Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership



First Reader/Committee Chair

Martinez, Edna


The purpose of this mixed methods research study was to examine factors influencing community college Career Technical Education (CTE) students in their field of study choice. The problem was twofold: (1) Community college CTE performance metrics include earnings goals, but there is little research to inform the performance metric (Harrington, Mbomeda, & Casillas, 2018; Roberts, Leufgen, & Booth, 2018); and (2) CTE students, who are disproportionately economically disadvantaged, pursue fields of study that do not lead to a living wage (Bahr, 2010; Booth & Bahr, 2012; Zhang & Oymak, 2018).

For this within-stage mixed model design (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004), I created an instrument to examine quantitative and qualitative data for CTE field of study choice. The Choice of College Major Survey (CCMS) had three domains: 1) student characteristics, which consisted of the 27 Likert items; 2) sociodemographic, which consisted of the seven demographic items; and 3) six open-ended items, which were the qualitative part of the study. I tested variables within the student characteristics domain and the career integration variable. I found statistically significant (p

I used the conceptual model of Hirschy, Bremer, and Castellano (2011) for community college CTE student success. Although I did not set out to propose a new conceptual model, my findings led to a proposed conceptual model for CTE field of study choice, based on the model by Hirschy et al. (2011). My findings indicated a distinction between influencers, which were included in the conceptual model by Hirschy et al. (2011), and purposeful process, which was not included. Because the conceptual model by Hirschy et al. (2011) was designed to explain student attainment of educational goals rather than field of study choice, purposeful process was not relevant in the original model.

Further testing and validation of the CCMS and the proposed conceptual model would add to theory and practice. In this paper I make recommendations for policy and practice and suggest further research.