Career Academies

School Choice Priority Application Window Has Now Closed

The school choice priority application window for the upcoming 2024-25 school year closed on Feb. 16, 2024.

For questions about career academies, please call 863-519-8438 option 1.

Career Academies are small, personalized learning communities centered on a career theme. These exciting programs, which include a college-prep curriculum and a path to industry certifications, challenge students and assist them in finding an engaging career path. Career Academies align with local industry needs and ensure that students are prepared to become skilled employees in high-demand occupations. Through dynamic curriculum, support from a local advisory committee and partnerships with employers, the community and higher education, students are prepared for future educational and career success.

A Career Academy involves teachers from different subjects working together as a team.

Staff teams, who often share common planning time, work together to implement the key features of the Career Academy and provide students with career training. Students may be grouped together for several periods every day with a core group of teachers. This promotes a family-like atmosphere and results in close student-teacher ties.

Additionally, many Career Academies offer opportunities for on-the-job training, job shadowing, or internships as well as the option to earn college credit while in high school.

National Accreditation

Polk County Public Schools strives to ensure that its Career Academies are high-quality. As a result, PCPS has the second highest number of National Career Academy Coalition (NCAC) accredited academies in the nation! NCAC (National Career Academy Coalition) is an organization based out of Nashville, Tennessee that supports Career Academies and conducts Career Academy Reviews to determine if an academy is a high functioning quality Career Academy.

As of 2019, thirteen PCPS Career Academies have been recognized as Model Career Academies and ten have been recognized as Certified Career Academies.

What is CTE?

Career Academies are a branch within Career and Technical Education (CTE). Click here to learn more about CTE.

Career Academy FAQs

High school students that were enrolled in an academy had a higher average GPA than students who are not enrolled in an academy

Approximately 56% of Polk County’s high school students are enrolled in an academy

Polk's high school career academy students earned more Dual Enrollment credit and Industry Certifications than students who were not enrolled in an academy

Career Academy Business Partners

How Your Business
Can Make a Difference

With the current focus on “high-skill, high-wage, high-demand” employment, it is critical that the community works together to ensure that the next generation of employees and leaders are prepared to maintain the future growth of our economy. Business partners play a vital role in the success of Career Academies and the students of Polk County can benefit greatly from your support. Career Academies are currently seeking partners to:

  • Volunteer as a Guest Speaker
  • Offer Internships or On-the-Job Training
  • Offer Company (Facility) Tours
  • Provide Student Scholarships
  • Serve on an Advisory Board
  • Provide Equipment
  • Provide Financial Sponsorship

If your business is interested in partnering with Career Academies, contact us at 863-519-8438.

District-wide Career
Academy Advisory Board

The goal of the Polk Career Academies Advisory Board is to link the resources of business, education, and local community in order to promote higher education, career pathways, and active civic participation. Board members assist Career Academies by providing:

  1. Industry expertise to support Career Academy curriculum
  2. Assist in student recruitment
  3. Provide internships for Career Academy students
  4. Encourage other community businesses to support Career Academy initiatives
  5. Advocacy to promote workforce education to political leaders and the business community
  6. Financial assistance to secure funding for program activities, internships, and scholarships