SOAR Pathway

What is SOAR?

A Students Occupationally and Academically Ready (SOAR) program of study is a Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE)-approved, Career and Technical Education (CTE) program. It provides credits for skills and tasks learned at the high school level. Students can apply these credits to a post-secondary (college) degree, diploma or certificate program.

SOAR students can earn three to 12 articulated credits while in high school or at a Career and Technical Center (CTC). Depending on the program, students may be able to apply these credits to a college degree, diploma or certificate program.

SOAR programs prepare today’s student for High Priority Occupations which include career categories that are in high demand by employers, have higher skills needs, and are most likely to provide family sustaining wages.

Students weld in the welding lab.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a SOAR Program? 

The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Improvement Act of 2006 required the development and implementation of career and technical programs of study.  Programs of Study incorporate elements of secondary and postsecondary education and include coherent and rigorous content aligned with challenging academic standards and relevant career and technical coursework.  This coordinated progression of non-duplicative coursework includes the opportunity for secondary students to earn industry-recognized credentials and postsecondary credits through statewide articulation agreements with participating postsecondary institutions.

Why should I enroll in a SOAR program? 

A SOAR program offers many benefits. Students will:

  • Get a head start and complete your college requirements sooner.
  • Earn an industry-recognized certification.
  • Be better prepared to start your career or post-secondary education.
  • Save money on future tuition costs — you will be earning credits while in high school or CTC.
  • Earn credits that can transfer statewide.  There are 34 post-secondary institutions accepting SOAR program credits.

How can I earn free SOAR credits? 
  • Earn a high school diploma.
  • Maintain a 2.75 GPA in a Career and Technical Education program.
  • Achieve competent or advanced on the End of Program Assessment (NOCTI, etc.).
  • Complete a competency task list at the proficient level or above.
  • Submit proof that students have met the requirements for the SOAR credit. 

What does articulation mean? 

Articulation is an agreement between two schools. Technical high schools and high schools with Career and Technical programs work with colleges and post-secondary schools. They compare the curriculum and tasks at the high school level. When the high school curriculum matches introductory college courses, the college accepts the credits. It is similar to advanced entrance.

What documentation is required for college credits? 

You must provide the following documentation, if applicable:

  • High school diploma
  • Official student transcript
  • Secondary competency task list. Make sure your secondary-school technical instructor signs it.
  • PA Certificate of Competency or PA Skills Certificate from technical program area
    Earned industry certifications

Student Documentation Coversheet for Programs of Study Articulation Agreements 
Coversheet for Secondary Competency Task List 

How many post-secondary credits can I receive? 

Awarded credits are CTE-program specific. The amount varies among the partnering post-secondary institutions.

Do I need to complete all competencies on the POS Secondary Competency Task List?             

Students must complete all the tasks listed on the Secondary Competency Task List to industry proficiency level. Students will qualify for the course credits once you complete these tasks.

Students must complete all tasks — we will not award partial credits.

How long do I have before the credits expire? 

Qualified SOAR program students are eligible to apply for credits up to three years after their high school graduation date 2020 or earlier, or sixteen months after their high school date beginning with 2021.