Chapter 74 of the Massachusetts General Laws establishes the rules under which vocational technical education is run in Massachusetts. This state law is furthered defined by Vocational Technical Regulations (603 CMR 4.00) adopted by the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Together, they outline rigorous standards for program approval, including curriculum, teaching, equipment, oversight, and review.
In Massachusetts, state-approved vocational technical programs are often simply known as “Chapter 74 programs.” This label denotes quality. Because of the rigorous standards in Chapter 74 and the state’s unique vocational education delivery system, Massachusetts is generally acknowledged as the “gold standard” for vocational technical education.
High-quality Chapter 74 programs are currently offered at roughly 90 Massachusetts schools, including regional vocational technical high schools, regional and county agricultural high schools, independent high schools, city vocational high schools, educational collaboratives, charter schools, academic high schools, and comprehensive high schools.
These schools offer more than 40 different state-approved Chapter 74 programs, each with their own Curriculum Frameworks. These programs include Advanced Manufacturing; Animal Science; Biotechnology; Business Technology; Cabinetmaking; Criminal Justice; Culinary Arts; Dental Assisting; Design & Visual Communications; Early Education and Care; Electronics; Engineering Technology; Health Assisting; Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration; Marine Service Technology; Metal Fabrication and Joining Technologies; Plumbing; Programming & Web Development; and Sheet Metal, to name just a few.
At last count, some 54,300 high school students in Massachusetts were enrolled in Chapter 74 vocational technical education programs.