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Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSO’s)

CTSO’s are vocational organizations primarily offered through CTE programs at high schools and career technology centers. The following CTSO’s are recognized by Carl D. Perkins: Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA), FHA-Hero, Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), Future Farmers of America (FFA), Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), and Skills USA.  Read more about Carl D. Perkins funds here.


DECA: An Association of Marketing Students 
California DECA is a student organization whose program of leadership and personal development is designed specifically for students interested in marketing, management and entrepreneurship.

FHA-HERO is the pre-professional organization for Home Economics Careers and Technology education students in grades 6–12.
FBLA.jpg Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) 
FBLA is a student organization for student leaders preparing for careers in business.
Future Farmers of America (FFA)
FFA is a national student organization for agriculture education students in grades 9–12.
Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA)
A student organization whose mission is to promote career opportunities in health care and to enhance the delivery of quality health care to all people.
SkillsUSA is a national student organization for industrial and technical education programs.

Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSO’s) and Carl D. Perkins 

CTSO’s are vocational organizations primarily offered through CTE programs at high schools and career technology centers.  The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Improvement Act of 2006 permits the use of Title I, Basic Grant Funds, to support CTE CTSO’s and related activities.  In order to use Perkins funds, the following criteria must be met:

  • Students must be enrolled in a CTE program
  • CTE courses are part of a CTE pathway
  • Teachers must be credentialed to teach CTE
  • All expenditures must be for the purpose of improving and expanding career and technical instruction and meet the guidelines for the use of funds
  • Activities supported with these funds must be made available to all students enrolled in a class or program without regards to membership in any career student organization

Perkins funding may be used for:

  • Student in-state travel expenses when organization membership is not a precondition
  • CTSO advisor travel (both in-state and out-of-state), lodging, conference registration, and per diem while supervising students participating in approved career technical student organization activities
  • Instructional supplies and materials, such as chapter handbooks, leadership development materials, and official recordkeeping handbooks
  • Equipment that is appropriate to the career technical student organization program and that benefits all students in a class/program

Perkins funding may not be used for:

  • CTSO membership dues
  • Portion of a student’s conference registration fees used for food, lodging, awards, social assemblages, and recreation
  • Student food or lodging expenses
  • Student out of state travel
  • Any item that becomes personal property of a student or advisor such as a uniform, briefcase, pins
  • Costs related to social activities, such as a dance