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Nontraditional Occupations

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All workers, female or male, have a right to choose among a full range of occupations, not just those dictated by tradition. For women, many of the highest paying careers are nontraditional. Women in non-traditional jobs typically earn 20–30% more than women in traditional occupations, and, over a lifetime of work, they will earn 150% more. For men, non-traditional occupations may not provide higher wages. However, these occupations can be a means for advancing to higher wage jobs such as business owners, school administrators, and managers.


What Can You Do?


Support opportunities in Non-Traditional Career and Technical Education! Here is a step-by-step approach: Identify the situation at your school or college   

    • Analyze your program-level, local data showing participation in CTE to identify gaps and strengths in your CTE programs and to determine services needed to support students who are non-traditional or from other special populations. (Search for "5-Step Process" at

    • If data show a low number of non-traditional or otherwise underrepresented students in particular programs, undertake an extensive recruitment program targeting these groups. (

    • Provide professional development to raise awareness about the issues faced by students from special populations among educators, employers, peers, family members and community members. (

Identify the root causes for the participation or completion “gaps” in your CTE courses. (Search for “Root Causes Document” at


From this data analysis, develop and provide resources and services to close the gaps.

  • Assist students in developing career knowledge – including in careers that are non-traditional by gender – and economic literacy through comprehensive guidance and experiential learning. (, or

  • Provide exposure to non-traditional careers at the earliest time possible; work with your middles schools to make their students aware of their own likes and dislikes, skills and interests, as well as non-traditional career options, life-planning and the belief (self-efficacy) that the students belong in college! (,
  • Provide positive and diverse images of men and women of all colors and abilities in non-Traditional careers through books, media, posters, etc... (Hang this poster to start!)
  • Provide opportunities for interaction with diverse non-traditional role models and mentors through Non traditional career-days and job fairs, e-mentoring, job-shadowing, intern and extern-ships, classroom presentations, etc. (
  • Infuse your curriculum – career technical and academic technical – with a variety of high-tech, nurturing, creative and challenging hands-on activities for ALL students that include all modalities of learning and ensure computer and technology competence (
    • Provide a complete range of support services including tutoring, transportation, childcare assistance, etc. If your school doesn't have these or other services, know where they are available in the community. Develop a ride-,housing-, childcare-sharing board.
  • Ensure that your learning community is safe and students are empowered to identify and report issues of sexual-, religious-, or racial harassment, physical danger, etc.