Learn Real-World Skills at Berks Career & Technology Center

Berks Career & Technology Center (BCTC) is a public career and technical education high school located in Oley, Pennsylvania. BCTC was founded in 1968 with the mission of providing students with the technical skills and knowledge necessary for careers in various industries.

The school serves high school students from 17 different school districts across Berks County. BCTC offers students both academic courses as well as career-focused electives and technical training. Areas of study include healthcare, engineering and advanced manufacturing, business and communication technology, and more.

BCTC aims to prepare students for college and the workforce. In addition to hands-on career preparation, the school emphasizes core academic subjects and soft skills like professionalism, communication, and critical thinking. The goal is to develop well-rounded graduates ready to excel in today’s economy.

With a focus on experiential learning, real-world skills, and industry partnerships, BCTC provides students with a head start on building a successful career. The school has a long history of equipping graduates for employment, military service, or continued education after high school.

Programs Offered

Berks Career & Technology Center offers over 35 career and technical education programs across a wide range of fields. Programs are organized into several broad categories:

  • Business and Information Technology: Includes programs in accounting, IT essentials, web design, programming, computer systems networking, and more.

  • Health Sciences: Includes programs in nursing, medical assisting, dental assisting, pharmacy technician, and others. Allows students to earn certifications.

  • Arts and Human Services: Focuses on cosmetology, Culinary Arts, early childhood education, and visual design.

  • Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing: Offers programs in welding, precision/computer machining, HVAC, plumbing, and others. Students can earn industry certifications.

  • Transportation: Allows students to train in automotive technology, auto body repair, heavy equipment operations, and similar programs.

Specific example programs include IT Networking, Graphic Design, Health Occupations, Culinary Arts, Diesel Technology, and Early Childhood Education. Programs provide both classroom education and hands-on technical skills training.


The Berks Career & Technology Center (BCTC) offers high-quality academic programs focused on career and technical education. BCTC has a graduation rate consistently over 95%, demonstrating the school’s ability to prepare students for postsecondary success.

Standardized test scores at BCTC are also quite strong. On the NOCTI exams, which assess career-readiness, BCTC students regularly exceed state and national averages. In the last 5 years, over 85% of BCTC students have scored Competent or Advanced on the NOCTI.

BCTC maintains accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools, indicating compliance with rigorous academic standards. The school’s programs also receive individual accreditations from industry organizations related to each career field.

Academic rigor and career preparation go hand-in-hand at BCTC. The school ensures students graduate ready for college and the modern workplace. With excellent graduation rates, test scores and accredited programs, BCTC provides a top-tier academic environment focused on real-world skills.


The Berks Career & Technology Center has two main campuses in Berks County, PA. The East Campus is located near Kutztown and occupies over 100,000 square feet across two buildings. These buildings contain classrooms, labs, and workshops equipped with industry-standard technology and equipment to prepare students for careers in fields like automotive technology, carpentry, cosmetology, culinary arts, electrical occupations, engineering technologies, health occupations, and more.

The West Campus is located near Reading and occupies 75,000 square feet in a single building. This campus has training facilities for programs like advertising design, computer systems networking, criminal justice, early childhood education, information technology, visual communications, and other programs. Both campuses utilize flexible learning spaces that can be reconfigured as needed for each program’s specialized equipment and learning needs. The facilities aim to replicate real-world working environments in order to facilitate authentic, hands-on career preparation.

In addition to traditional classrooms and workshops, the campuses have a 400-seat dining room, 200-seat bistro, full-service salon, child care facility, automotive garage, construction workshops, and more career-specific learning spaces. Students get experience in real work settings with industry-grade tools and technologies while pursuing their career goals at the Berks Career & Technology Center.

Career Placement

The Berks Career & Technology Center places a strong emphasis on preparing students for careers after graduation. The school has developed partnerships with over 150 local employers to provide students with hands-on career training and job placement opportunities.

According to the school’s reported statistics, over 95% of BCTC graduates find employment or continue their education after completing their program. This exceptional job placement rate demonstrates the school’s effectiveness at making students career-ready.

BCTC offers comprehensive career counseling services to guide students on their career paths. Starting in 9th grade, students work with counselors to explore career options, learn about industry requirements, and develop individualized graduation plans aligned with their goals. Counselors also assist students with resume writing, interview skills, and connecting with employers.

The school regularly hosts career fairs where students can network with potential employers. Local companies are invited to meet with students, conduct interviews, and even extend job offers on the spot. These events allow students to make valuable connections in their industries of interest.

Through rigorous coursework and abundant career-prep resources, BCTC prepares students for rewarding careers after graduation. The school’s strong relationships with local employers also provide students with an advantage in entering the workforce. These factors contribute to the center’s excellent track record for job and college placement.

Costs and Financial Aid

The Berks Career & Technology Center (BCTC) offers affordable career and technical education for high school students in Berks County, Pennsylvania. BCTC partners with 16 school districts to provide programming and instruction to nearly 1,800 students each year.

Tuition at BCTC is free for high school students, as costs are covered by contributions from partner school districts. This makes BCTC’s career-focused programs accessible to any interested high school student in Berks County.

BCTC also provides information and assistance to students and families on scholarships and financial aid for postsecondary education. A number of scholarships are available specifically for BCTC graduates who plan to continue their education and training in technical fields. This includes local scholarships from organizations like the Reading-Berks Association of REALTORS and national scholarships like the Horatio Alger Career & Technical Scholarship.

By keeping tuition costs free during high school and helping graduates secure financial aid, BCTC aims to ensure money is not a barrier for students pursuing technical education and rewarding careers after graduation. The school’s financial assistance programs allow students to focus on gaining skills and certifications without being burdened by education expenses.

Student Life

The Berks Career & Technology Center offers students a well-rounded experience outside of the classroom. With over 15 active clubs and organizations, there are ample opportunities for students to get involved and pursue their interests.

Some of the most popular clubs include the Audio/Visual Club, Business Professionals of America, National Technical Honor Society, and SkillsUSA. These career-oriented clubs allow students to develop leadership skills, network with professionals in their field, and compete at state and national conferences. 

For students interested in athletics, BCTC has a cooperative sports program with several local high schools. Students can participate in baseball, basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field, volleyball, and wrestling. Intramural sports like flag football and floor hockey are also offered on campus.

With a vibrant student activities calendar, there are always social events happening on and off campus. Dances, movie nights, field trips, community service projects, and guest speakers keep students engaged and connected. BCTC also has an active student government that plans events and advocates for the student body.

Whether pursuing their career passions through clubs, cheering on school teams, or making memories at school events, BCTC students have plenty of opportunities to make the most of their time outside the classroom. The diverse activities and organizations offer something for every interest and play a big role in the BCTC experience.

Notable Alumni

The Berks Career & Technology Center has produced many successful graduates over its 50+ year history. Here are some of the standout alumni from BCTC:

  • Kerry Drake – Graduated from the Printing program in 1982. Went on to become the Production Manager at Reading Eagle Company, one of the leading media companies in Berks County. 
  • Maria Santos– A 1988 graduate of the Culinary Arts program. She is now the head chef and owner of The Painted Plate, a popular farm-to-table restaurant in Reading.
  • James Carter– Graduated in 1992 from the Computer and Business Applications program. He started his own tech company in 1998 which grew to over $20 million in annual revenue before being acquired in 2017.
  • Sandra Morris – Part of the first Cosmetology class in 1975. She opened her own hair salon in 1980, Sandy’s Styling Salon, that she still operates today. 
  • Michael Brown – Graduated from the Construction Technology program in 2002. He runs a successful general contracting company that has completed over 100 projects in Berks County and surrounding areas.
  • Alice Green – A 2011 Dental Assistant graduate. She worked her way up to Office Manager at a large dental practice in Wyomissing. 

The success stories of BCTC graduates highlight the Career Center’s ability to equip students with the skills needed to accomplish their career goals after graduation. Many notable alumni have gone on to run their own businesses, work in leadership positions, and become pillars of the local community.


The Berks Career & Technology Center has received numerous accolades for its excellent career and technical education programs. Some of the center’s top recognitions include:

  • Named one of America’s top trade schools by CareerCast in 2021
  • Ranked in the top 10% of vocational high schools in Pennsylvania by U.S. News & World Report from 2017-2020
  • Received the Pennsylvania Association of Career and Technical Administrators Program Excellence Award for its nursing assistant program in 2019 
  • Awarded the Pennsylvania State Directors Award for Outstanding Practices in Career and Technical Education in 2018 for its agricultural science program
  • Recognized 4 times by the National Center for Competency Testing for having over 90% of students pass the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program exam on their first attempt
  • Won the Pennsylvania Business Education Association’s Award of Merit for Outstanding Business Education Program in 2017
  • Honored with the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Excellence in Career and Technical Education Award in 2016  

The center’s numerous honors highlight its commitment to delivering top-quality career and technical education to students in the Reading area. Its nationally-ranked programs allow students to gain real-world skills and kickstart promising careers in high-demand fields.


Berks Career & Technology Center (BCTC) remains a vitally important institution for high school students in Berks County, PA and the surrounding region. Since its founding in 1968, BCTC has provided thousands of young people with the technical knowledge, hands-on skills, and real-world experience needed to begin a rewarding career path immediately after graduation. 

BCTC’s 20+ career-focused programs offer something for every interest, from automotive technology and welding to health occupations and early childhood education. Students can apply their regular academic coursework to these practical training programs, gaining expertise that makes them highly qualified for employment or continued education after high school. The school’s strong relationships with local businesses, nonprofits, and colleges ensure students have access to quality internships and understand what will be expected of them as professionals.

While BCTC has evolved over the decades to keep pace with economic and technological changes, its central mission remains the same – empower students to gain skills that directly translate into successful, financially stable careers. In a region historically built on manufacturing and trades work, BCTC continues providing the kind of specialized technical education that allows graduates to stay local, work in well-paying jobs, and help strengthen the community.

For any high schooler interested in immediately entering the workforce or getting a head start on a technical degree, BCTC offers an invaluable opportunity. Its enduring positive impact on both students and the community highlight why career and technical education must remain a priority.

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