Career and Technical Education


Quick Facts: Career and Technical Education Teachers
2017 Median Pay $55,240 per year
Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation Less than 5 years
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2016 219,400
Job Outlook, 2016-26 4% (Slower than average)
Employment Change, 2016-26 7,700

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Career and Technical Education Career, Salary and Education Information

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.

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Career and Technical Education

Duties of career and technical education teachers

Career and technical education teachers typically do the following:

  • Create lesson plans and assignments

  • Instruct students on how to develop certain skills

  • Show how to apply classroom knowledge through hands-on activities

  • 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, in fields such as healthcare or information technology. They use a variety of teaching techniques to help students learn and develop skills related to a specific career or field 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, or recording vital signs. Teachers typically oversee these tasks in workshops and laboratories in the school.

Some teachers work with local businesses and nonprofit organizations to provide practical work experience for students. They also serve as advisers to students participating in career and technical student organizations.

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 general concepts in a classroom and practical exercises in workshops and laboratories.

In postsecondary schools, they teach specific career skills that help students earn a certificate, a diploma, or an associate’s 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 teach one subject within the 16 major career fields, also known as Career Clusters®. For example, the Career Cluster known as architecture and construction includes instruction in designing, planning, managing, building, and maintaining structures.

Teachers of courses in agricultural, food, and natural resources teach topics such as agricultural production; agriculture-related business; veterinary science; and plant, animal, and food systems. For example, they may 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 arts, and hotel lodging. For example, teachers may instruct and supervise students in creating menus and preparing food.

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

For information on all 16 major Career Clusters and programs in all other states, visit Advance CTE.


Work Environment for Career and technical education teachers

Career and technical education teachers held about 219,400 jobs in 2016. Employment in the detailed occupations that make up career and technical education teachers was distributed as follows:

Vocational education teachers, postsecondary: 128,000

Career/technical education teachers, secondary school: 78,700

Career/technical education teachers, middle school: 12,700

The largest employers of career and technical education teachers were as follows:

Elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private: 40%

Junior colleges; state, local, and private: 24%

Technical and trade schools; state, local, and private: 21%

Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private: 6%

Career and technical education teachers typically work in middle, high, and postsecondary schools, such as 2-year colleges. Others work in technical, trade, and business schools.

Work Schedules for Career or Technical Education Teachers

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

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

Teachers usually work the traditional 10-month school year and have a 2-month break during the summer. They also have a short midwinter break. Some teachers work for summer programs.

Teachers in districts with a year-round schedule typically work 9 weeks in a row, and then have a break for 3 weeks before starting a new school session.


How to Become a Career or Technical Education Teacher

Career and technical education teachers must have at least a bachelor’s degree. They also need work experience in the subject they teach. Some teachers, particularly those in public schools, also may be required to have a state-issued certification or license. Requirements for certification or licensure vary by state.

Education

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

All states require prospective career and technical education teachers in public schools to complete a period of fieldwork called a student-teaching program, in which they work with a mentor teacher and get experience teaching students in a classroom setting.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Many career and technical education teachers need work experience in the field they teach. For example, automotive mechanicschefs, and nurses typically spend years in their career before moving into teaching.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

States may require career and technical education teachers in public schools to be licensed or certified. Requirements for certification or licensure vary by state, but generally involve the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree with a minimum grade point average

  • Completion of a teacher preparation program and supervised experience in teaching, which is typically gained through student teaching

  • Passing a background check

  • Passing a general teaching certification test, as well as a test that demonstrates their knowledge of the subject they will teach.

Teachers may be required to complete annual professional development courses to maintain their license or certification. Some states offer an alternative route to certification or licensure 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.

In addition to earning a 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 teach 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, or principals. These positions generally require additional education, an advanced degree, or certification. An advanced degree in education administration or leadership may be helpful.

Important Qualities

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

Organizational skills. Career and technical education teachers have many students in different classes throughout the day. They must 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 need to develop different ways of presenting information and demonstrating tasks so that all students learn the material.


salaries for Career and Technical Education Teachers

The median annual wage for career and technical education teachers was $55,240 in May 2017. 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 $33,430, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $89,880.

 

Median annual wages for career and technical education teachers in May 2017 were as follows:

Career/technical education teachers, secondary school: $58,660

Career/technical education teachers, middle school: $58,630

Vocational education teachers, postsecondary: $51,600

In May 2017, the median annual wages for career and technical education teachers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private: $58,660

Junior colleges; state, local, and private: $54,710

Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private: $53,600

Technical and trade schools; state, local, and private: $48,550

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

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

Teachers usually work the traditional 10-month school year and have a 2-month break during the summer. They also have a short midwinter break. Some teachers work for summer programs.

Teachers in districts with a year-round schedule typically work 9 weeks in a row, and then have a break for 3 weeks before starting a new school session.

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 2016.


Job Outlook for Career and Technical Education Teachers

Overall employment of career and technical education teachers is projected to grow 4 percent from 2016 to 2026, slower than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will vary by type of institution. While employment of vocational teachers in postsecondary institutions is projected to be show little or no change, employment of career and technical education teachers in middle and secondary schools is projected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Overall demand for career and technical education teachers will be driven by a continued demand for programs that prepare students for technical careers at middle and high schools and at postsecondary institutions.

As middle and high school students continue to be required to take more academic classes and fewer career and technical classes, employment growth of career and education teachers in middle and high schools may be affected.

In addition, public schools are dependent on government funding for career and technical programs. When budgets for these programs are reduced, employment growth for career and technical teachers may be limited.

Job Prospects for Career and Technical Education Teachers

Teachers with work experience and certifications in the subject they teach should have the best job prospects.

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

Employment projections data for Career and Technical Education Teachers, 2016-26

Employment, 2016: 219,400

Projected Employment, 2026: 227,100

Change, 2016-2026: +4%, +7,700


Careers Related to career and technical education teachers

Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma Teachers

Adult literacy and high school equivalency diploma teachers instruct adults in basic skills, such as reading, writing, and speaking English. They also help students earn their high school equivalent diploma.

Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals

Elementary, middle, and high school principals manage all school operations, including daily school activities. They coordinate curriculums, oversee teachers and other school staff, and provide a safe and productive learning environment for students.

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.

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.

Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers instruct young students in basic subjects, such as math and reading, in order to prepare them for future schooling.

Middle School Teachers

Middle school teachers educate students, typically in sixth through eighth grades. They 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.

Postsecondary Teachers

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

School and Career Counselors

School counselors help students develop the academic and social skills needed to succeed in school. Career counselors help people choose careers and follow a path to employment.

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.

Teacher Assistants

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

OccupationENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION2017 MEDIAN PAY
Elementary, Middle, and High School PrincipalsMaster's degree$94,390
High School TeachersBachelor's degree$59,170
Instructional CoordinatorsMaster's degree$63,750
Middle School TeachersBachelor's degree$57,720
Postsecondary Teachers$76,000
School and Career CounselorsMaster's degree$55,410
Special Education TeachersBachelor's degree$58,980
Teacher AssistantsSome college, no degree$26,260
Adult Literacy and High School Equivalency Diploma TeachersBachelor's degree$52,100
Kindergarten and Elementary School TeachersBachelor's degree$56,900

Citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Career and Technical Education Teachers, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/career-and-technical-education-teachers.htm