Dowell J. Howard Center - CTE

Career and Technical programs at Dowell J. Howard Center are designed to give students training and experience in specialized career areas that cannot be supported at the local high schools. Through a combination of traditional classroom instruction and hands-on practice, students gain valuable skills that can increase their employability in career fields such as automotive, computer hardware, construction, and/or health fields. Labs simulate real-world work settings, while projects such as the construction of a house and nursing clinical rotations take students to work experiences in the community. 

The Skills USA student organization serves Trade and Industrial students at Dowell J. Howard Center. The Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) organization is the co-curricular student-led organization that serves the Nursing Assistant program. Both provide opportunities for competition, travel, leadership and career development. 

Industry Certifications: The High School Industry Credentialing initiative encourages students to work toward a selected industry credential or state license while pursuing a high school diploma. The Virginia Department of Education evaluates on an on-going basis industry credentials against prescribed criteria for graduation requirements for the Standard Diploma (8VAC20-131-50.B and student-selected verified credit (8VAc20-131-110.C). Credentialing exams are available to any student taking a Career and Technical Education course.

​Co-op Credit Elective: Juniors and seniors who choose this option combine classroom instruction with continuous employment and a minimum of 396 hours of work experience, an average of 11–15 hours of work per week for 36 weeks. Students must be registered for six classes and work in an approved trade and industrial position for the seventh credit. All students who wish to co-op must be in the 11th or 12th grade and have successfully completed one trade and industrial course in the sequence.

Additional work-based learning experiences are available as a part of Career and Technical Education courses through an application process. Juniors and seniors who are currently enrolled in CTE courses who have completed a coherent sequence of CTE courses are eligible. The application process includes student narrative and teacher recommendation. Students participating in the work-based learning experience are required to complete a reflective exercise.

An application is required for admission to the Dowell J. Howard courses. 

Auto Body Technology I

8676 (AUTOBODY I)
2 Credits 
Grades: 10–12

Through participation in classroom and lab activities, students develop fundamental knowledge and skills needed to analyze and repair automotive body systems. Students participate in activities such as estimating, unibody measurement and correction, welding, structural and nonstructural analysis and repair, paint preparation and paint application. Students also learn about job opportunities and training needed for careers in auto body and collision repair. This class requires the use of specialized personal protective equipment. A lab fee is required.

Auto Body Technology II

86771 (AUTOBODY II-NON)
2 Credits 
Grades: 11-12
Prerequisite: Auto Body Technology I

86772 (AUTOBODY II-CO)
3 Credits 
Grades: 11-12
Prerequisite: Auto Body Technology I


Students are prepared for entry-level positions in autobody and collision repair career fields. Students are taught to repair, mask, and refinish auto body components and entire vehicles. Classroom and lab activities emphasize practical application of the knowledge and skills needed by autobody technicians in the workplace. Students are involved in all phases of a job from arrival in the shop to finished product. This class requires the use of specialized personal protective equipment. The Co-op method of instruction is available in this course. A lab fee is required.

Auto Body Technology III

86781 (AUTOBODY III-NON)
2 Credits
Grade: 12
Prerequisite: Auto Body Technology II

86782 (AUTOBODY III-CO)
3 Credits
Grade: 12
Prerequisite: Auto Body Technology II

This course is a capstone course, students perfect their auto body skills and move toward employment. Students who complete this program sequence will be prepared to take and pass the respective ASE/NATEF exam and will be prepared for post secondary education opportunities. The Co-op method of instruction is available in this course. A lab fee is required.

Automotive Technology I

8506 (AUTOTECH I)
2 Credits
Grades: 10-12

In this first course of the three-course program, students learn all aspects of repair, safety, and customer service by concentrating 140 hours of instruction on two of the primary *ASE/NATEF areas for certification: Brakes and Electrical/Electronics. Students who successfully complete this portion of the program will be prepared to take the student level ASE/NATEF exam and will be prepared for postsecondary education opportunities. A lab fee is required.

*Automotive Service Excellence/National Automotive Technology Education Foundation 

Automotive Technology II

85071 (AUTOTECH II-NON) (8507/36 weeks, 280 hours)
2 Credits 
Suggested Grade Levels: 11-12
Prerequisite: Automotive Technology I

85072 (AUTOTECH II-CO) (8507/36 weeks, 280 hours)
3 Credits 
Suggested Grade Levels: 11-12
Prerequisite: Automotive Technology I

Students will study an additional two new ASE/NATEF areas of certification; Suspension and Steering, and Engine Performance. Students who successfully complete this portion of the program will be prepared to take and pass the student level ASE/NATEF exam and will be prepared for post-secondary education opportunities. Students combine classroom instruction and supervised on-the-job training in an approved position with continuing supervision throughout the school year. The Co-op method of instruction is available in this course. A lab fee is required.

Automotive Technology III

85081 (AUTOTECH III-NON)
2 Credits 
Suggested Grade Level: 12
Prerequisite: Automotive Technology II 

85082 (AUTOTECH III-CO)
3 Credits 
Suggested Grade Level: 12
Prerequisite: Automotive Technology II 

After completing the four core program basics, students in Auto III will work collaboratively with one another to diagnose and troubleshoot on foreign and domestic automobiles in an automotive work environment. This program is set up to maximize hours of hands-on training. In addition, four remaining areas: Engine Repair, Automatic Transmissions and Trans-axles, Manual Drive Train and Axles, and Heating and Air Conditioning will be covered as time allows. The cooperative education opportunity is available for this course. Students can qualify for participation in the *AYES program which allows students to work with one of our local automotive dealership partners. Upon successful completion, this class will count as one year of hands-on experience toward ASE certification. Students in this class have the opportunity to receive dual-enrollment (college) credit. The Co-op method of instruction is available in this course. A lab fee is required.

*Automotive Youth Education System 

Building Trades I

8515 (BLD TR I)
2 Credits
Grades: 10-12


This course introduces students to skills in the four core areas of residential construction: masonry, carpentry, electricity, and plumbing. Students emphasize safety by preparing to earn the OSHA 10 card as they build or repair entire residential structures, using a variety of materials and tools. A lab fee is required.

Building Trades II

85161 (BLD TRII-NON)
2 Credits
Grades: 11-12
Prerequisite: Building Trades I

85162 (BLD TRII-CO)
3 Credits
Grades: 11-12
Prerequisite: Building Trades I

This course allows students to participate in classroom and lab activities designed to help them gain skills needed for entry-level employment in the construction trade and/or related areas. Students learn to use hand and power tools by laying out and constructing utility buildings and other projects. Blueprint reading, worksite safety and teamwork are taught. Students may elect to work through cooperative education or apprenticeship.​ A lab fee is required.

Digital Applications

6617 (DIG APPL)
1 Credit
Duration: 36 weeks
Grade: 9-12 For LINKS students only

This course is designed for secondary school students to develop real-life, outcome-driven approach skills for digital citizenship, basic computer operations, keyboarding, application software (word processing, spreadsheets, multimedia applications, databases), and career exploration. This course promotes skills that can be applied across the curriculum and offers preparation relevant to 21st century skills and postsecondary education. Students who successfully complete this course may be eligible for a rigorous and relevant industry certification examination. Student skills may be enhanced by participation in work-based learning activities and/or the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA).

Nurse Aide Program at Dowell J. Howard

This program is certified by the Virginia Board of Nursing and is subject to specific state laws and regulations from this governing board. A mandatory parent and student meeting are required prior to official acceptance into the program to ensure full understanding of program expectations and regulations including clinical experience. Drug screening, criminal background check and lab fee are also required. Nurse Aide I and Nurse Aide II must be successfully completed for students to take the certification exam.

Nurse Aide I

8360 (NRS AIDE I)
1 Credit
Grades: 11–12
Recommended: Introduction to Health and Medical Sciences, Enrolled in or completed Biology II: Survey of Human Systems


This first course of the Nurse Aide Program is offered as an occupational preparation course beginning at the 11th grade level, emphasizes the study of nursing occupations as related to the health care system. Students study normal growth and development, simple body structure and function, and medical terminology and are introduced to microbes and disease. They receive elementary skill training in patient-nurse aide relationships; taking and recording of vital signs; cardiopulmonary resuscitation; and bathing, feeding, dressing, and transporting of patients in hospitals and nursing homes.

Nurse Aide II

8362 (NRS AIDE II)
1 Credit
Grades:  11-12
Prerequisite: C or better in Nurse Aide I


This second course of the Nurse Aide Program is an occupational preparation course, emphasizing advanced skill training in areas such as catheter care, range of motion, bowel and bladder training, care of the dying, selected procedures for maternal and infant care, and admission and discharge procedures. Students learn diseases and body systems as related to advanced clinical care of the acute medical-surgical patient, the chronically ill, and the elderly. Fifty clinical hours of on-the-job instruction in a licensed nursing home is part of the course. Upon completion of the nurse aide program, the student is eligible to take the nurse aide certification exam that leads to employment as a certified nurse aide in hospitals and nursing homes.

Nurse Aide Work-based Learning

8332 (NRS WBL- CO)
2 Credits 
Grade: 12
Prerequisite: Nursing Aide I and II, CNA Certification; 2.0 GPA, Instruction Recommendation
Recommended: Biology II: Survey of Human Systems 

This is a work-based course that involves instruction at DJHC once a week during the afternoon block as well as continuous employment in a health care facility for 11–15 hours per week throughout the school year. Students must have a “B” average in Nurse Aide I and II; submit an application and three letters of recommendation to be accepted to this program. The DJHC nursing instructor coordinates student placement in a health care related job. In addition, students learn and practice workplace readiness skills.  Drug screening and criminal background check and lab fee are required.

Cybersecurity Systems Technology I

8628 (CYB SEC I)
2 Credits 
Grades: 10–11
Prerequisite: Cybersecurity Fundamentals

Students enter the world of computer technology and gain practical experience in assembling a computer system. Students will install, configure, and secure various operating systems. Students will troubleshoot computers and peripherals and use system tools and diagnostic software. They develop skills in computer networking and resource sharing. In addition, students explore the relationships between internal and external computer components. Upon successful completion of the course, students may qualify to take the CompTIA A+ certification exam. 

Computer Systems Technology II

86231 (COMP HDSYSII-NON)
2 Credits 
Grades: 11–12
Prerequisite: Computer Hardware Systems Technology I

86232 (COMP HDSYSII-CO)
3 Credits 
Grades: 11–12
Prerequisite: Computer Hardware Systems Technology I 

Students study theory and application of local area networking. The course prepares students to take the CompTIA NET+ certification exam. Students also study network and system security and learn about the requirements for the CompTIA Security+ certification exam. This certification covers the current risks to electronic data and the techniques used to safeguard digital assets. The Co-op method of instruction is available in this course.

Apprenticeship

9841 (APPREN)
1 Credit
Grades: 11-12

Students who register as an apprentice with the Virginia Department of Industry and Labor in Grades 11 or 12 and continue employment throughout the school year are eligible to earn an elective credit in Apprenticeship.