Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career and Technical Education Teachers

career and technical education teachers image
Career and technical education teachers teach academic and technical content to provide students with the skills and knowledge necessary to enter an occupation.
Quick Facts: Career and Technical Education Teachers
2020 Median Pay $59,140 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, 2020 198,100
Job Outlook, 2020-30 5% (Slower than average)
Employment Change, 2020-30 9,800

Summary

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.

Work Environment

Most career and technical education teachers work in middle, high, and postsecondary schools, such as 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 typically must have at least a bachelor’s degree. They also need work experience in the subject that they teach. Public school teachers may be required to have a state-issued teaching certification or license.

Pay

The median annual wage for career and technical education teachers was $59,140 in May 2020.

Job Outlook

Overall employment of career and technical education teachers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2020 to 2030, slower than the average for all occupations.

Despite limited employment growth, about 17,500 openings for career and technical education teachers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

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 (CTE) teachers provide training in subjects such as auto repair, cosmetology, and culinary arts. They teach vocational and technical content to give students 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 students how to apply classroom knowledge through hands-on activities
  • Demonstrate and supervise 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

CTE teachers help students explore and prepare to enter a career or technical occupation. They use a variety of teaching methods to help students learn and develop skills related to a specific occupation or career field. 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 applying makeup. Teachers typically oversee these activities 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 CTE 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 welding techniques and safety practices. They also monitor the use of tools and equipment and have students practice procedures until they meet the standards required by the trade.

In most states, teachers in middle and high schools teach one subject within major career fields. CTE teachers combine academic instruction with experiential learning in their subject of expertise.

For example, 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. They may have students plant and care for crops and animals to apply what they have learned in the classroom.

For information about the programs for major career fields, visit Advance CTE.

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 198,100 jobs in 2020. Employment in the detailed occupations that make up career and technical education teachers was distributed as follows:

Career/technical education teachers, postsecondary 114,200
Career/technical education teachers, secondary school 72,300
Career/technical education teachers, middle school 11,500

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

Junior colleges; state, local, and private 22%
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

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
Teachers need years of experience in their field of expertise.

Career and technical education teachers typically must have at least a bachelor’s degree. They also need work experience in the subject they teach. Public schools may require a state-issued teaching certification or license.

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. 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 student-teaching program
  • 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.

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. In addition, 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.

Advancement

Experienced teachers may advance to become mentors or 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 concepts in terms that students can understand.

Organizational skills. Career and technical education teachers must coordinate their time and teaching materials.

Patience. Working with students of different abilities and backgrounds can be difficult. Teachers must be even-tempered with students to develop a positive learning environment.

Resourcefulness. Teachers need to create different ways of presenting information and demonstrating tasks so that all students learn the material.

Pay

Career and Technical Education Teachers

Median annual wages, May 2020

Career and technical education teachers

$59,140

Educational instruction and library occupations

$52,380

Total, all occupations

$41,950

 

The median annual wage for career and technical education teachers was $59,140 in May 2020. 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 $36,700, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $98,760.

Median annual wages for career and technical education teachers in May 2020 were as follows:

Career/technical education teachers, secondary school $62,460
Career/technical education teachers, middle school 62,270
Career/technical education teachers, postsecondary 55,620

In May 2020, the median annual wages for career and technical education teachers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private $59,350
Junior colleges; state, local, and private 58,520
Technical and trade schools; state, local, and private 52,650

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.

Job Outlook

Career and Technical Education Teachers

Percent change in employment, projected 2020-30

Educational instruction and library occupations

10%

Total, all occupations

8%

Career and technical education teachers

5%

 

Overall employment of career and technical education teachers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2020 to 2030, slower than the average for all occupations.

Despite limited employment growth, about 17,500 openings for career and technical education teachers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

Some employment growth across all types of institutions is expected over the next 10 years due to continued demand for career and technical education programs in middle schools, high schools, and postsecondary institutions. However, this growth is expected to be reduced somewhat as schools continue to require students to take more academic classes.

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

Employment projections data for career and technical education teachers, 2020-30

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

Occupational Title

Career and technical education teachers

SOC Code
Employment, 2020198,100
Projected Employment, 2030207,900
Percent Change, 2020-305
Numeric Change, 2020-309,800
Employment by Industry
Occupational Title

Career/technical education teachers, postsecondary

SOC Code25-1194
Employment, 2020114,200
Projected Employment, 2030118,100
Percent Change, 2020-303
Numeric Change, 2020-303,800
Employment by IndustryGet data
Occupational Title

Career/technical education teachers, middle school

SOC Code25-2023
Employment, 202011,500
Projected Employment, 203012,400
Percent Change, 2020-307
Numeric Change, 2020-30900
Employment by IndustryGet data
Occupational Title

Career/technical education teachers, secondary school

SOC Code25-2032
Employment, 202072,300
Projected Employment, 203077,500
Percent Change, 2020-307
Numeric Change, 2020-305,100
Employment by IndustryGet data

State & Area Data

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) 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.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop 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 2020 MEDIAN PAY
Elementary, middle, and high school principals Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals

Elementary, middle, and high school principals oversee all school operations, including daily school activities.

Master's degree $98,490
High school teachers High School Teachers

High school teachers teach academic lessons and various skills that students will need to attend college and to enter the job market.

Bachelor's degree $62,870
Instructional coordinators Instructional Coordinators

Instructional coordinators oversee school curriculums and teaching standards. They develop instructional material, implement it, and assess its effectiveness.

Master's degree $66,970
Middle school teachers Middle School Teachers

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

Bachelor's degree $60,810
Postsecondary teachers Postsecondary Teachers

Postsecondary teachers instruct students in a variety of academic subjects beyond the high school level.

See How to Become One $80,560
School and Career Counselors School and Career Counselors and Advisors

School counselors help students develop academic and social skills. Career counselors and advisors help people choose a path to employment.

Master's degree $58,120
Special education teachers Special Education Teachers

Special education teachers work with students who have a wide range of learning, mental, emotional, and physical disabilities.

Bachelor's degree $61,500
Teacher assistants Teacher Assistants

Teacher assistants work with a licensed teacher to give students additional attention and instruction.

Some college, no degree $28,900
Adult literacy and GED teachers Adult Basic and Secondary Education and ESL Teachers

Adult basic and secondary education and ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers instruct adults in fundamental skills, such as reading and speaking English. They also help students earn their high school equivalency credential.

Bachelor's degree $55,350
Kindergarten and elementary school teachers Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers instruct young students in basic subjects in order to prepare them for future schooling.

Bachelor's degree $60,660

Contacts for More Info

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Career and Technical Education Teachers,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/career-and-technical-education-teachers.htm (visited October 20, 2021).

Telephone: 1-202-691-5700 www.bls.gov/ooh Contact OOH

View this page on regular www.bls.gov

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