How to Become a Career or Technical Education Teacher
Teachers need years of experience in their field of expertise.
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.
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. For information about teacher preparation programs in your state, visit Teach.org.
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.
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.
For information on certification requirements in your state, visit Teach.org.
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.
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.
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.