Career and Technical Education Teachers

Summary

career and technical education teachers image
Career and technical education teachers instruct students in vocational subjects.
Quick Facts: Career and Technical Education Teachers
2012 Median Pay $51,910 per year
$24.96 per hour
Entry-Level Education Bachelor’s degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation Less than 5 years
On-the-job Training See How to Become One
Number of Jobs, 2012 239,800
Job Outlook, 2012-22 9% (As fast as average)
Employment Change, 2012-22 21,400

What Career and Technical Education Teachers Do

Career and technical education teachers instruct students in various technical and vocational subjects, such as auto repair, healthcare, and culinary arts. They teach academic and technical content to provide students with the skills and knowledge necessary to enter an occupation.

Work Environment

Most career and technical education teachers work in public schools, including middle and high schools and 2-year colleges. Others work in technical, trade, and business schools. While they generally work during school hours, some teach evening or weekend classes.

How to Become a Career or Technical Education Teacher

Although career and technical education teachers typically need a bachelor’s degree, some may enter the occupation with a high school diploma or an associate’s degree. Career and technical education teachers also need work experience in the subject they teach. Some teachers, particularly those in public schools, may be required to have a state-issued certification or license. Requirements for certification vary by state.

Pay

The median annual wage for career and technical education teachers was $51,910 in May 2012.

Job Outlook

Employment of career and technical education teachers is projected to grow 9 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Most job openings will result from the need to replace teachers who leave the occupation.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of career and technical education teachers with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about career and technical education teachers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Career and Technical Education Teachers Do

Career and technical education teachers
Technical education teachers often work in classrooms and help students.

Career and technical education teachers instruct students in various technical and vocational subjects, such as auto repair, healthcare, and culinary arts. They teach academic and technical content to provide students with the skills and knowledge necessary to enter an occupation.

Duties

Career and technical education teachers typically do the following:

  • Develop and plan lessons and assignments
  • Instruct and demonstrate how to apply knowledge and to develop skills
  • Demonstrate and supervise the safe and proper use of tools and equipment
  • Monitor students’ progress, assign tasks, and grade assignments
  • Discuss students’ progress with parents, students, and counselors
  • Develop and enforce classroom rules and safety procedures

Career and technical education teachers help students explore and prepare to enter a specific occupation, such as ones in healthcare and information technology. They use a variety of teaching techniques to help students learn and develop skills related to a specific career or area of study. They demonstrate tasks, techniques, and tools used in an occupation. They may assign hands-on tasks, such as replacing brakes on cars, taking blood pressure, and recording vital signs to help students learn a specific skill. Teachers typically oversee these tasks in workshops and laboratories in the school.

Some teachers establish relationships with local businesses and nonprofit organizations to provide practical work experience for students.

The specific duties of career and technical education teachers vary by the grade and subject they teach. In middle schools and high schools, they teach in a classroom and through practical exercises in workshops and laboratories.

In postsecondary schools, they teach specific career skills that help students earn a certificate, diploma, or an associate degree, and prepare them for a specific job. For example, welding instructors teach students various welding techniques and essential safety practices. They also monitor the use of tools and equipment, and have students practice procedures until they meet the specific standards required by the trade.

In most states, teachers in middle and high schools instruct one subject within the 16 major career fields, also known as career clusters. For example, the career cluster known as architecture and construction includes instructions in designing, planning, managing, building, and maintaining structures.

Teachers instructing courses in agricultural, food, and natural resources teach topics, such as agricultural production; agriculture-related business; veterinary science; and plant, animal, and food systems. They have students plant and care for crops and tend to animals so that students can apply what they have learned in the classroom.

Career and technical education teachers in hospitality and tourism teach students in subjects such as nutrition, culinary art, or hotel lodging. For example, teachers may instruct and supervise students to create menus and prepare food.

Some teach the skills necessary to work as technicians and assistants, such as nursing and dental assistants in health-related occupations.

For information on all 16 major career clusters and programs in all other states, visit National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium.

Work Environment

Career and technical education teachers
Technical education teachers demonstrate the theories and techniques of their field.

Career and technical education teachers held about 239,800 jobs in 2012. Most work in public schools, including middle, high, and postsecondary schools, such as 2-year colleges. Others work in technical, trade, and business schools.

Work Schedules

Career and technical education teachers in middle and high schools generally work during school hours, between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. They may meet with parents, students, and school staff before and after classes.

Some career and technical education teachers, especially those in postsecondary schools, instruct courses and develop lesson plans during evening hours and on weekends.

Teachers usually work the traditional 10-month school year with a 2-month break during the summer. Some teachers work for summer programs. Teachers in districts with a year-round schedule typically work 8 weeks in a row, are on break for 1 week, and have a 5-week midwinter break.

How to Become a Career or Technical Education Teacher

Career and technical education teachers
Teachers need years of experience in their field of expertise.

Although career and technical education teachers typically need a bachelor’s degree, some enter the occupation with a high school diploma or an associate’s degree. Career and technical education teachers also need work experience in the subject they teach. Some teachers, particularly those in public schools, may also be required to have a state-issued certification or license. Requirements for certification vary by state.

Education

Career and technical education teachers in public schools generally need a bachelor’s degree in the field they teach, such as agriculture, engineering, or computer science.

Depending on the subject they teach, some enter the occupation with a high school diploma or an associate’s degree after some years of related work experience. For example, teachers who instruct automotive mechanics need years of experience working as a mechanic. Some career and technical education teachers who have a high school diploma may be required to complete a degree while teaching to meet the full certification requirements.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Many career and technical education teachers need years of work experience in the field they teach. For example, automotive mechanics, chefs, and nurses typically spend years in their career before moving into teaching. Those who have a high school diploma as their highest level of education may need several years of recent experience in a career field.

Training

Some states require prospective career and technical education teachers to complete a period of fieldwork, commonly referred to as student teaching. In some states, this program is a prerequisite for a license to teach in public schools. During student teaching, prospective teachers gain experience in preparing lessons and teaching students under the supervision and guidance of a mentor teacher. The amount of time required for these programs varies by state, but may last from 1 to 2 years.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

States may require career and technical education teachers in public schools to be licensed or certified. Requirements for certification vary by state.

Certification typically involves completing a student teaching program and a bachelor’s degree. States usually require candidates to pass a general teaching certification test. Most states require teachers to pass a background check.

Teachers may be required to complete annual professional development courses to maintain their license. For certification requirements in your state, visit Teach.org, previously known as Teacher Education and Compensation Helps.

Some states offer an alternative route to certification for prospective teachers who have a bachelor’s degree or work experience in their field, but lack the education courses required for certification. Alternative programs typically cover teaching methods, development of lesson plans, and classroom management. For information about alternative certification programs, contact Teach-Now.

In addition to teaching certification, career and technical education teachers who prepare students for an occupation that requires a license or certification may need to have and maintain the same credential. For example, career and technical education teachers who instruct welding may need to have certification in welding.

Advancement

Experienced teachers can advance to become mentors and lead teachers helping less-experienced teachers to improve their teaching skills.

Teachers may become school counselors, instructional coordinators, and principals. These positions generally require additional education, an advanced degree, and certification. An advanced degree in education administration or leadership may be helpful.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Career and technical education teachers must be able to explain technical concepts in terms that students can understand.

Organizational skills. Teachers in middle and high schools have many students in different classes throughout the day. They must be able to organize their time and teaching materials.

Patience. Working with students of different abilities and backgrounds can be difficult. Teachers must be patient with each student in their classroom and develop a positive learning environment.                    

Resourcefulness. Teachers develop different ways to present information and to demonstrate a task so that students can learn.

Pay

Career and Technical Education Teachers

Median annual wages, May 2012

Career/technical education teachers, secondary school

$55,160

Career/technical education teachers, middle school

$54,220

Career/technical education teachers

$51,910

Vocational education teachers, postsecondary

$47,990

Total, all occupations

$34,750

 

The median annual wage for career and technical education teachers was $51,910 in May 2012. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $31,530, and the top 10 percent earned more than $83,180.

The median annual wages for career and technical education teachers by grade level in May 2012 were as follows:           

  • $55,160 for career/technical education teachers, secondary school
  • $54,220 for career/technical education teachers, middle school
  • $47,990 for vocational education teachers, postsecondary

Career and technical education teachers in middle and high schools generally work during school hours, between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. They may meet with parents, students, and school staff before and after classes.

Some career and technical education teachers, especially those in postsecondary schools, instruct courses and develop lesson plans during evening hours and on weekends.

Teachers usually work the traditional 10-month school year, with a 2-month break during the summer. Some teachers work for summer programs. Teachers in districts with a year-round schedule typically work 8 weeks in a row, are on break for 1 week, and have a 5-week midwinter break.         

Union Membership

Compared with workers in all occupations, career and technical education teachers had a higher percentage of workers who belonged to a union in 2012.

Job Outlook

Career and Technical Education Teachers

Percent change in employment, projected 2012-22

Vocational education teachers, postsecondary

12%

Total, all occupations

11%

Career/technical education teachers

9%

Career/technical education teachers, middle school

5%

Career/technical education teachers, secondary school

5%

 

Overall employment of career and technical education teachers is projected to grow 9 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Employment growth will vary by type. (See table below.)

Overall demand for career and technical education teachers will be driven by a continued need for programs that prepare students for technical careers.

Population growth will increase school enrollment, particularly in middle and high schools. However, students continue to take more academic and fewer career and technical classes. As a result, employment growth of career and education teachers in middle and high schools will be limited.

In addition, employment growth of teachers, particularly those in public schools, will depend on government funding. As federal and state governments reduce funds for career and technical education, fewer career and technical teachers may be hired.

Employment growth of career and technical education teachers at the postsecondary level, such as technical, trade, and business schools, often depends on the economy. As jobs become more limited, people seek additional technical skills to help them get a job. Also, changes in technology will drive the demand for people with technical skills. This will result in an increased demand for career and technical teachers at the postsecondary level.

Job Prospects

Most job opportunities will come from the need to replace teachers who leave the occupation. As a result, teachers with work experience in the subject they teach and certifications should have the best job prospects. Job opportunities may be better in some parts of the country—with higher enrollment rates—such as in the South, West, and rural areas.

Job opportunities also may be better in certain specialties, particularly at the postsecondary level. For example, those with experience in healthcare support occupations, such as teaching skills necessary to work as medical or dental assistants, may have better job opportunities.

Employment projections data for Career and Technical Education Teachers, 2012-22
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2012 Projected Employment, 2022 Change, 2012-22 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Career/technical education teachers

239,800 261,200 9 21,400

Vocational education teachers, postsecondary

25-1194 136,200 152,300 12 16,100 [XLS]

Career/technical education teachers, middle school

25-2023 18,200 19,100 5 900 [XLS]

Career/technical education teachers, secondary school

25-2032 85,400 89,700 5 4,300 [XLS]

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of career and technical education teachers.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION 2012 MEDIAN PAY
Elementary, middle, and high school principals

Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals

Elementary, middle, and high school principals are responsible for managing all school operations. They manage daily school activities, coordinate curricula, and oversee teachers and other school staff to provide a safe and productive learning environment for students.

Master’s degree $87,760
High school teachers

High School Teachers

High school teachers help prepare students for life after graduation. They teach academic lessons and various skills that students will need to attend college and to enter the job market.

Bachelor’s degree $55,050
Instructional coordinators

Instructional Coordinators

Instructional coordinators oversee school curriculums and teaching standards. They develop instructional material, coordinate its implementation with teachers and principals, and assess its effectiveness.

Master’s degree $60,050
Middle school teachers

Middle School Teachers

Middle school teachers educate students, typically in sixth through eighth grades. Middle school teachers help students build on the fundamentals they learned in elementary school and prepare them for the more difficult curriculum they will face in high school.

Bachelor’s degree $53,430
Postsecondary teachers

Postsecondary Teachers

Postsecondary teachers instruct students in a wide variety of academic and vocational subjects beyond the high school level. They also conduct research and publish scholarly papers and books.

See How to Become One $68,970
School and Career Counselors

School and Career Counselors

School counselors help students develop social skills and succeed in school. Career counselors assist people with the process of making career decisions, by helping them choose a career or educational program.

Master’s degree $53,610
Special education teachers

Special Education Teachers

Special education teachers work with students who have a wide range of learning, mental, emotional, and physical disabilities. They adapt general education lessons and teach various subjects, such as reading, writing, and math, to students with mild and moderate disabilities. They also teach basic skills, such as literacy and communication techniques, to students with severe disabilities.

Bachelor’s degree $55,060
Teacher assistants

Teacher Assistants

Teacher assistants work under a teacher’s supervision to give students additional attention and instruction.

Some college, no degree $23,640

Contacts for More Information

For more information about career and technical education teachers, visit

Association for Career and Technical Education

National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium

For information about teaching and becoming a teacher, visit

Teach.org

For information about alternative certification programs, visit

Teach-Now

O*NET

Career/Technical Education Teachers, Middle School

Career/Technical Education Teachers, Secondary School

Vocational Education Teachers, Postsecondary

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Career and Technical Education Teachers,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/career-and-technical-education-teachers.htm (visited August 27, 2014).

Publish Date: Wednesday, January 8, 2014