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CTE Content Areas

Unregistered Work-Based Learning Experiences


Listed below are work-based learning experiences that do not need to be registered with the Office of Career of Technical Education. These experiences do not count as academic credit on their own but may be embedded into a credit-bearing class at local discretion. In order for unregistered experiences to count towards hours for a NYSED-approved CTE program or a CDOS Credential or Pathway to Graduation, they must be supervised by instructional staff, an administrator, or a school counselor.

It is highly recommended that all unregistered WBL experiences, such as job shadowing, community service/volunteering, career-focused research project, school-based enterprise, entrepreneurship, and community-based work program, include the following components:

  • Certified teacher or guidance counselor with the proper WBL extension
  • Advisory committee
  • Appropriate worksite placement
  • Supervised on-the-job training
  • Related in-school instruction
  • Coordination of in-school and worksite components
  • Student training plan
  • Emergency medical form
  • Employer evaluation
  • Copy of student working papers where appropriate
  • Memorandum of agreement where appropriate


Descriptions of Unregistered Work-Based Learning Experiences

Clinical Experiences (Appearance Enhancement and Health Sciences CTE students only)

Supervised clinical experiences are a required component of all health sciences and cosmetology occupations programs. Within each licensing content area, there are restrictions and mandates governing clinical experiences. Below are guidelines for clinical experiences in a CTE program that leads to licensure.

Health Occupations

Supervised clinical experience involves students performing health care services in a work setting after having instruction and practice in a supervised skills laboratory. The services must be performed under the supervision of an instructor who holds the appropriate NYS license/certification in the health care discipline for which the students are being prepared.

Cosmetology Occupations and Barbering

As stated in the NYS Department of State licensing law, individuals may not perform any services to the public unless they hold a NYS Appearance Enhancement license in the respective discipline. As part of the educational training, students may perform services on clients only under the supervision of a NYS certified cosmetology or barbering instructor who holds a current NYS license in the respective area of appearance enhancement or barbering. Appearance enhancement occupations that require licensure and include, cosmetology, nail specialty, natural hairstyling, esthetics, and waxing. The barbering program is a separate license and must be taught by a certified master barber instructor. Students enrolled in these programs may not work on clients in a salon that holds a business license with the exception of individuals who are working under a barber apprentice license.

Community-Based Work Programs (for students with disabilities)

Research indicates that students with disabilities who engage in career planning and exploration and participate in community-based WBL programs are much more likely to remain in school and be employed after high school. These experiences help students to identify their career interests, assess their training needs, and develop the 21st century employability skills and attitudes necessary to enter the workforce.

For students with disabilities who do not meet the requirements for participation in the state-approved WBL programs, the US Departments of Labor and US Department of Education have jointly developed specific guidelines for school districts to use when providing community-based work programs for students with disabilities aged 14 or older. The NYSDOL and Workers’ Compensation also have guidelines schools must follow when implementing work experiences and internships. The USDOL Field Operations Handbook (FOH) Chapter 64c08 sets guidelines for determining if an employer-employee relationship exists and the payment of wages for students with disabilities.

When students with disabilities are 15 (or younger if determined appropriate), the individualized education program (IEP) must identify the student’s post-school goals based on the student’s preferences and interests and the coordinated set of transition activities designed to assist the student in attaining those goals. The coordinated activities are the transition services/activities the student needs to make the transition from school to post-school activities, including instruction, related services, community experiences (such as community-based work experiences), employment, and other post-school living objectives and, if appropriate, activities of daily living and functional vocational assessment. To participate in community-based work programs, students may require support services and accommodations, which would be specified in their IEP. Examples of such supports and accommodations may include but are not limited to job coaching, interpreter services, orientation and mobility training, physical modifications to a work station, and assistive technology.

Students with significant disabilities should also have the opportunity to participate in community-based work programs. Students taking the New York State Alternate Assessment (NYSAA) and exiting school after attending at least 12 years, excluding kindergarten, are eligible to obtain a Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential. This credential documents the student’s achievement of the CDOS learning standards at the alternate performance level and includes documentation of any career exploration and training and WBL programs in which the student participated.

For further information about WBL programs, including guidelines for developing such programs and addressing the needs of students with disabilities, refer to the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition. The essential components of WBL programs provide parameters that will be useful when establishing community-based work programs. Progress should be monitored and reported, with modifications to the program and services made as needed.

Community Service

In community service, students participate in volunteer experiences that teach them responsibility, community involvement, and an awareness of the needs of others. Community service does not directly connect to the knowledge and technical skills learned in the classroom. No credit is issued to the student for participation in these activities.


Students plan and start-up an actual company providing the public with a product or service. Students undertake the research and design of a business plan, financial planning, and marketing strategy under the mentorship of a business/industry partner or instructor. This does not include virtual or simulated business experiences.

Industry-Based Projects

Industry-based projects are projects that are completed as part of a classroom experience for a business and industry partner. Such projects provide students with the experience of interacting with customers and learning customer service skills. Examples may include working on a prefabricated home for a real as part of a construction technology class and designing marketing materials for a local business.

Job Shadowing

Job shadowing is a career exploration activity for late middle school and early high school students. The student follows an employee at a workplace for 1-8 hours to learn about an occupation or career pathway of interest. These are observation experiences; no credit is issued to the student for participation in them.


Career mentoring is a formal, long-term supportive relationship between a student and a business/industry with similar career interests. A mentor is a volunteer from the business/industrial community that helps students become aware of career opportunities and work ethics in a one-to-one relationship that goes beyond the formal obligations of a teaching or supervisory role. Applicable hours may be applied towards CDOS Option 1 work-based learning hours requirements or the 54-hour work-based learning program quality indicator for NYSED-approved CTE programs funded by Perkins.

School-Based Enterprise

A school-based business enterprise exists within a school to provide services for students, staff, and/or customers from the community. No additional credit is awarded for participation in this experience; the credit exists within the related course. Examples of a school-based enterprise are a school store and a credit union. For further information please refer to the Safeguarding, Accounting, and Auditing of Extraclassroom Activity Funds pamphlet.

School Year/Summer Internships

In certain circumstances, a school may partner with a community or youth employment agency to place students in internships that take place over the summer or during the school year. As this is not a work-based learning program registered by the department, students are not able to earn academic credit. Students may not be placed in hazardous occupations. Due to the nature of the experience, it is strongly recommended that the experience be supervised by a Coordinator of Work-Based Learning Programs for Career Awareness or Career Development. Applicable hours may be applied towards CDOS Option 1 work-based learning hours requirements or the 54-hour work-based learning program quality Perkins indicator for NYSED-approved CTE programs.

Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE)

Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) is a student-led, instructor supervised, work-based learning experience that results in measurable outcomes within a predefined, agreed upon set of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (AFNR) Technical Standards and Career Ready Practices aligned to a career plan of study. Applicable hours may be applied towards CDOS Option 1 work-based learning hours requirements or the 54-hour work-based learning program quality indicator for NYSED-approved CTE programs funded by Perkins.

Work-Based Learning Opportunities through Virtual Enterprises in New York State