The CP requires students to adopt a variety of styles of learning and to also work together in teams

Paul Luxmoore - Executive Head Teacher of Dane Court Grammar School and King Ethelbert School, Kent

Career-related Programme: Frequently asked questions

Find answers to frequently asked questions from schools and teachers in the UK about the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Career-related Programme:

What is the International Baccalaureate’s Career-related Programme?

The Career-related Programme (CP) is designed for students interested in pursuing a career-related education in the final two years of secondary school or sixth form college. It provides them with an excellent foundation to support their further studies, as well as ensure their preparedness for success in the workplace. Students are provided with practical, real-world approaches to learning designed to prepare them for higher education, an internship or apprenticeship, or position in a designated field of interest.

How does the programme work?

The CP requires students to complete at least two IB Diploma Programme (DP) courses of their choice, a career-related study (i.e. a BTEC) offered by the individual school or college and four unique CP core components. The DP courses provide the element of academic; the career-related study provides practical real-world approaches to learning and skills development; and the CP core helps students to develop the skills and competencies required for lifelong learning. The core consists of four components – personal and professional skills; service learning; language development; and a reflective project.

Personal and professional skills

The personal and professional skills course aims to develop responsibility, practical problem-solving, good intellectual habits, ethical understanding and perseverance; emphasis is placed on the development of skills needed to successfully navigate higher education, the workplace and society.

Service learning

Service learning is the practical application of knowledge and skills towards meeting an identified community need. Through service, students develop and apply personal and social skills in real-life situations involving decision-making, problem-solving, initiative and responsibility for their actions.

Language development

Language development ensures that all CP students are exposed to another language other than their mother tongue. The opportunity to learn a second language is a central principle of an IB education.

Reflective project

The reflective project asks students to identify, analyse, critically discuss and evaluate an ethical issue arising from their career-related study, through an in-depth body of work produced over an extended period of time. This work encourages students to engage in personal enquiry, intellectual discovery, creativity, research and communication skills. 

What career-related courses are available?

The CP is a flexible curriculum that allows schools to create their own distinct versions of the programme to meet the needs, backgrounds and contexts of their students. Each school determines the appropriate career-related study course(s) to offer, each of which has been carefully examined by IB during the authorisation process. IB collaborates with major providers of career-related qualifications, including: BTEC, Pearson and IFS School of Finance, and IB is continuously developing additional career-pathways with professional communities around the world.

Example course components:


An education aligned to a student’s needs in terms of preparation for studying finance or accountancy at university or for progression straight into employment as a junior accountant might include:

− A finance career-related study for example IFS School of Finance Diploma

− IB DP business, computer science, maths and economics courses

− CP core


A CP package for students wishing to enter the engineering world would need to prepare the student for entrance to university to study an engineering based degree, for progression straight into employment, or a high level apprenticeship, so might include:

− An engineering career-related study for example BTEC Engineering

− IB DP business and management, computer sciences, design and technology, maths and chemistry

− CP core

What kind of student is a good candidate for the Career-related Programme?

The CP is an excellent choice for students who have already determined their area of career specialisation and want hands-on learning and experience in their chosen field, combined with academic study. The programme provides students with an impressive portfolio of accomplishments for university study and employment.

How well recognised is the Career-related Programme?

The IB is committed to making sure that schools in IB programmes meet and exceed local or national standards. All schools wishing to offer IB are required to examine their curriculum carefully to ensure that there is alignment with local and national standards, and that industry and government priorities are addressed. In 2015, the reflective project element of the CP was allocated UCAS tariff points in recognition of its distinct educative value and growing credibility among UK schools and universities.

Do CP teachers receive special training?

All CP teachers receive training and professional development in the IB’s approaches to teaching and learning from certified IB workshop leaders. This is a requirement of IB World Schools implementing the CP. All teachers who teach in CP classrooms are required to participate in collaborative planning and reflection to make their teaching practices consistent and to foster a holistic approach to education.

How to become an IB World School?

Schools interested in implementing CP must successfully complete an authorisation process. The requirements are the same for all schools and the authorisation process is designed to ensure that schools are well-prepared to implement the CP successfully. All IB World Schools are required to participate in an ongoing process of review and development using the same programme standards and practices.

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