Date of Award

Spring 4-27-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Brianna Parsons, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

William Boozang, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Audrey Rabas, Ph.D.


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences of female graduates of nontraditional programs of study in career and technical education to better understand how their experiences influenced their career choices. A total of 11 female graduates from the same career and technical center located in rural, Southwestern Pennsylvania were selected to represent the population for this study. Lent, Brown, and Hackett’s (1994) Social Cognitive Career Theory was applied to examine how personal, behavioral, and environmental factors work together to influence an individual’s career choices. Data collection for this study featured semi-structured interviews with all participants, participants’ personal artifacts, and the researcher’s field notes. The four factors that were examined through data collection included the availability and presence of female role models, familial influence, gender roles and stereotypes, and self-efficacy. Following data collection, the participants’ responses were coded and organized into six themes: increased self-efficacy, bullied by male peers, need to prove oneself, lack of female role models in nontraditional occupations, familial influence, and not being challenged by their instructors. The emerging themes provided a foundation for how to better support female students enrolled in nontraditional programs of study in career and technical education. The findings from this study could be shared with career and technical education administrators as they strive to increase nontraditional participation and completion rates in qualifying programs of study.

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