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High School Academics

The Three E's: Enrolled, Enlisted, Employed

Cincinnati Public Schools offers supportive learning environments that provide rigorous curriculum and opportunities for all students to thrive and engage in the world around them — and graduate prepared to be community leaders and world influencers.

We want our students ready to compete globally in their chosen pathways — enrolled in higher education, enlisted in the military (or entering a military academy or ROTC program) or employed in the workforce.

Helping You Understand Your Opportunities

Career-Focused Learning 

As your high school journey begins, take a look at what's ahead!

Cincinnati Public Schools offers career-focused programming at our high schools, designed to awaken students' interests in a variety of interesting jobs and career fields.

Included in this programming are courses offering: 

With these programs, our students get the education and expertise necessary to graduate from high school college and career ready — with technical knowledge and real-world experiences that lead to success in high-skill, high-demand careers.

Career-Focused Programming gives students: 

  • A rigorous academic foundation
  • Hands-on experiences that translate into skills employers want
  • Universal skills that can be applied in a four-year college, trade school or the workplace 
  • The opportunity to earn industry credentials, state-issued licenses and college credits while in high school
  • A home-field advantage with all CTE programs — all are embedded in our high schools, so students don't leave their high school campuses to participate
  • Employment Pipeline courses held at the sponsoring businesses
  • College Pipeline courses held at the CPS high school and, in some cases, at the sponsoring college or university 

Understanding Options for College, Career and Employment

College Pipeline — Enroll

CPS' College Pipeline programs are partnerships with specific colleges that introduce students to the campuses and degree programs available, with the goal of enrolling the students at the college after graduation. Embedded within the host high school, it gives students exposure to a college’s curriculum and faculty. Some pipelines include college-credit coursework, with classes held at CPS high schools or, in some cases, at the sponsoring college.

CPS' College Pipeline programs include: 

  • University of Cincinnati IT Early College Academy
  • Miami University Teach
  • University of Cincinnati Scholars Bearcats Academy

Advanced Placement Courses

Advanced Placement (AP) courses are comparable to college-level work, and students may be eligible to earn college credit based on scores received on an AP exam. Cincinnati Public Schools offers AP courses at all high schools, but AP offerings vary by school.

In the traditional model, students meet face-to-face with AP instructors five days per week. Blended-learning experiences expand AP courses to students who have limited access at their schools. Additionally, a team of teachers travels throughout CPS to provide additional AP opportunities.

Talk with your school counselor to see which AP courses align best with your postgraduation goals. 

Advanced Academic (AA) Honors Courses

Advanced Academic (AA) Honors courses are designed to exceed Ohio’s academic standards, with topics studied in more depth. AA courses in grades 9 and 10 prepare students for Advanced Placement (AP) courses in grades 11 and 12. Advanced Academic courses in grades 11 and 12 offer students more in-depth learning without the requirements of AP courses. 

College Credit Plus 

College Credit Plus (CCP), Ohio's dual enrollment program, offers 7th-12th-grade students opportunities to take college courses to meet high school graduation requirements — and earn college and high school credits at the same time.

CCP aims to enhance students' career readiness and postgraduation success, at no or limited cost. Cincinnati Public Schools pays the cost of CCP college tuition, books and fees. There will be minor expenses for families, such as parking and transportation.

Qualifying test scores are required for CCP participation.

CCP options include participating: 

  • Online through an Ohio public college or university 
  • In person at your high school (Not every high school offers this option.) 
  • In person at an Ohio public college or university

There are many CCP courses offered; for details, talk with your counselor or check the websites of Ohio's public colleges and universities.


There are numerous scholarship opportunities reserved for Cincinnati Public Schools' graduates at our partner colleges and universities. 

List of CPS scholarships and details about how to apply 

Hundreds of scholarships also are available for CPS students as well as students from other school districts; talk to your school counselor for help exploring all scholarship possibilities. 

Employment Pipeline — Employment

Our students receive on-the-job training from local companies, which can lead to employment when the student graduates. Through this partnership, a company becomes a co-educator — providing students with learning opportunities that are aligned with our curriculum, beyond the boundaries of the classroom.

Some companies partnering with CPS: 

Career-Technical Education

Career-Technical Education (CTE) teaches students specific skills in 16 career pathways that apply to high-demand careers.

CTE courses focus on skills. This differs from traditional and university-based education, which is based on theory. CTE includes some theory in introductory materials. Practice, hands-on experience and application tests are vital pieces, because CTE careers require workers to have experience before starting.

CTE Career Pathways — students can earn numerous Industry Credentials in high school within the pathways: 

  • Agriculture, food, natural resources 
  • Arts, audio/visual technology, communications 
  • Business, management, administration 
  • Construction, architecture 
  • Finance 
  • Government, public administration 
  • Health science 
  • Hospitality, tourism 
  • Human services 
  • Information technology 
  • Law, public safety, security 
  • Logistics, transportation, distribution 
  • Manufacturing 
  • Sales 
  • Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) 
  • Training 

Industry Credentials

An industry-issued credential is a verification of a person’s qualifications. These credentials are developed in partnership with employers and fully recognized by the business community.

Earning an industry credential gives students experience and deeper learning based on practicing and applying their knowledge in work and employment settings. Students learn about workplace expectations and career pathways that lead to successful careers.

CPS students can earn these Industry Credentials and more: 

  • American Welding Society Certified Welder
  • Certified Phlebotomy Technician
  • CPR/First Aid
  • Emergency Medical Technician 
  • Microsoft Office Specialist 
  • National Center for Construction Education and Research 
  • National Restaurant Association ServSafe 
  • State Tested Nursing Assistant 
  • Patient Care Technician 
  • Certified Pharmacy Technician 
  • Physical Therapy Aide 

See a full chart for examples of offerings in career-focused learning


Recruiters from branches of the U.S. Military often reach out to CPS' juniors and seniors via the mail, participate in CPS' Career Fairs and staff local recruiting offices. 

Find a local recruiter via the U.S. Department of Defense's website:

Military Service Academies

There are five U.S. service academies for students who want to experience a military environment while getting a paid-for college education; participants must commit to serving in the U.S. Military after graduation.

  • U.S. Military Academy (Army)
  • U.S. Naval Academy
  • U.S. Air Force Academy 
  • U.S. Coast Guard Academy 
  • U.S. Merchant Marine Academy 

Admissions criteria include: 

  • High school academic performance 
  • Standardized test scores (SAT or ACT) 
  • Athletics and extracurricular activities 
  • Leadership experience and community involvement 
  • A congressional letter of recommendation (not required for Coast Guard Academy) 


The Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) is a college program offered at more than 1,700 United States colleges and universities. The program prepares young adults to become officers in the U.S. Military.

Students enrolled in ROTC receive a paid-for college education; participants must commit to serving in the U.S. Military after graduation. Each service branch has its own ROTC

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