Academies, Specialization Programs, and Career Experience through FCPS


Photo via Chantilly Academy Criminal Justice Dept./Instagram

High school students are very familiar with the elective options that give them a chance to explore other interests besides their required core classes. And while these options are very helpful for students who want to explore different passions, FCPS has even more options for students who want to focus on something else. I am a senior in high school and became aware of these programs just recently, so hopefully sharing some of the more well known academies and specialization programs will inspire students to pursue their true passions.

Fairfax County Public Schools currently has six locations where academies are in session right now: Chantilly, Edison, Fairfax, Falls Church, Marshall, and West Potomac. These academies are a small glimpse into what a college major, future job, or even long-term career may look like and give students in high school the chance to take their first step in that field. One of the best aspects of these courses is that if you realize you changed your mind, or you feel like you want to do something else, you don’t have to feel trapped in that course. With that said, let’s talk about some of the academy and specialization classes that jumped out at me.

To start it off, Veterinary Sciences is a class where you groom dogs and work with and learn about animals. This course is common for those who know they want to pursue a career as a veterinarian. Another specialization course is Firefighting. This course is unique and although it is only open to high school seniors, it would be a great opportunity not only if you’re interested in firefighting, but if you are curious about the behind the scenes and structure of your local fire department. One of the most popular academy classes for our student body at South Lakes is the Criminal Justice course offered at Chantilly High School. This class simulates investigations, talks to police, and even gets to use real handcuffs and other hands-on items that make this class so engaging. Another popular option is Auto Tech, a course that is actually offered at South Lakes. This course takes you through the process of car repairment, oil changes, and auto detailing. These students get the opportunity to work with real cars and learn the basic job skills that can help them decide what they want as their career choice

While I wish I could list every academy and specialization course, this website by FCPS is a resource for anyone interested in something that could help them make a life-long decision. These courses have helped many, and talking to current or former students from these courses can help you decide which course seems right for you. With that said, pursue what seems interesting to you, and make the most of what FCPS has to offer.