Project Lead the Way and SkillsUSA

SkillsUSA Contest and Program Correlation to Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Courses

SkillsUSA’s Principles of Technology contest evaluates students’ understanding of basic technical concepts/principles of the applied sciences and ability to demonstrate and explain the concept/principle in action and application.

Any technical concept from the Principles of Engineering foundation course or Introduction to Engineering Design foundation course may be demonstrated, provided it is related to principles of technology and incorporates basic principles of the applied sciences. As part of the contest a paper is prepared and presented followed by a technical demonstration where the knowledge, underlying theories, and applications of the chosen principle(s) in action and application is demonstrated In the contest and students are evaluated on their overall presentation, physics knowledge, delivery style, primary point of communications, illustrations used, verbal techniques/ poise, introduction/ending, self confidence, technical writing skills and oral skills.

In SkillsUSA’s Related Technical Math contest contestants demonstrate skills required to solve mathematical problems commonly found in the professional and technical occupations through a written test. Skills demonstrated include addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of whole numbers, fractions and decimals; applied word problems; percentages; ratio proportions; averages; area; volume; metric measures and traditional (Imperial) measures and trigonometry. Math skills developed in the PLTW Engineering courses would help prepare students for this contest.

Aspects of PLTW’s Digital Electronics will help prepare students for SkillsUSA’s Electronics Technology contest. Electronics Technology contest is divided into five sections: customer service exam, written exam, soldering, breadboarding and troubleshooting. Contestants’ will demonstrate their knowledge of analog and digital circuitry; ability to troubleshoot electronic circuits; ability to construct and test experimental circuits; and, ability to design and select circuit components. All aspects of the competition test contestants’ abilities to use and calibrate electronic equipment, record and organize data, and demonstrate proper safety practices.

PLTW’s capstone course in Engineering Design and Development has strong correlation to SkillsUSA’s Engineering Technology contest. Both the PLTW course and the SkillsUSA contest involve a team of students analyzing a given problem and then designing, building, testing and presenting live functioning prototype engineering project.

Both the course and contest judge the quality of clear, concise communication skills, especially in oral presentation. Both share the following constituent pedagogical elements in achieving desired results.

  • Problem analysis
  • Creative thinking/innovation
  • Research
  • Planning
  • Design process
  • Storyboarding
  • Data collection and analysis
  • Market research, including economic and cultural influences and aesthetics
  • Cost analysis
  • Prototyping
  • Assessment
  • Resume writing

Safety protocols are imbedded in the orientation and judging of Engineering Technology and all SkillsUSA contests.

PLTW’s capstone course appears to emphasize technical and expository writing skills more than does SkillsUSA’s Engineering Technology contest. PLTW’s course has a larger documentation trail. SkillsUSA’s contest appears to evaluate professional comportment in presentation more than PLTW’s course.

In SkillsUSA’s Crime Scene Investigation contest contestants demonstrate skills related to processing and analyzing data found at a crime scene. Problem solving skills and evidence documentation and processing skills developed in the PLTW Principles of Biomedical Science course would help prepare students for this contest.

As all PLTW Biomedical Science (BMS) courses are aligned to the National Health Science Standards, completion of one or more of the four courses would help prepare students for participation in the Health Knowledge Bowl. Information about PLTW Standards and Alignment can be found at

With additional study, PLTW BMS students could also find success in additional contests, such as Medical Math and Medical Terminology.

Other STEM-related contests

Leadership Development Contests

  • Action Skills (Special Needs)
  • American Spirit
  • Chapter Business Procedure
  • Chapter Display
  • Community Service
  • Employment Application Process (Special Needs)
  • Extemporaneous Speaking
  • Job Interview
  • Job Skill Demonstration
  • Occupational Health & Safety
  • Opening & Closing Ceremonies
  • Outstanding Chapter
  • Pin Design
  • Prepared Speech
  • Promotional Bulletin Board
  • T-Shirt Design
  • Quiz Bowl

Occupationally Related Contests

  • Career Pathways Showcase
  • Customer Service
  • *Engineering Technology & Design
  • Entrepreneurship
  • First Aid/CPR
  • Health Knowledge Bowl
  • Health Occupations Professional Portfolio
  • Medical Math
  • Medical Terminology

Skilled and Technical Sciences

  • 3-D Visualization and Animation
  • Advertising Design
  • Architectural Drafting
  • Audio/Radio Production
  • Automated Manufacturing Technology
  • Automotive Refinishing Technology
  • Automotive Service Technology
  • Aviation Maintenance Technology
  • Basic Health Care Skills
  • Broadcast News Production
  • Building Maintenance (Special Needs)
  • Cabinetmaking
  • Carpentry
  • CNC Milling Technology
  • CNC Turning Technology
  • CNC Technician
  • Collision Repair Technology
  • Commercial Baking
  • Computer Maintenance Technology
  • Computer Programming
  • Cosmetology
  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Criminal Justice
  • Culinary Arts
  • Dental Assisting
  • Diesel Equipment Technology
  • Digital Cinema Production
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Electrical Construction Wiring
  • Electronics Technology
  • Esthetics
  • Firefighting
  • Graphic Communication
  • Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration
  • Industrial Motor Control
  • Internetworking
  • Information Technology Services
  • Major Appliance Technology
  • Marine Service Technology
  • Masonry
  • Mechatronics
  • Medical Assisting
  • Mobile Robotics Technology
  • Motorcycle Service Technology
  • Nail Care
  • Nurse Assisting
  • Photography
  • Plumbing
  • Power Equipment Technology
  • Practical Nursing
  • Residential Systems Installation and Maintenance
  • Restaurant Service
  • Robotics and Automation Technology
  • Screen Printing Technology
  • Sheet Metal
  • TeamWorks
  • Technical Computer Applications
  • Technical Drafting
  • Telecommunications Cabling
  • Television (Video) Production
  • Web Design
  • Welding
  • Welding Fabrication
  • Welding Sculpture

Visit this web page for a listing of all SkillsUSA competitions.

About Project Lead The Way
Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for K-12 students and teachers across the U.S. PLTW empowers students to develop in-demand, transportable knowledge and skills through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. PLTW’s teacher training and resources support teachers as they engage their students in real-world learning. More than 8,000 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia offer PLTW programs. For more information on Project Lead The Way, visit: