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Contest Descriptions & Tips

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There are so many amazing contests available to our student members, many of which are not program specific. To better guide students and advisors in their efforts to participate in and find success at our State Leadership & Skills Conference, we are providing descriptions of contests, marking those that are not program or career cluster specific, marking those that have a special qualification, and providing some preparation tips for some contests. Tips will begin being added in January 2023.

Program Specific contests are those in which the standards and competencies are aligned with a set program or similar programs, requiring the competitor(s) to be enrolled in and have knowledge of specific material. Cluster Specific contests are those in which the standards and competencies are aligned with a set career cluster that includes multiple program areas, requiring the competitor(s) to be enrolled in and have knowledge of certain material that spans across the cluster or in contained in each of the programs under that cluster.

Non-Program Specific contests are those in which the standards and competencies are inclusive of all clusters and programs. While some clusters or programs may have experiences that align more with the contest standards and competencies, this does not exclude others from participating. This also includes contests in which team members can be from various clusters or programs, contests in which competitors must have certain classifications, and more. Some contests, although non-program specific, may put some program students at more of an advantage due to the skills they are taught.

ADA
MS
MS Only
HS Only
PS Only
N

Contests that require the competitor to fall under ADA requirements. The technical standards explain the procedure that is needed to follow when entering one of these contests.

Contests that include the Middle School level.

Contests that are for Middle School only.

Contests that are for Secondary (High School) only.

Contests that are for Post-Secondary (College) only.

Contests that are Non-Program Specific (see above definitions).

**If a contest is not marked with a "MS", "HS", or "PS", then they are open to Secondary (High School) AND Post-Secondary (College). This encompasses nearly all competitions.

Action Skills
ADA
N

This competition requires a five-to seven-minute demonstration of an occupational skill in an area in which a student is training. Competitors use examples, experiments, displays or practical operations to clearly explain their skills using competitor-prepared visual aids. 

In this event, students compete individually. If a model is needed for the purposes of a competitor's demonstration, they must provide their own student models. This competition is only open to students that qualify under ADA.

Additive Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing, also know as 3D Printing, embraces a wide range of materials and derivative processes to build parts suitable for end-use service. The virtually unlimited design freedom enabled by additive manufacturing allows the creation of shapes and the integration of feature and function that previously required sub-assemblies.

In this event, students compete as a team of 2.

Advertising Design

This competition tests technical skills and creative aptitude as though competitors worked for an ad agency. Competitors will recreate a provided advertisement on the computer. They are judged on their accuracy, proficiency with industry software and ability to meet a deadline. Competitors also complete a creative portion, which involves the application of creative thinking and a design challenge. Layout, drawing and illustration skills are used, as well as the ability to create vibrant, effective designs using the computer. Contestants compete individually in this event.

American Spirit
MS
N

This is a professional portfolio competition documenting a SkillsUSA chapter's community service, patriotism and citizenship, and promotion of career and technical education projects that demonstrate a belief in the American way of life and the purposes of SkillsUSA.

In this event, students compete as a team of 3. This competition is  open to Middle School students in addition to Secondary (High School) and Post-Secondary (College) students.

Architectural Drafting

Competitors will use their drafting skills to solve an architectural problem. The problem may include a hand sketch and/or drawings that are either computer-generated or board drafted. This is mean to test the competitors' problem-solving abilities along with their CAD skills. Competitors compete individually in this event.

Audio/Radio Production

Students will produce (plan, write, voice, record, edit and render) up to a three-minute radio production such as a PSA, sound rich/NPR style news story or a sound and interview news story. A 60-second streaming radio infomercial and 30-second ad spot will be produced and inserted into the production. The complete production requires students to demonstrate their ability to plan a project that meets a specific prompt and run time; and to gather, edit and mix a variety of audio sources. This must be rendered in a specified audio file format.

In this event, students compete as a team of 2.

Automotive Maintenance & Light Repair (MLR)
HS Only

This competition is consistent with the automotive maintenance and light repair task list outlined in guidelines published by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and the ASE Education foundation. Competitors demonstrate their ability to perform jobs and/or skills selected from the contest standards.

In this event, students compete as individuals. This competition is ONLY open to Secondary students (High School).

Automotive Refinishing Technology

Competitors demonstrate the ability to perform skills based on the task list outlined by the National Institute for Automotive Excellence (ASE) and the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). The competition includes a series of workstations to assess skills in surface preparation, spray gun operation, paint mixing, matching and applying, solving paint application problems, determining finish defects with an understanding of causes and cures, masking, and utilizing safety precautions. Competitors may also complete an interview and an ASE written exam.

In this event, students compete as individuals.

Automotive Service Technology
PS Only

This competition is consistent with the automobile technician task list outlined in guidelines published by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and the ASE Education Foundation. Competitors demonstrate their ability to perform jobs and/or skills selected from the contest standards.

In this event, students compete as individuals. This competition is ONLY open to Post-Secondary students (College).

Baking and Pastry Arts
HS Only
PS starting 2024

Competitors are challenged to meet production and quality standards expected by industry. Competitors demonstrate their knowledge and skill through scaling, mixing, preparing and baking up to eight products. The products include breads, rolls, cookies, and assorted pastries. The student must demonstrate their cake decorating skills and work efficiently to produce quality products in a job-like setting.

In this event, students compete as individuals. This competition will open to Post-Secondary students in 2024.

Barbering

This competition is defined by industry standards as identified by the barbering technical committee and the National Barbering Association. The competition is divided into four separate skill performance tasks including haircutting, hair styling, hair color, beard design and coloring. Creativity is assessed in the creative cut and beard design, while haircutting is evaluated in the recreation of men's haircuts from a photograph or other provided material. 

In this event, students compete as individuals. Competitors must provide their own student models.

Building Maintenance
ADA
N

Competitors demonstrate competencies related to the building maintenance trade. These areas may include, but are not limited to, carpet care, office and restroom cleaning, floor care and liquid measurement. 

 

ontestants compete individually in this event. This competition is only open to students that qualify under ADA.

Career Pathways Showcase

Students use their course of study as the basis of a project that will benefit their class, school, community or industry. The project must highlight an aspect of their career cluster training. Upon completion of the project, the students will develop a display and use it within the community to explain their training and project. This competition will judge mastery of their training, its application, the project's benefit to their community , and display and presentation techniques.

There are six separate competitions under Career Pathways Showcase, each representing a different career cluster. They each follow the same technical standards and separate medalists are rewarded based on the career cluster. The six competition career clusters are: Arts and Communication; Business, Management and Technology; Health Services; Human Services; Industrial and Engineering Technology; and Natural Resources/Agriculture/Food. A breakdown of what programs fall under each cluster can be found in the technical standards. All programs should fall within one of these clusters.

In this event, students compete as a team of 3.

Carpentry

Competitors will be judged in a variety of skills that may include: frame walls using wood and/or steel studs, cut and install rafters, gable end overhangs, fascia board and soffit installation, install sheathing and/or exterior siding and trim. Demonstration of knowledge of stair constructions is required. Competitors will be judged on accuracy, ability to read and interpret blueprints, workmanship, safety and the proper use of tools, equipment and materials.

In this event, students compete individually.

Chapter Business Procedure
N

Students demonstrate knowledge of parliamentary procedure in both written and team demonstration. The written test covers questions related to materials found in Robert's Rules of Order - Newly Revised. During the demonstration, the team will run a typical business meeting using a standard order of business. The team must properly insert into the order of business the secretary's minutes, treasurer's reports and business items identified by the technical committee. In addition to the debate and transaction of the business items, teams will also properly demonstrate at least six different parliamentary procedure motions, including at least one of each of the following: main, privileged, subsidiary, incidental and motions that bring back issues to the floor. Minutes of the demonstration will be read by the secretary upon completion of the demonstration. The competitors do NOT have to be current chapter officers or student leaders. If they are currently an officer or student leader, they do NOT have to participate in the role/position that they actually hold within their chapter.

In this event, students compete as a team of 6.

Chapter Display
Chapter Display
N

SkillsUSA student members build a three-dimensional display that articulates the annual SkillsUSA National theme. The members of the chapter build the display and three students present information about the display during a presentation and interview with judges.

In this event, students compete as a team of 3.

CNC 2-Axis Turning Programmer

This competition evaluates each competitor's ability to independently plan and program jobs for CNC (Computer Numerical Control) turning centers and provide instructions for operators to execute. Competitors program part features and generate NC code using CAM software, troubleshoot G-code programming errors, interpret prints (including geometric dimensioning and tolerancing or GD&T), measure/gauge parts, and/or demonstrate their theoretical knowledge of CNC turning center configuration, setup, and operation. This competition no longer uses physical simulators.

In this event, students compete individually.

CNC 3-Axis Milling Programmer

This competition evaluates each competitor's ability to independently plan and program jobs for CNC (Computer Numerical Control) milling machines and provide instructions for operators to execute. Competitors program part features and generate NC code using CAM software, troubleshoot G-code programming errors, interpret prints (including geometric dimensioning and tolerancing or GD&T), measure/gauge parts, and demonstrate their theoretical knowledge of CNC milling machine configuration, setup, and operation. This competition no longer uses physical simulators.

In this event, students compete individually.

CNC 5-Axis Milling Programmer

This competition evaluates each competitor's ability to independently plan and program jobs for 5-Axis CNC (Computer Numerical Control) milling machines and provide instructions for operators to execute. Competitors program part features and generate NC code using CAM software, troubleshoot G-code programming errors, interpret prints (including geometric dimensioning and tolerancing or GD&T), measure/gauge parts, and demonstrate their theoretical knowledge of 5-Axis CNC milling machine configuration, setup, and operation. This competition no longer uses physical simulators.

In this event, students compete individually.

CNC Programmer

This competition evaluates each competitor's ability to independently plan and program jobs for 2-Asix CNC (Computer Numerical Control) turning centers and 3-Axis CNC milling machines and provide instructions for operators to execute. Competitors program part features and generate NC code using CAM software, troubleshoot G-code programming errors, interpret prints (including geometric dimensioning and tolerancing or GD&T), measure/gauge parts, and demonstrate their theoretical knowledge of CNC turning center and milling machine configuration, setup, and operation. This competition no longer uses physical simulators.

In this event, students compete individually.

Collision Damage Appraisal

This competition is consistent with expectations and competencies associated with collision repair center estimators (Blue Printers), insurance auto claim appraisers/adjusters and independent appraisers. Competitors demonstrate their ability to perform jobs and skills based on and may include, but not limited to, virtual appraisals, computerized estimating specific to frontal damage, unibody damage, light mechanical damage, rear damage including quarter panel replacement and total loss evaluations. The overall accuracy and quality of the finished products, efficiency and communication are used in the judging process.

In this event, students compete individually.

Collision Repair Technology

Competitors demonstrate their ability to perform jobs and skills based on the task list outlined by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and the ASE Education Foundation. The competition includes a series of workstations to assess skills that may include the following areas: metal straightening, attachment methods, plastic repair and structural analysis. The overall appearance of the finished product, speed and proper safety practices are judged. 

In this event, students compete individually.

Commercial Roofing

Competitors will install the most commonly used roof type, thermoplastic, on the same mockup used for NRCA's ProCertification exam. Participants will put on all required safety equipment, roll out a sheet of thermoplastic membrane, mechanically attach it to the deck, flash the perimeter edge wall, and flash around a box and pip boot. 

In this event, students compete individually.

Commercial sUAS Drone
MS

This competition is designed to evaluate team members' skills and preparation for employment in multiple career fields related to the safe and efficient use of drone technology in the National Airspace System and to recognize outstanding performance by participants in real-world scenario-based situations.

In this event, students compete as a Team of 2. This competition is open to Middles School, Secondary (High School), and Post-Secondary (College). For the Middle School level, this is a State Only competition. For Secondary (High School) and Post-Secondary (College), this is both a state and national competition.

Community Action Project
ADA
N

Competitors develop, execute, document and present a completed community service project that provides a benefit to the community or the school and demonstrates excellence and professionalism. The project may be a larger school/community project, however, the team of two students must be part of the core organization team and document the project and results based on the guidelines in the standards.

In this event, students compete as a Team of 2. This competition is only open to students that qualify under ADA.

Community Service
N

The competition evaluates local chapter activities that benefit the communities while becoming productive community members. SkillsUSA chapters present their best community service project for the year. Competitors are evaluated on a professional portfolio that details their chapter's community service project and on a presentation to a panel of judges. The contestants are evaluated on their professionalism in the visual representation of the project, designing and implemeting an engaging presentation, and effective delivery of that presentation.

In this event, students compete as a Team of 3.

Computer Programming

Competitors demonstrate knowledge of computer programming, describe how programs and programming languages work, and describe the purposes and practices of structured programming. The competition may include a computer programming problem consisting of background information and program specifications. An appropriate (successfully executable) computer program from design notes and instructions will be developed.

In this event, students compete individually.

Cosmetology

Students demonstrate their skills in hair color, haircutting, hair styling and long hair design in four separate test. All work is performed on mannequins, so everyone beings with the same model and the same type of hair. Competitors will perform one woman's cut and one man's cut from a finished photo. They will also create one uniform layered haircut. A display of creativity is seen in the long hair segment of the competition where competitors demonstrate their own design skills. 

In this event, students compete individually.

Crime Scene Investigation

Contestants will demonstrate basic skills associated with working a crime scene. Teams will process a crime scene to include searching, identifying evidence, measuring, photographing, and preparing a sketch. Team members will also demonstrate basic crime scene skills such as lifting a fingerprint, swabbing serological evidence, packaging evidence or similar skills. The team may also have to interpret common crime scene evidence such as classifying a fingerprint pattern. Report narratives, crime logs and similar paperwork may also be required.

In this event, students compete as a team of 3.

Criminal Justice

This competition is designed for students preparing to be police officers or to work in other areas of criminal justice. Competitors are evaluated on their abilities and knowledge of the field. They will be scored on their knowledge and application of U.S. Constitutional Law, written and verbal communication skills, and their ability to handle an entry-level law enforcement position. Contestants will participate in multiple practical scenarios, evaluate specific situations and articulate reasoning for their decisions.

In this event, students compete individually.

Criminal Justice Quiz Bowl
MS

This competition tests a team of three to five competitors on their ability to quickly respond to knowledge questions covering criminal justice related material, U.S. Supreme Court decisions, current events, and SkillsUSA professional development curriculum. Materials to study are found within the technical standards. Teams will demonstrate communication skills, teamwork, problem solving and time-management skills by determining the answer to each questions clearly within the allotted time.

In this event, students compete in teams of 3 to 5. See contest updates page in relation to team makeup. This contest is open to Middle School and Secondary (High School) only. It is not open to Post-Secondary (College). This is a State Only contest.

Culinary Arts
HS Only
PS starting 2024

The competition will encompass both hot and cold food preparation and presentation. Competitors will demonstrate their knoledge and skills through the production of menu items meeting industry standards. The competitors are evaluated on organization, knife skills, cooking techniques, creative presentation, sanitation and food safety, and the quality and flavor of their prepared items.​ At the state level, menus are provided in advance of competition.

In this event, students compete individually. This competition will open to Post-Secondary students in 2024.

Customer Service
N

The competition evaluates students' proficiency in providing customer service. The competition involves live, role-playing situations. Competitors demonstrate their ability to perform customer service in both written and oral forms including telephone and computer skills, communications, problem solving, conflict resolution and business etiquette.

In this event, students compete individually.

Cyber Security

This competition is open to students enrolled in programs with Cyber Security, Information Security, or Systems and Networking Security Architecture as a part of the curriculum. Students will be tested on the elements of the NIST Publication 800-181 Cybersecurity Workforce Framework categories including Securely Provision, Operate and Maintain, and Protect and Defend.

In this event, students compete as a team of 2.

Diesel Equipment Technology

Competitors cycle through various stations testing and troubleshooting engines, electrical and electronics systems, powertrain systms including chassis, transmissions and carriers. Competitors demonstrate skills in hydraulic systms, vehicle inspections, fundamental failure analysis, brake systems, air-conditioning systems and general shop skills. 

In this event, students compete individually.

Digital Cinema Production

This competition evaluates and recognizes outstanding students for excellene and professionlism with their filmmaking skills in the areas of development, pre-production, production and postproduction through the writing, producing, directing and editing of an up to five-minute short film based on the prompt given.

In this event, students compete as a team of 2.

Early Childhood Education

Competitors demonstrate their knowledge of developmentally appropriate practice and their ability to prepare and implement learning activities for children three to five years old. Competitors will prepare a written lesson plan. They will also demonstrate their understanding of the unique age-related learning characteristics of young children and the relevant social interactions as they implement the lesson.

In this event, students compete individually.

Electrical Construction Wiring

Working from drawings and specification sheets, competitors are required to install an electrical system common in most residential and light commercial projects. They may also have to perform a practical conduit bending exercise, hands-on installation of a conduit system, cabling sysem and wiring devices. Judging is based on general workmanship, accuracy of layout and installation, and adherence to the current National Electric Code (NEC) and standard industry safe practices.

In this event, students compete individually.

Emergency Medical Technician

This competition will evaluate the competitors' ability to perform as an Emergency Medical Technician with the National Registry Patient Assessment Technical Scope of Practice Standards (TSOPS) as defined by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA, 2007, p.24), the most current American Heart Association CPR/ECC guidelines, and the AAOS Emergency Care and Transportation of the Sick and Injured 11th Ed. The event will consist of three rounds or stations of competition.

In this event, students compete as a team of 2.

Employment Application Process
ADA
N

Competitors are tested in their readiness in applying for employment and their understanding of the process. The competition includes completing an application and interviewing with the judges. Their resume and portfolio are used during their interviews.

In this event, students compete individually. This competition is only open to students that qualify under ADA.

Engineering Technology Design

Students demonstrate their ability to design an innovative engineering project and present those ideas along with a display and live model. During the presentation, students are judged on their performance as a professional team, presentation of their project to a panel of judges from the engineering field, their story board presentation model, and the overall effect of the presentation.

In this event, students compete as a team of 3.

Entrepreneurship
N

Competing teams are tested on their knowledge of starting their own businesses by developing business plans that identify needed products or services in a local market. Emphasis is placed on financial planning and practicality of product/service. Teams give oral presentations based upon their written plans and the team must successfully answer questions by the judge(s) in response to typical problems encountered by entrepreneurs during their first year of business.

In this event, students compete as a team of 4.

Esthetics

Competitors are evaluated on their techniques and professionalism in the field of skin care. They are tested in four technical skill performance tasks consisting of a facial cleansing massage; basic facial; beauty makeup; and fantasy makeup applications. They also may have to provide an oral professional presentation. An emphasis on safety and infection control measures will be used in all segments of the skill performance areas.

In this event, students compete individually. Competitors must provide their own student models.

Extemporaneous Speaking
MS
N

This competition requires competitors to give a three-to-five-minute speech on an assigned topic with five minutes of advance preparation. Competitors enter the preparation area, one at a time, where they are given a speech topic. They are judged on voice, mechanics, platform deportment, organization and effectiveness.

In this event, students compete individually. This competition is  open to Middle School students in addition to Secondary (High School) and Post-Secondary (College) students.

Facilithon: Leadership in Facility Management
N

Competitors will complete a 15-minute role-play scenario and a 5-minute emergency challenge. They are assessed on their critical problem-solving skills, ability to quickly execute the best response to challenges and ability to accurately digest complex situations and convey related solutions related to the field of facility management. Additional scenarios/challenges may be utilized to assess the competitor.

In this event, students compete individually.

Firefighting