What Are Career Academies?

Career academies are small, personalized learning communities within a high school. Students enter the academy through a voluntary process; they must apply and be accepted with parental knowledge and support.

A career academy involves teachers from different subjects working together as a team.

Staff teams, who often share common planning time, work together to implement the key features of the academy and provide students with training in the career field. Students may be grouped together for several periods every day with a core group of teachers. This promotes a family-like atmosphere and results in close student-teacher ties.

A career academy includes the following essential elements:

  • A small learning community supported by a local advisory committee
  • A career theme that includes a college-prep curriculum and lead to industry certification
  • Partnerships with employers, the community, and higher education


By design, these three central elements of a career academy lead to a school that is rigorous and relevant.



Academy Goals:

  1. Provide a rigorous and relevant curriculum leading to increased student achievement and graduation rates.
  2. Focus on career preparation through rigorous curriculum and industry certification.
  3. Raise student aspiration and commitment to academic achievement and work ethics.
  4. Promote leadership development through participation in Career Student Organizations.
  5. Support the revised graduation requirements by providing creative, applied majors.
  6. Promote dual enrollment and articulated credit so that students may earn postsecondary credit while in high school.
  7. Support the state's economy by meeting industry needs for skilled employees in high-demand occupations.

How to Apply

Visit polkschoolsfl.com/schooloptions for enrollment deadlines and procedures.

Application and Admission Requirements for All Academy Students

  • A student should have a genuine interest in the career area for which the student is applying.
  • The applicant may not have a past history of consistent, serious discipline problems as defined by the Code of Student Conduct.
  • Transportation will not be provided by the school district for out of zone transfers.
  • If a student is accepted into a high school career academy or middle school pre-academy but prior to entering that program is reassigned to a district discipline program or expelled due to a violation of the Code of Student Conduct, he/she will be considered ineligible for admission.
  • Out-of-zone students who leave a career academy must return to their zoned school per School Board policy.
  • School Board policy states when a student leaves an academy of any kind the student must return to their zone school.
  • Out-of-zone seniors who leave an academy will not be able to remain at the out-of zone school through the use of a “senior transfer.”
  • FSA Scores: In the event that an incoming 9th grader does not pass the 8th grade FSA he or she may be required to take intensive Math or Reading. These remedial courses may take up elective space within the student's schedule thus not allowing room for academy classes. If this is the case the student would be ineligible for acceptance into the academy.
  • Upon completion of the student’s Polk Academies application, the family will receive a confirmation number and email to the email address listed on the application.

Become a Business Partner

How Your Business Can Make a Difference

The students of Polk County can benefit greatly from your support. Currently, we are seeking partners to:

  1. Volunteer as a Guest Speaker
  2. Provide Financial Sponsorship
  3. Provide Equipment
  4. Offer Internships or On-the-Job Training
  5. Serve on an Advisory Board
  6. Offer Company (Facility) Tours
  7. Provide Student Scholarships
  8. Become a Named Academy Sponsor

If your business it interested in partnering with a Polk Academies program, contact our office at 863-519-8438.