school day will vary depending on the student's grade, course load, and chosen career pathway. In general, students can expect a mix of individual coursework, teacher-led instruction, assessments, and project collaboration with other students. This learning environment prepares students for the modern workforce they will enter in the future. Please visit A Day in the Life to see how Stride K12-powered students spend their day.
What are professional skills and why are they important?
Professional skills are also referred to as transferable skills, interpersonal skills, soft skills, or social skills. These are the skills that employers look for when hiring. Examples include teamwork, collaboration, presentation and communication skills, problem solving, creative thinking, and leadership. Professional skills may include nearly any ability that pertains to the way a person approaches others or handles their professional life.
Do all the career pathways have the same number of credits? Is there a list of all the courses within each career pathway?
The number of courses will vary depending on the pathway. For details on a particular pathway course sequence offered at a school, students should speak with their counselor.*
Do Stride K12-powered schools hold graduation ceremonies?
Yes. Each Stride-K12 powered school has a graduation ceremony.
What is a career and technical student organization (CTSO)?
A CTSO is a career club, where students with similar career interests connect, collaborate, and even compete against other schools. Participation in these student-led organizations can help students build teamwork, communications and leadership skills, citizenship, and volunteerism.
What CTSOs does Stride Career Prep offer?
Offerings vary by school but include one or more of the following clubs: DECA (an association of marketing students), FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America), FCCLA (Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America), HOSA (future health professionals), and SkillsUSA.*
How can my student plan for their future career?
Preparing for a future career is a personal journey toward a unique destination. The Stride Career Prep approach allows students to get a jump-start by exploring interests as early as middle school. Through career-oriented courses, students can discover their interests and develop skills for a specific career pathway or specialization, helping them graduate high school ready to enter college, a career, or both.
When should my student start career planning?
Any time is a good time to start exploring passions and discovering paths to careers. Students can start career-specific electives as early as middle school.* At the high school level, Stride Career Prep students have the option to choose a career pathway or keep discovering! Students can also dive deep into their chosen career field through job shadowing, live, online sessions with industry professionals, and career-oriented camps in areas like coding and STEM.*
When should I start encouraging a career for my child?
Career encouragement can start at any time. Pay attention to your child's interests and natural skills to get an idea about career options they might want to explore. Providing them with opportunities to explore those interests or career paths will help guide your student early in their educational journey. Stride Career Prep offers a wide range of career pathways your child can explore.
Why is career exploration important in middle school?
Exploring career pathways in middle school* can provide students with the ability to better map out their education journey and make the most out of their time. Early career planning gives you and your student the ability to learn more about their skills and interests to maximize and understand their education and career opportunities so they can graduate high school a few steps closer to their career goal. Please note that Stride Career Prep is only offered at select middle schools.
How can my student start a career after high school?
With Stride Career Prep, students are prepared for their career through real-world experience and industry insight. By focusing on career prep education in high school, your student can graduate one step closer to their next step and develop real-world skills for their life after high school.
What percentage of high school students know what they want to do?
Many high school students have reported that they found some interest in or direction for their career path while attending school. We understand that sometimes those ideas change. That’s why it’s important to identify interests, strengths, passions, and future goals to help students map out a career plan. The Stride Career Prep curriculum offers career exploration opportunities to help students discover and prepare for their career before it begins.
Does my student need a college degree to be a nursing assistant?
A college degree is not needed to become a nursing assistant. Instead, Certified Nursing Assistants must complete training and pass a certification exam. Students interested in this pathway can take career-focused electives and progress in their mastery of the content as well as prepare for industry-recognized certifications including the ACT National Career Readiness Certification (NRCR), Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), and more.†
Does my student need a degree to work in health services?
The degree requirements to work in health services vary. Some jobs, such as those in medical billing, only require the technical skills pertinent to the role, where nursing assistants (CNAs) require a specific certificate. No matter the job function, our career readiness curriculum allows your student to dive deep or simply explore health service skills that they may need after high school.
Does my student need a college degree to be a computer programmer?
Does my student need a college degree to be a game designer?
Most game design careers only require a high school diploma. Instead, game design employers require extensive knowledge and experience within the career and a strong portfolio to demonstrate these skills. Your student can take computer science, programming, and game design courses to build a portfolio and learn the skills required to start a career in game design.
Does my student need a degree to work in IT?
Many information technology (IT) careers do not require a college education. Your student can choose an IT career pathway program through Stride Career Prep that teaches them the skills required to work in a specific IT job. Through career-focused electives, your student learns the technical skills that could lead to jobs in such areas as cybersecurity, programming, and game design.
Does my student need a degree to work in cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity careers require a bachelor’s degree. Your student can enroll in electives such as computer science and Security+ courses which will start them on a cybersecurity career journey and prepare them to pursue a relevant degree. By starting this career pathway in high school, your student can get a jump start on their college degree before graduation.
Does my student need a college degree to be a marketing assistant?
Marketing assistant jobs vary in required degrees. Typically, employers prefer a bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience for entry-level positions. Marketing assistants support marketing teams in their daily tasks of research, development, and content creation. your student can begin learning these skills as early as their freshman year of high school with opportunities to intern, job shadow, and work on projects that prepare them for a future career in marketing.
Does my student need a degree to be an entrepreneur?
Many entrepreneurs do not have college degrees and often learn through experience. With Stride Career Prep, your student has the opportunity to gain these experiences while completing their high school diploma. Through project-based learning, job shadowing, and internship opportunities, students can begin their career before they graduate high school.
Criminal Justice and Community Services FAQs
Does my student need a college degree to become a police officer?
Police officers typically do not need college degrees. However, significant training is required. The typical path is high school graduation, followed by training at a police academy. Candidates usually must be 21 years old, pass physical fitness tests, and have no criminal convictions.
Does my student need a college degree to become a forensic science technician?
Forensic science technicians typically need at least a bachelor's degree in a natural science, such as chemistry or biology, or in forensic science. Technicians may also pursue a master's degree in forensic science. However, many crime scene investigators who work for police departments are sworn police officers and have only met education requirements to enroll in a police academy.
Does my student need a college degree to become a paralegal?
Many paralegals have bachelor's degrees, but this is often not necessary. An associate's degree or certificate is usually sufficient
Hear How Stride Career Prep Can Work for Your Teen
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*Opportunities vary by school; please visit your school page or check with your school counselor.
**Stride Career Prep is a program for grades 9–12. At some schools, career exploration is offered in middle school.
†Many Microsoft®️ Office certificates can be earned after completing one course. Other certificates require more classes to be better prepared, and students who participate in the program for at least two years will have further preparation for certification testing.