How to Become a Career or Technical Education Teacher
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.