It's a common misperception that students who take Career and Technical Education at BOCES cannot earn a Regents Diploma. According to Ms. Melanie Bricker, Building Principal at Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES Center at Belmont, "All but one of our 17 Career and Technical Education programs has received approval from the New York State Department of Education to grant academic credit. This approval process allows students to receive academic credit in Math and Science in addition to the credits they earn for the CTE (career & technical education) program. Approval for the final program, Early Childhood/Human Services, is pending and should be granted by the end of the current school year."
Ms. Bricker explained, "Credits for our CTE training programs have always been applicable towards a Regents Diploma, however, some students had difficulty coming to BOCES and still getting in all their academic requirements in order to graduate on time. Now that our programs contain State approved Regents-level academics, we can help students meet the credit requirements more easily. Each of the three BOCES centers has a certified math teacher and a certified science teacher on staff."
She further explained, "The students earn five credits for a two-year CTE program. In addition, the students earn a credit for Technical Math and a credit for Technical Science. We also offer an option whereby some students may acquire a credit at BOCES in health, social studies, English, or math if that service is requested by their school district and is necessary for the student to graduate on time. There is an additional charge for this option and the component school must approve such an addition."
A Regents diploma requires a minimum of 22 credits although school districts may opt to add requirements. Each credit represents 180 minutes a week in a year-long course.
BOCES CTE programs which can be taken to earn a Regents diploma include: Automotive Body Technology, Automotive Technology, Building Technology, Business/Belmont Café (Belmont Center), Business, Computer Systems Technology, Cosmetology, Criminal Justice, Culinary Arts, Diesel Mechanics/Small Engines/Heavy Equipment, Drafting/Computer Aided Design, Electrical/Electronics Technology (Belmont Center), Machine Tool Operations (Belmont Center), Media Communication Technology, Medical Assisting, Natural Resources, New Visions - Health Professions (Belmont & Olean Centers), Welding/Metal Fabrication, and Welding/Heavy Equipment and Trucking (Olean Center).
Other programs at the BOCES Center which don't carry Regents diploma credits are: Career Foundations (a pre-vocational program primarily for 14-16 year olds) and High School GED preparation (for students not pursuing a Regents or Local diploma).
Additionally, all of the CTE programs have at least one articulation agreement in place at an area college or university. These agreements qualify BOCES graduates for anywhere from 3-12 college credits depending on their BOCES program of study and the college they are applying to. Such credits may require the student to test into the program or the BOCES instructor to certify the student is capable of performing a variety of related tasks. Participating institutions include: Alfred State College, Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Bryant and Stratton, Continental Beauty School, Corning Community College (CC), Erie CC, Finger Lakes CC, Fulton/Montgomery CC, Genesee CC, Jamestown CC, Mohawk Valley CC, Olean Business Institute, Paul Smith's College, Penn Tech, Triangle Tech, and Trocaire College.
Ms. Bricker noted the importance of advisory committees to insure the quality of BOCES programs. She said, "We enlist the aid of practitioners within our local communities to work with our instructors to continually update our curriculums to insure the things we are teaching are relevant to people working in each field today."
Each BOCES program is also aligned with at least one national standard and some programs are aligned with several national standards. For example, the BOCES welding program is not only aligned with National Welding Society (NWS) standards but also with the National Occupational Competency for Testing Institute (NOCTI) standards. Also, the BOCES Automotive Technology program is aligned with the NOCTI standards as well as the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) standards.