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
2014 Median Pay $51,830 per year
Typical 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, 2014 231,800
Job Outlook, 2014-24 4% (Slower than average)
Employment Change, 2014-24 10,200

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. Although they generally work during school hours, some teach evening or weekend classes.

How to Become a Career or Technical Education Teacher

Career and technical education teachers must have a bachelor’s degree. They 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 $51,830 in May 2014.

Job Outlook

Employment of career and technical education teachers is projected to grow 4 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations. Overall demand for career and technical education teachers will be driven by a continued need for programs that prepare students for technical careers.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for career and technical education teachers.

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:

  • 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 establish relationships 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 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’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 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 instruction 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. 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, or 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 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 231,800 jobs in 2014. 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. 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 and have 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 then have a break for 1 week. They also 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.

Career and technical education teachers must have 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 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.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

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

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. Most states require teachers to pass a background check.

Certification typically requires completing a student teaching program and a bachelor’s degree. States usually require candidates to pass a general teaching certification test.

Teachers may be required to complete annual professional development courses to maintain their license. For certification requirements in your state, visit Teach.org.

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.

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, 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 be able to 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 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 need to be able to develop different ways of presenting information and demonstrating tasks so that students can learn.

Pay

Career and Technical Education Teachers

Median annual wages, May 2014

Career/technical education teachers

$51,830

Education, training, and library occupations

$46,660

Total, all occupations

$35,540

 

The median annual wage for career and technical education teachers was $51,830 in May 2014. 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 $31,780, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $84,400.

Median annual wages for career and technical education teachers in May 2014 were as follows:

Career/technical education teachers, secondary school $55,200
Career/technical education teachers, middle school 54,090
Vocational education teachers, postsecondary 48,360

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, instruct 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. Some teachers work for summer programs.

Teachers in districts with a year-round schedule typically work 8 weeks in a row then have a break for 1 week. They also 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 2014.

Job Outlook

Career and Technical Education Teachers

Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24

Education, training, and library occupations

8%

Total, all occupations

7%

Career/technical education teachers

4%

 

Overall employment of career and technical education teachers is projected to grow 4 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than 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.

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

In addition, employment growth of teachers, particularly those in public schools, will depend on government funding for career and technical programs.

Postsecondary career and technical education programs have experienced an increase in the number of career and technical institutions and an increase in the number of graduates who have received certificates or diplomas. This will have a positive impact on the demand for career and technical teachers.

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 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, 2014-24
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

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

Career/technical education teachers

231,800 242,000 4 10,200

Vocational education teachers, postsecondary

25-1194 138,500 147,600 7 9,100 [XLSX]

Career/technical education teachers, middle school

25-2023 13,700 14,600 6 800 [XLSX]

Career/technical education teachers, secondary school

25-2032 79,600 79,900 0 300 [XLSX]

State & Area Data

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

Career InfoNet

America’s Career InfoNet includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

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 2014 MEDIAN PAY
Elementary, middle, and high school principals

Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals

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

Master's degree $89,540
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 $56,310
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 $61,550
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 $54,940
Postsecondary teachers

Postsecondary Teachers

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

See How to Become One $70,790
School and Career Counselors

School and Career Counselors

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

Master's degree $53,370
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 $55,980
Teacher assistants

Teacher Assistants

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

Some college, no degree $24,430
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 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 February 06, 2016).

Publish Date: Thursday, December 17, 2015