Career Technical Education

Relevant Education for a Lifetime

Career Technical Education (CTE) provides students of all ages with the academic and technical skills, knowledge and training necessary to succeed in future careers and to become lifelong learners. Every pathway has courses available for students of every grade level, and many include capstone projects for juniors or seniors to showcase their growth over the course of their education.

CTE Programs Available at Downey High School

Downey MADE Pathways are made up of 3-4 CTE courses. The last course in the pathway is the capstone, which often culminates in an industry certificate.

Auto Technology

Auto Technology prepares students to work with and around vehicles, in order to prepare them for work in the Automotive Industry or as a life skill. Students will identify basic automotive systems, components, and tools. Shop equipment use, safety, and shop operations will be taught as well.

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Biomedical Science students explore how to detect and fight infection, screen and evaluate the code in human DNA, evaluate cancer treatment options, and prevail when the organs of the body begin to fail. Through real-world cases, students examine a range of interventions related to immunology, surgery, genetics, pharmacology, medical devices, and diagnostics.



Business classes prepare students for college and their future as business leaders. Many Business classes are project-based, taught in computer labs using 21st century global business desktop and cloud software, including additional platforms. Students develop core skills across an array of subjects including: Small Business Concepts, Personal Finance, Real Estate Principles, Computer Applications, International Business, and PLTW Introduction to Computer Science. These training courses prepare students for college and the business world. Students learn several real-world skills such as: how to run a business, how to manage finances, earn real-world I.T. Certifications, how to engineer mobile games and Apps for Android and Apple devices, understand today’s dynamic Real Estate markets, and earn college credit by taking articulated business classes.



This course targets the highly motivated, focused, and skilled dance students who wish to broaden their technique, creative work, and performance experience. Students will create works of their own after they have had intensive study in choreography skills, partnering, improvisation, and individual movement material. Interdisciplinary work involving other art forms such as video, live music, and the visual arts will be studied and practiced as part of the ensemble choreographic process.

instagram logo @downeydanceteam

Digital Photography

Students wil learn the fundamentals of digital photography and digital imaging with an emphasis on aesthetic, technical, and critical thinking skills. Hands-on digital photography projects teach the functions of a digital single lens reflex camera (DSLR) and the manipulation of its settings to achieve specific results. 

The course will cover the photographic elements of art and principles of design, composition, exposure and lighting, and explore the history of photography.  Students will be introduced to Photoshop and learn how to organize, archive, and optimize their images for web, print, or display purposes; they will also creatively alter digital images as well as critically analyze the use of visual media as a means of communication in our society.  

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instagram logo @downeyhsphoto

Digital Imaging

Digital Imaging is an introductory course that provides students with a broad set of technical skills in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator while maintaining a fine arts approach and focus. The course will introduce how to work with basic vector and raster-based images while emphasizing individual creativity. Formal design standards and principles will be emphasized along with creative problem solving, experimentation, and personal expression. Digital Imaging will emphasize the commercial aspects of developing an idea, creating a unique artwork through use of various software, and marketing themselves for college and career opportunities.



Engineering has students use a problem- solving model to design solutions to real world challenges, including improving existing products and also inventing new products. Students enrolled will demonstrate the engineering process is multi-faceted, combining physical science knowledge, mathematical insight, creative design, organizational skills, data analysis, documentation and critical thinking.

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Financial Services

This course is designed for students who desire to gain skills and knowledge to obtain entry-level finance positions in small and medium size businesses. Students will learn that the financial industry encompasses a wide range of businesses dealing with lending, investing, insuring, money management, and more.

Students will experience planned spending, buying decisions, and management credit. The class will include classroom instruction and on-the-job training at local businesses in the financial services industry. Students can be certified in the area of customer service by Southwest Airlines Professional Communication program. The certification validates the knowledge and skills necessary to communicate effectively, think critically, and work with others. The result is an employee with greater interpersonal skills and customer service


Food Science, Dietetics & Nutrition

These courses prepare students for employment in the food industry. Relevant occupations include food scientists, dieticians, nutritionists, and entrepreneurs in the meal planning and food prep business. In this class, students will receive instruction about foods and food groups, nutrition, and activity needs through the life cycle, current nutrition, and food guidelines. They will develop a strong understanding of the role that diet, nutrients, and exercise play in the overall health of all individuals. Students will also learn the science behind foods and preparation and perform weekly hands-on applications by preparing various recipes in our classroom cooking lab.


instagram logo @downeyfsdn

Foundations of Law

Students will be introduced to the U.S. legal system, including constitutional, criminal, international, and civil law. Students learn about legal concepts, historical foundations, and principles and procedures of law, experiencing law and justice as dynamic forces, shaped by people and events over time. Other topics include the role of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government, learning why and how laws are created, enforced, interpreted, and changed. They look at the relationship between law, public policy, and advocacy at the federal, state, and local levels of government.

Graphic Design

This course will teach students methods and theory such as elements and principles of design to enhance their artistic vision and style. Through two and three-dimensional design projects, students will develop problem-solving skills, artistic perception, critical thinking, and self-reflection. Art critiques and presentations will provide opportunities for students to grow as artists. Learning and using the three main industry computer software, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and QuarkXpress, will provide students with professional environment and responsibilities as graphic designers.


instagram logo @dhsstudio5

Multimedia Video Production

In this hands-on, project-based course, students learn how to plan, shoot, and edit a visual story. They will use professional video editing software such as Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro. Topics explored include non-linear editing, aesthetic aspects of camera work, the production process, and digital video camera. Students have the opportunity to work on projects individually and as part of a group. In the second year Capstone course students will dive deeper into topics such as scriptwriting, cinematography, producing, and directing.


Principals in Education

Students will receive entry-level teaching in the field of child care, nursery school occupations, and careers in teaching. The course will include both classroom instruction and on-the-job training, in public and private day care, and/or school facilities. Students may enroll in Careers in Education for a maximum of four semesters.


Retail Marketing

Retail Marketing students have the opportunity to learn and develop retail skills needed to work in local stores. Also about promotion, price planning, selling, financing, distribution, marketing information management, and product and service management. The course will also provide instruction in basic marketing concepts, the global economy, risk management, and e-commerce.


Sports Medicine

This course is a concentrated study of human anatomy and physiology, examining how systems of the body interact through physical activity and inactivity. The prevention, evaluation, treatment, and rehabilitation of illness, disease, and injury are explored. Scientific principles, mathematical concepts, practical applications, and communication skills are taught through an activity/performance-based approach.


instagram logo @dhssportsmedicine

Video Game Development & Programming

Create, learn, and discover your passion for video game development while developing real-world and industry-standard skills. Video Game Development and Programming uses modern technology and high-level programming languages to teach you how to turn your ideas into digital reality. In Video Game Programming 1 you will learn the basics of Unity and Scripting while developing your very own 2D game. In Video Game Programming 2 you will further develop your skills while developing your own 3D and Virtual Reality games.


instagram logo @downeyvikingseports

Why should you participate in CTE?

  • To explore career interests and goals
  • To learn employability and job skills
  • To create a personal portfolio
  • To obtain work experience and on-the-job-training
  • To prepare for advanced career training
  • To receive high school credits
  • To compete in industry competitions
Students participating in a  dance performance

What this means for parents…

Your student will have the opportunity to learn the skills necessary to successfully transition from school to career and beyond.

According to the Department of Labor, statistics show that skilled trade people can earn more money than people with master’s degrees. We believe that by integrating career technical education into the academic curriculum, students will see the connection and value between an education and career technical training.

Ultimately, students will be able to pursue rewarding and well-paying jobs and/or continue their education in college or a technical school.

For more information about MADE Pathways and Programs