Career Academies

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Small, personalized learning communities within a high school that equip students with job skills and ready them for success in the workforce. Students enter the academy through a voluntary process; they must apply and be accepted with parental knowledge and support.


Application for Career Academies Opens November 10

Applications for the 2021-2022 school year will be accepted November 10 through January 12, 2021, at 4:00pm EST. Parents must apply online through Parent Portal.

Important: Before beginning your application, please ensure that all student information, including your address, is listed correctly in Parent Portal.  An incorrect address may result in your application being delayed or denied.  To correct your information, please contact your child’s school. If you do not have a parent portal account, please follow the instructions on the Parent Portal page to create one.

Application Requirements & Procedures

Students have the opportunity to apply for a Career Academy with parental consent.  Students may apply for and enroll into 1-3 middle school Pre-Academies or high school Career Academies simultaneously.

All Career Academy applicants should have a genuine interest in the career area for which the student is applying and may not have a past history of consistent, serious discipline problems as defined by the Code of Student Conduct.  Students enrolled in a Career Academy are expected to adhere to behavior, attendance, academic, and uniform policies of the school to remain in the Career Academy. Parents who have selected an Out-of-Zone Career Academy for their child during the Open Enrollment process have done so with the expectation that certain standards have been publicized in regard to discipline and the learning environment.

If an incoming 9th grader does not pass the 8th grade FSA, he or she may be required to take intensive Math or Reading. These remedial courses may take up elective space within the student’s schedule, thus not allowing room for Career Academy classes. In this case, the student would be ineligible for acceptance into the Career Academy.

If a student is accepted into a middle school Pre-Academy or high school Career Academy but then violates the Code of Student Conduct, he/she will be considered ineligible for admission.

In-Zone Applicants:  Students entering grades 6-10 who desire to enroll in a Career Academy at their zoned school should speak with their school counselor.  The counselor will assist students enroll in the Career Academy and schedule them in the appropriate courses to their corresponding middle or high school.

Out-of-Zone Applicants:  Students entering grades 6-10 who desire to enroll in a Career Academy as an Out-of-Zone transfer must apply online through the Parent Portal during the annual application window. Upon completion of the online form, an email will be sent to the applicant automatically.  Out-of-Zone applicants should take note of the following:

  • Transportation will not be provided by Polk County Public Schools for Out-of-Zone transfers.
  • Out-of-Zone students who leave a Career Academy must return to their zoned school per School Board policy. Upon withdrawal from the school, a student forfeits his/her seat in a Career Academy.  However, the student may return to that Career Academy only by applying during the next enrollment window.  Re-admission to a Career Academy is not guaranteed and is subject to available space.
  • If an Out-of-Zone student is enrolled in a Career Academy that closes, consideration will be given to placing the student in an alternate, comparable Career Academy, if space is available.  If no space is available, the student will be returned to his/her zoned school.
  • Out-of-zone seniors who leave a Career Academy will not be able to remain at the Out-of-Zone school through the use of a “senior transfer.”

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