Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership

Advisor 1

Mario Martinez, Committee Chair

First Committee Member

Cecelia Maldonado

Second Committee Member

Robert Ackerman

Graduate Faculty Representative

LeAnn Putney

Number of Pages



Various econometric, sociological, and combined research models (e.g., Hossler and Gallagher's preeminent Three-Phase Model on College Choice) provide help in understanding high school students in their decision-making stages and college experience. Many studies that utilize these models on college choice strongly substantiate and perpetuate the long-standing dichotomy between students who aspire to attend college in pursuit of upward mobility through the traditional baccalaureate pathway versus a community college Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathway. High school students' aspirations to attend a 4-year institution, and more recently, the community college, are a focal point.

A review of the literature as it pertains specifically to community college CTE transfer students and those factors influencing their decision to attend the senior institution remains sparse. In Nevada, it is non-existent. Therefore, this study will contribute to the literature by exploring the experiences of six Nevada CTE transfer students in those areas found to be the most influential towards their decision to continue their education at the baccalaureate level. How do these CTE transfer students describe their career pathway experiences as they transition from high school to the community college and on to the senior institution, and what factors influence their decision to transfer to the senior institution?

A hermeneutic phenomenological method of inquiry was used for data collection and analysis resulting in findings that identified eight influencing factors of the Nevada CTE transfer student phenomenon: (1) Career Aspirations; (2) Teacher Influence; (3) Parental Influence; (4) SES Background; (5) Academic Achievement; (6) Self-Improvement; (7) 2+2 Career Pathways; and (8) College Location. These findings suggest that there are no significant gaps in predisposition factors on college choice between the six Nevada CTE transfer student respondents and their native 4-year counterpart. Nevada CTE transfer students are likely to be as successful as their counterparts in their junior and senior years, if not more so. Their prior academic accomplishments at the community college and high levels of motivation supports a prior study indicating that successfully transferring from the community college to the senior institution may have provided them with the foundation to persist at the baccalaureate level. Clearly, this has been the case with six Nevada CTE transfer student respondents. The results of this study can be used to inform administrators, academic counselors, secondary and postsecondary faculty, the Nevada Department of Education, and other stakeholders to better prepare CTE students who opt to pursue a career pathway starting from high school and continuing through the community college, then on to a four-year college or university.


Career and technical education (CTE); Career counseling; College choices; Community colleges; High schools; Student choices; Transfer students; Undergraduate studies


Community College Education Administration | Community College Leadership | Educational Psychology | Higher Education Administration | Student Counseling and Personnel Services

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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