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Engineering-Related Courses

Engineering-Related Courses or Programs in Grades 9- 12

The intent of this document is to help clarify, for school districts and counselors, the role that engineering-related courses and programs may play as part of a technology education program in New York State. The role of technology education in grades 9- 12 is to introduce students to technology areas of interest for potential post secondary education career paths while imparting a level of technological literacy. The introduction of high school level engineering-related programs in these grades can only provide students with a basic understanding of what they may encounter in a college-level engineering program. Strong backgrounds in mathematics and science are still essential and recommended through dedicated courses in these subjects.

Defining The Engineering-related Program

In 1995 the New York State Education Department published a new syllabi entitled, "Technology Education Principles of Engineering: An MST Approach to Technology Education." This new course was intended to introduce concepts used in engineering* to the high school level and reinforce mathematics and science skills within a technology education program. The course was developed in response to national studies at the time that supported the implementation of pre-college courses that survey and stimulate interest in, and access to, careers in engineering and technology. Additionally this capstone course was intended to explore the relationship of math, science and technology while enhancing general technological literacy.

Since that time, a number of courses and programs related to engineering have been developed through public and private resources. This was due in part to a national concern for the diminishing ranks of American- born and educated engineers and scientists as the country moved to a global economy. Many of these secondary school programs have titles and descriptions that may be misunderstood by students interested in this career area. School districts proposing to implement, or having in place already, engineering-related courses or programs must be clear on the intent and purpose of the program when scheduling students.

Nature of the Program

In NYS, engineering-related courses are a subset within technology education programs. As such, Commissioner’s Regulations and policies governing technology education programs in public schools apply to engineering-related courses and programs. The same facilities and equipment used for technology education programs are typically used for these courses. The concepts used in engineering are inherent in broad areas of technology study. Within the technology standard (5) of the MST Learning Standards these concepts are translated as Key Ideas with specific performance indicators. Conceptually the two areas (technology education and engineering) are compatible and can form the basis for student achievement of the standards at the commencement level.

With any subject, mastery of the basics needs to take place prior to more in depth study. Programs of relevant courses should be structured around foundational courses offering opportunities to students to explore, experiment and develop confidence in their skills. As in technology areas of study, foundation, systems and specialized elective courses are a recommended order and format for a successful program. Problem solving is a major part of what engineers and technologists do and should be a part of every course. Laboratory based, hands-on activities are essential to student understanding. Working in teams to solve problems is indicative of what takes place in the work place.

Structure of the Engineering-related Program

High school programs focusing on engineering need to maintain a broad context. Because the post-secondary education paths are varied in engineering, keeping students options open will allow the easiest transition. At the college level, engineering science and engineering technology have different goals and outcomes that students need to be aware of to make informed decisions.

Previously approved sequences in technology education programs have been 5 units of study that included Introduction to Occupations** content. Technology education programs should include foundation, systems and elective courses. Foundational and systems courses should be considered pre-requisites to these electives. This structure is still recommended as a way to provide students with a relevant program in specific areas of technology.

Foundational Courses

Basic skill and knowledge acquisition

Systems Courses

Ties together concepts from various technologies in a broader context


Helps students focus their interests in a particular area

Titles of Courses and Units of Credit

Titles of courses should be as descriptive as possible. Courses titled; Engineering I, Engineering II, etc. are not acceptable. Specific courses that focus on aspects of technology or engineering fall into the elective category. One- half and one unit of study courses may be used in a program sequence.

Teacher Qualifications

Teachers of technology education and engineering-related courses must be certified in technology education. Other CTE or academic subject certification may not be substituted.

School Districts Seeking Regents’ CTE Program Approval for Engineering-Related Programs

Technology education programs in NYS are considered part of Career and Technical Education administration at the State level but are not considered employment preparation instruction.

Schools seeking CTE Program Approval for a group of engineering-related technology education courses must consider the following:

  • All Regents’ CTE Program Approval criteria must be followed
  • Technology education teacher certification is required
  • An appropriate sequence of courses as outlined under "Structure of the Engineering-related Program" must be identified
  • Resources and instructional supports as outlined under "Nature of the Engineering-related Program" must be in place
  • Consideration of student goals and expectations must be addressed prior to program development

* Major engineering concepts to be developed include design, modeling, systems, optimization, technology/society interactions and ethics.
** A one-half unit state-developed syllabus now called Career and Financial Management.

Last Updated: March 17, 2011