College and University > Career and Technical Education (CATE)
Not everyone wants to go the college route to prepare for their futures. For those who want to get work qualifications in a faster way, CATE is the way to go. This acronym is short for Career and Technical Education; for some people, the "T" can also mean "Technology".
CATE courses are usually taken in high school, and some of them do equip high schoolers with work-relevant skills that they can use to get jobs right after they graduate from high school. Emphasis on "some" because these days, there is a new direction for CATE programs.
Recent changes in the labor market is a big influence. Because more jobs these days require advanced skills, most students need to undergo at least some kind of training after their secondary education. However, since not everyone wants to pursue a college degree (and not everyone who does finish their degrees), CATE offers a viable alternative.
For those who want to pursue technical careers like in IT, CATE in high school would first equip them with basic computer science skills. Then, they can pursue certifications for more specialized fields like robotics, cybersecurity, or web development. For others, they may choose to pursue either an associate degree or a full bachelor's degree.
The aim of modern CATE is to keep the doors open for going to college, should students want to pursue it later on. The CATE courses of today are designed to prepare high schoolers for the greater rigors of college education, while at the same time teaching them how to apply their academic knowledge in real-world situations.
While those who have full bachelor's degrees do stand to earn more in general, it cannot be said that those who took CATE will inevitably earn less. There are certain fields that only require two-year courses that can earn more than those with four-year degrees.