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.
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.
- Academy of Design Technology – George Jenkins High School
- Academy of Legal Studies – George Jenkins High School
- Academy of Natural Resources – Kathleen High School
- Ag Dogs Agriscience Academy – Frostproof High School
- Auburndale Medical Academy – Auburdale High School
- Bartow Culinary Academy – Bartow High School
- Bartow Medical and Fire Academy – Bartow High School
- Central Florida Aerospace Academy – Kathleen High School
- Future Educators Academy – Bartow High School
- GEICO Academy of Advanced Business Management – George Jenkins High School
- George Jenkins Academy of Engineering & Architecture – George Jenkins High School
- George Jenkins Medical Academy – George Jenkins High School
- Summerlin Academy – Bartow High School
- Academy of Finance – Lake Gibson High School
- Academy of Pharmacy Technicians – Fort Meade High School
- Agrowtechnology Academy – Fort Meade High School
- Distrotek – Kathleen High School
- Engineering Technology Academy – Ridge Community High School
- Environmental Agriculture & Technology Academy – Haines City High School
- Lake Gibson Academy of Health – Lake Gibson High School
- Lakeland Electric Power Academy – Tenoroc High School
- Polk Academy of Business & Technology – Lake Gibson High School
- Ridge Community Medical Academy – Ridge Community High School
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