Career Clusters and Endorsements

By: Texas OnCourse
reading time icon5 min read

What are the differences between Career Clusters and Endorsements, and how do they hang together?

This is the second in a series of posts on high school endorsements. Click here to view our post on "the basics." Find below a quick review of how career clusters relate to endorsements, and how to help students understand the meaning and value of each.

While there are 5 endorsements, there are 16 career clusters that can inform students' program of study throughout high school.

Differences in Endorsement Career Clusters and Program of Study chart

Career clusters are groupings of careers with similar skills or common themes, based on industry groups. They serve as an organizing tool for curriculum design and instruction, and their descriptions provide the essential knowledge and skills that students should demonstrate upon completing high school.

In Texas, the Career Clusters are organized into related groups to allow students to select related endorsements through the Foundation High School Program. Once students determine the cluster that supports their career goals and the pathway they will follow, the endorsement they will earn will become clearer. Each career cluster aligns to a specific Texas high school endorsement.

Chart of Endorsements and Clusters within Endorsements

(Download PDF of chart)


Helping students understand what specific career cluster is of interest to them can be essential to helping them plan their course schedule for success in high school and beyond.

To help students zero in on which of these paths is the best fit, we have put together a questionnaire that educators can use with students to find out where their passions lie. To complete the quiz, students answer a series of questions related to each cluster. If a student answers yes to five or more of the questions for a single career cluster, that cluster may be right for the student.

Download the quiz to help students select a career cluster!

*For more information on how to use the "chat" feature, watch this simple tutorial