About TCD » FAQs


  • What is Career and Technical Education (CTE)?
  • What is Technology Center of DuPage?
  • How does TCD work?
  • How much does it cost to attend TCD?
  • Who goes to TCD?
  • Is TCD for the college-bound student?
  • College credit! What else can I get out of a TCD program?
  • Academic skills at TCD? Don't I get them at my high school?
  • What if I'm not sure about college?
  • What is "work-based learning?"
  • Will attending TCD interfere with my high school schedule?
  • Can I still do sports or other extracurricular activities at my school?
  • May I drive to TCD?
  • What are the instructors like?
  • Is there homework?
  • What if I need help?
  • What if I change my mind about my program choice?
  • Where is TCD located?
  • May I visit TCD?
  • Where can I get more information?

What is Career and Technical Education (CTE)?

CTE programs prepare young people for a wide range of successful careers which require varying levels of education – from high school and post-secondary certificates to two- and four-year colleges. Employers want people with well-developed workplace skills, problem-solving ability, and good reading, writing, and math skills. CTE programs help students develop those skills and qualities through hands-on curricula.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, most high school students take at least one career and technical education course. For more information, see the Association for Career and Technical Education CTE fact sheet or visit ACTE's website at www.acteonline.org

What is Technology Center of DuPage?

TCD is not a trade school, alternative school, or separate high school -- it is the advanced CTE campus that is an elective part of 24 high schools in the DuPage area. TCD offers a roster of 20 elective career study programs for juniors and seniors. Students enroll in one program and spend that year in hands-on occupational skill development, workplace skill development, and academic application. Students have the opportunity to earn high school credit, college credit, and available industry certification through a TCD program. More about TCD:
  • A Career and Technical Education campus since 1974, Technology Center of DuPage in Addison serves DuPage area high school juniors and seniors, under the direction of the DuPage Area Occupational Education System (DAOES, www.daoes.org). Currently, students from fourteen member school districts, representing 24 high schools, participate in TCD's roster of programs.
  • All TCD curricula are aligned with the Illinois Learning Standards. In each program, students use career-specific mathematics, science reasoning, language arts, and technology, reinforced by real-world, hands-on applications. Instructors evaluate students in these skills as well as in occupational skills, career development/awareness, and workplace skills.
  • Each student develops a résumé documenting his/her progress and achievement, which serves as a record for college applications and future employment.
  • Each TCD program has an advisory committee whose members represent business or industry in that career field. They provide advice and assistance in maintaining occupational relevance for each program.

How does TCD work?

Enrollment takes place through your high school's guidance office. A TCD program usually replaces a study hall or elective. Students may enroll for junior year, senior year, or both. The class is typically offered five days a week in a morning or afternoon session at the campus in Addison. Transportation is provided by your high school.
TCD curriculum is a combination of theory, hands-on learning experiences, and applied academics. Through TCD's unique goal-driven approach to learning, students achieve their personal educational and career objectives at their own pace, under the guidance of the instructor. TCD's high-tech, quarter million square foot facility features a learning environment that simulates the workplace, both physically and in practice.

How much does it cost to attend TCD?

TCD is part of the high school's curriculum, so there is no tuition cost to the student. A few high schools add a surcharge to register for a TCD program; this fee is not collected by TCD. 
Each TCD program has a flat kit fee for books and supplies (exception: Cosmetology -- see link for all fee information). Some programs require a uniform or supplies that the student purchases directly from a vendor. See the "Fee Payments" link on the homepage, or on the individual program listings on this website for the program's estimated fees/costs for the upcoming school year.


Who goes to TCD?

The student population at TCD looks like the one at any DuPage area high school, because that's where our students come from! Your classmates share your interests and that makes any class more interesting and fun. Member high schools set any guidelines, pre-requisites, or numbers; see your school counselor for information.

Is TCD for the college-bound student?

Certainly — think of TCD as a different college track. You can even earn college credit through your program at the same time for the same work.
TCD helps you identify your talents and interests so you can make your college years more productive. Why not try out your career interest or potential college major while you are still in high school?
Most TCD students continue their education through a 2-year college, 4-year university, technical school, or industry apprenticeship program. In fact, in recent years, TCD seniors have earned over $1.5 million in scholarships!
Click here to see available college credit, by program.

College Credit! What else can I get out of a TCD program?

Through TCD, you may:
  • Acquire fundamental and advanced occupational skills, applied academics, and workplace skills
  • Earn high school credit, transferable college credit, and available industry certifications
  • Explore the diverse opportunities available in your career interest
  • Network with business partners and acquire actual experience
  • Learn more about career-specific scholarship opportunities
  • Discover your post-secondary options for further education and training
  • Develop a résumé of your work and accomplishments – a valuable addition to your college admissions application.

Academic skills at TCD? Don't I get them at my high school?

Of course! And as part of your high school curriculum, Technology Center of DuPage builds on the academic skills you already have by showing you how they are applied in real world situations. Every occupation uses various levels of skills in mathematics, language arts, science reasoning, and technology. Use your TCD experience to discover the skills you need for maximum success in your chosen career. If you need assistance, TCD has academic specialists on staff to team with your instructor to find new learning strategies and assess your progress.

What if I'm not sure about college?

Continuing your education does not always mean entering a four-year degree program. According to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Labor, nearly one-third of the fastest growing 21st Century occupations require an associate degree or a post-secondary certificate, but not necessarily a bachelor's degree. TCD can be a valuable link between high school and these rewarding, in-demand occupations.
Your TCD instructor can tailor a learning plan to help you meet your goals. TCD encourages you to develop or improve self-management, productivity, and confidence – skills you need in college or the workplace.

What is "work-based learning?"

TCD provides real-world experiences through internships, job-shadows, extended campus, and TCD's own student-run businesses. These experiences help you:
  • Connect what you learn in school to the world of work
  • Explore your career interest at the next level
  • Understand overall workplace dynamics
  • Develop contacts with professionals who may serve as resources or references when you are ready to enter the job market
Students interested in these options should talk to their TCD instructor and meet with TCD's Career Counselor.

Does attending TCD interfere with my high school schedule?

By planning ahead with your school counselor, you will find your TCD experience won't interfere with graduation requirements or college entrance. Ask your counselor how your chosen TCD program might fulfill specific graduation requirements at your school.


Can I still do sports or other extracurricular activities at my school?

TCD programs take place during the school day, keeping after school hours free for extracurricular activities. Students have opportunities to take advantage of many available, college-level courses associated with TCD programs.

May I drive to TCD?

Every student is required to take the free bus to TCD provided by his or her high school. Exceptions are rare and made only with at least a 24-hour advance approval from your high school, parents, and Technology Center of DuPage. Students with permission to drive to TCD may not give rides to other students.

What are the instructors like?

Each TCD instructor has an Illinois teaching certificate and must have at least 2,000 hours of workplace experience in his or her field. The instructor's role is that of an employer/mentor, guiding and evaluating you as you progress through the curriculum.


Is there homework?

Though some programs may include work outside the classroom, most course work can be completed while at TCD.

What if I need help?

First, your TCD instructor is there to provide additional instruction as needed. For further assistance, TCD has student services assistants on staff, available during the school day.

What if I change my mind about my program choice?

With permission from your school counselor and TCD's Career Counselor, you may switch to a different TCD program in the first couple of weeks of the semester, as long as there is an opening and with approval from the Assistant Principal for Student Services. The deadline for program changes in the fall is September 15 and January 15 for the spring semester. Every incoming TCD student completes a comprehensive assessment that identifies career interests, abilities, and work values. The results help students confirm their original program choice, or discover other suitable career path options.

Where is TCD located?

The main TCD campus, at 301 S. Swift Road, is located on 13 acres in Addison, Illinois. (map) It is accessible by I-355, State Route 64 (North Avenue), Lake Street (Rte. 20), and Army Trail Road.

May I visit TCD?

Interested individuals and groups may tour Technology Center of DuPage during school hours by contacting the Community Relations Coordinator. For students with an IEP, please contact the Student Services Counselor to set up an appointment.
During your sophomore or junior year, your high school may participate in the Explore TCD Field Trip, allowing you to explore different TCD programs.
Every September and January, TCD hosts a Community Open House through which students and family members may visit any or all programs and talk with staff members

Where can I get more information?

Click the icon "Contact Us" above for specific contact information.