Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award



Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Christie Bledsoe

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Scott Self

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

John Kellmayer I



Women may perceive barriers when considering educational and career options in predominately male-dominated STEM-focused (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programs and settings. This qualitative, phenomenological study, emphasizing the social cognitive career theory, explored women’s perceptions that influenced the decision-making process to pursue nontraditional educational paths and careers in career and technical education fields such as architecture and construction while considering gender-associated challenges, culture and racial-ethnicity, and career and technical education stigma. Six adult female participants (three students and three leaders) responded to semistructured questions within a focus group and one-on-one interviews via telephone conferencing. A thematic analysis process using in vivo coding and Dedoose assisted in revealing 13 themes. A predominant finding included that building trades programs and careers were not seen as viable options for women. What women perceive as barriers may assist career and technical education leaders in devising strategies to increase female student enrollment in their architecture and construction programs, preparing women for careers in the building trades. A collaborative effort approach was recommended between career and technical education, businesses, companies, organizations, and other educational entities to produce a “one-stop-shop” digital platform highlighting educational programs and career opportunities within the building trades.

Keywords: architecture and construction programs, career and technical education, STEM, adult women in the building trades, female underrepresentation in predominately male settings, shortage of skilled trades workers, educational and career decision-making, barriers, challenges, perceptions, phenomenology, social cognitive career theory

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.