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Vocational Education Teacher Career

Career Description

A Vocational Education Teacher instructs and trains students to work in a wide variety of fields, such as healthcare, business, auto repair, communications, and, increasingly, technology. They often teach courses that are in high demand by area employers, who may provide input into the curriculum and offer internships to students.

Common Work Tasks

  • Provide career guidance and job placement, as well as follow-ups with students after graduation
  • Maintain accurate and complete student records as required by law, district policy, and administrative regulations
  • Instruct students individually and in groups, using various teaching methods, such as lectures, discussions, and demonstrations
  • Instruct and monitor students in the use and care of equipment and materials to prevent injury and damage
  • Instruct students in the knowledge and skills required in a specific occupation or occupational field, using a systematic plan of lectures, discussions, audio-visual presentations, and laboratory, shop and field studies
  • Use computers, audio-visual aids, and other equipment and materials to supplement presentations
  • Plan and supervise work-experience programs in businesses, industrial shops, and school laboratories
  • Select, order, store, issue, and inventory classroom equipment, materials, and supplies
  • Plan and supervise class projects, field trips, visits by guest speakers or other experiential activities, and guide students in learning from those activities
  • Attend professional meetings, educational conferences, and teacher training workshops to maintain and improve professional competence

Other Job Titles

Vocational Education Teachers are also known by other titles, including:

  • Career and Technical Teachers
  • Career-Technology Teachers
  • Instructional Coordinators
  • Secondary School Teachers

Education, Training, and Experience

Education and Training
Many vocational education teachers need a bachelor’s degree in the subject they plan to teach, as well as some training in teacher preparation. Some vocational education teachers do not have formal teaching degrees, but need work experience in their particular field.

Certification and Licensure
  In many states, vocational teachers have many of the same licensure requirements as other teachers. However, knowledge and experience in a particular field are important, so some States will license vocational education teachers without a bachelor’s degree, provided they can demonstrate expertise in their field. A minimum number of hours in education courses may also be required.

In addition to being knowledgeable about the subjects they teach, teachers must have the ability to communicate, inspire trust and confidence, and motivate students, as well as understand the students’ educational and emotional needs. Teachers must be able to recognize and respond to individual and cultural differences in students and employ different teaching methods that will result in higher student achievement. They should be organized, dependable, patient, and creative. Teachers also must be able to work cooperatively and communicate effectively with other teachers, support staff, parents, and members of the community. Private schools associated with religious institutions also desire candidates who share the values that are important to the institution.


The median annual salary for a Vocational Education Teacher is $50,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $76,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $34,000. Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of vocational education teachers are:

  • Elementary and Secondary Schools - $52,440
  • Technical and Trade Schools - $47,230
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Services - $39,400
  • Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals – N/A
  • Individual and Family Services - $40,170

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  -5%
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: -5,200
  • Employment 2006 : 112,000
  • Employment 2016:  106,800
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