Washington High School’s Tier Program —DECompetitors & DECApprentices

About a year ago, the California Department of Education clarified that students who participate or intend to participate in CTSO organizations like DECA are required to be enrolled in a CTE class that serves one of the following areas of DECA including: Marketing, Business Management and Administration, Hospitality and Tourism, and Finance.

Many schools around the Bay Area, and Fremont in particular, soon realized this would be a challenge, as many schools did not offer CTE courses and many students did not have room to fit the required class in their schedules .

In DECA chapters throughout the Bay Area, hopeful students began to make trips to their principal and counselors’ office and dedicated advisors made several phone calls in order to find a workable solution for this situation.

To solve this dilemma, my chapter, Washington High School DECA, began a tier program this year. Those who took CTE courses and were registered members with DECA Inc. were named DECompetitors and those who couldn’t take the class but were still interested in DECA activities were named DECApprentices. We started DECApprentices in order to gauge member interest and help underclassmen integrate CTE courses into their four-year schedule and join our DECA chapter.

Primarily overseen by our VP of Hospitality and the New Member Director, the DECApprentices were exposed to a series of workshops, after-school role-play competitions, a Mini-Con, and the opportunity to run for an officer position for the following school year.

After School Workshops

Our after school workshops exposed our members to the four clusters DECA exposes regular members to – marketing, business administration/management, finance, and hospitality/tourism. These workshops covered important information regarding the basics of role-plays, virtual business competitions, and written reports.

Role-Play Competitions

DECApprentices also had the opportunity to utilize the skills learned at workshops and apply these skills during role-play competitions to emulate what the DECompetitors do at conferences.

Point System

We created a point system in order to motivate DECApprentices to keep coming to our workshops.

Ways To Earn Points

  1. Each DECApprentice workshop is worth 5 points
  2. DECApprentices who wear a DECA shirt the day of a workshop will be given one extra point.
  3. During mini role-play competitions, the DECApprentice who gets first place will get 5 points, second place will get 4 points, third place will get 3 points, fourth place will get 2 points, and fifth place will get 1 point.
  4. DECApprentices that attend Mini-Con will get 5 points, and apprentices who place will get bonus points.

Ways To Lose Points

  1. During workshops, disruptive DECApprentices will lose points.
  2. DECApprentices who have to leave early during a workshop will only receive 2 points.


  1. Top 4 DECApprentices with the most amount of points will receive an opportunity to be interviewed for a DECA officer position.
  2. DECApprentices with the most amount of points will be rewarded with a discount for the DECA conference fee and other prizes throughout the year.

Overall, whether or not your chapter is affected by the CTE requirement, the tier program is a great way to recruit and encourage underclassmen to join your DECA chapter, and the opportunities are LIMITLESS!

Read more about my chapter at http://whsdeca.org/.

This article was written by Washington High School DECA’s Director of Internal Affairs, Tara Bhatia. You can follow Washington High School DECA on Twitter @whshuskydeca.