Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) is expanding career and technical education (CTE) opportunities for high school students. CCPS recently finalized with the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) three new technical certification pathways that begin next school year. High school students who participate in the new two-year programs will earn certifications in medical coding, pharmacy technician or electrical trades.
Superintendent of Schools Maria V. Navarro, Ed.D., said the new programs will provide more CCPS students with immediate employment skills and industry certifications.
“These new programs provide more opportunities for students to enter a CTE career pathway while earning college credits. Students will earn career credentials as high school students, allowing them to directly enter the workforce upon completing the programs. I appreciate the partnership with CSM and our joint focus on preparing students for advanced education and the world of work,” Navarro said.
“Through strong collaboration and a shared commitment to student success, CSM is honored to work alongside Charles County Public Schools to expand our partnership to provide essential workforce training to high school students that lead to sustainable career opportunities,” said CSM President Dr. Yolanda Wilson. “We believe it takes collaborative communities to build an equitable region and our role is to serve as this region’s hub of learning, credentialing and mobility for all students.”
The pathways are part of the CCPS/CSM Early College Program in which students attend classes at CSM while completing high school graduation credits. The new certification pathways are two-year programs ideal for students preparing to enter their junior year of high school.
Current CCPS sophomores and juniors can apply for the Early College Program. The application opens in January 2024 and students must meet specific criteria to apply. Upon completion of the new technical certification pathways, students will have industry certifications and can either enter directly into the workforce or continue their education/training at a four-year institution or CSM.
CSM is hosting a virtual information night on Monday, Nov. 13, at 6 p.m. for students/parents interested in learning more about the Early College Program. Click here to register for the meeting. Information about the new certification programs, as well as the two degree-oriented pathways and general studies certificate available for Early College Program students, will be shared by CSM staff.
For the current school year, juniors enrolled in Early College are working toward an Associate of Applied Science in Business Management (60 credits) degree, and seniors are working toward a General Studies Transfer Certificate worth 25 credits to put toward furthering their education at CSM, or transferring to another University of Maryland system school. This school year’s Early College cohort includes 61 CCPS seniors and 73 CCPS juniors. Enrollment includes students from all seven CCPS high schools and students currently complete all courses at the CSM La Plata campus with transportation provided by CCPS.
For the 2024-25 school year, CCPS and CSM have finalized an additional associate degree pathway for Early College students: Business Administration. This two-year program allows students to graduate high school with an associate degree in business administration, with the ability to transfer to a four-year degree program. Students who are interested in operating a business, learning about ethics, business law, leadership, entrepreneurship and critical thinking are encouraged to apply for this track through the Early College Program.
The following is additional information about the new technical pathways starting next school year.
Medical Coding Certification Program – capacity for 30 juniors
This two-year program allows students to earn several college credits that meet high school graduation requirements and earn a certificate in medical coding. The medical coding certificate allows graduates to work behind the scenes in the healthcare field, coding medical treatments and billing for services. The medical coding certificate allows students to enter directly into the healthcare field with excellent salary earning potential. This certificate also leads directly into additional programs that allow for further advancement in the career field.
Medical coding courses will be held at the CSM Hughesville Health Sciences campus three days per week, while the general studies courses that meet high school graduation requirements will be held at the CSM La Plata campus two days a week. Students will need to earn a 75% or above in all healthcare courses and on exams to earn the certificate.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Program – capacity for 15 juniors
This two-year program allows students to earn several college credits that meet high school graduation requirements and earn a certificate as a pharmacy technician. Students who complete this program can enter directly into the workforce as a pharmacy technician or can continue their studies at any two or four-year institution. Pharmacy technicians work alongside pharmacists to supply medicine and medical devices to patients.
Students in the program participate in a clinical practicum in a local pharmacy. The pharmacy technician courses will be held at CSM’s Center for Health Services for three days a week. The general studies courses that meet high school graduation requirements will be held at the CSM La Plata campus two days a week. Students will need to earn a 75% or above in all healthcare courses and on exams to earn the certificate.
Electrical Certificate Program – capacity for 15 juniors
This two-year program allows students to earn several college credits that meet high school graduation requirements and earn certifications in the electrical field to include NCCER Core and Electrical Level 1, OSHA-10, and NSC First Aid/CPR/AED. Students enrolled in this program will have the opportunity to start an electrical apprenticeship upon completion.
This program is a pathway directly into electrical trades with excellent earning potential. The electrical courses will be held at the Center for Trades and Energy Training at CSM's regional Hughesville campus three days a week. The general studies courses that meet high school graduation requirements will be held at the CSM La Plata campus two days a week.
Early College Program application criteria
Students must meet the requirements below to be considered for acceptance into the Early College Program.
- Be a CCPS junior or senior for the 2024-25 school year.
- Completed or be on-track to complete graduation requirements.
- Completed or on track to complete all Student Service-Learning requirements before starting at CSM.
- Have an unweighted high school GPA of 2.75 or higher.
- Completed all state testing requirements.
For more details about the Early College program at CSM, visit the college's website at https://csmd.edu/apply-register/credit/high-school/early-college/charles.html.
Charles County Public Schools provides 27,598 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 37 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Kathy Kiessling, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial M. Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.
CCPS provides nondiscriminatory equal access to school facilities in accordance with its Use of Facilities rules to designated youth groups (including, but not limited to, the Boy Scouts).