Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
CAREER DEVELOPMENT / NOV. 06, 2014
version 2, draft 2

How to Become a Career or Technical Education Teacher in the US

Are you looking to turn your professional experience into a teaching career? You can do so by becoming a career or technical education teacher. The job primarily involves equipping learners with the knowledge and skills they need to enter a specific occupation, such as construction, auto repair or computer science. Unlike higher education teachers who must obtain an advanced degree to get hired, you only need an undergraduate degree.

The Work

The primary duties of technical education teacher’s duties include:

  • Preparing for teaching sessions and issuing assignments
  • Demonstrating how to apply technical skills and practical knowledge
  • Overseeing practical lessons and ensuring students use learning tools appropriately
  • Collecting assignments, administering examinations and grading leaners
  • Monitoring learners’ progress and performance
  • Establishing and enforcing class rules and safety procedures

It is essential to understand that these teachers cannot offer instruction in fields that are highly scientific or knowledge-intensive such as medicine or law. That is the work of higher education teachers.

Work Environment

The work schedules of technical education teachers vary from workplace to workplace. Those working in primary and secondary schools typically work from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. Although those who work in postsecondary institutions end their day at 5pm, they spend evenings and weekends developing lesson plans.

Depending on the subject a technical education teaches, he or she may spend time in a classroom, workshop or laboratory.

Salary

The salary for technical education teachers in different settings is:

Employer

Annual Wage

Postsecondary institutions

$47,990

Primary/middle schools

$54,220

Secondary schools

$55,160

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Entry Requirements

To become a career or technical education teacher, you must have several years of experience in the field you wish to teach. For example, if you want to teach automotive mechanics in a college, you must have vast experience in auto repair.

Therefore, the first step to joining this profession is earning at least an associate’s degree. You should the find a job and work for about five years to gain the required experience.

If you wish to teach in a public primary or secondary school, you will be required to obtain a teaching certification or license from your state’s regulatory board.

Important Skills and Abilities

To be an effective technical education teacher you should have:

  • Excellent speaking and writing skills
  • The ability to adapt your instructional strategies to learners’ needs
  • Good problem-solving skills
  • Good planning and organizing skills
  • Good analytical skills
  • Good technical and practical skills
  • The patience to allow slow learners sufficient time to understand new concepts or techniques

Training and Career Development

After being hired, you may be required to attend student training programs, which will help you learn how to prepare lesson plans among other primary tasks. These programs usually last between 1 to 2 years.

As you gain more teaching experience you could become a mentor – a position that will enable you to assist other beginning technical education teachers.

To progress to senior positions, you must earn a master’s degree. For example, to become a school counselor or instructional designer, you will need a graduate degree in school counseling or instruction design, respectively. You could also become a school administrator with a master’s in education administration.

Employers

The employers of career or technical education teachers include:

  • Community colleges
  • Vocational schools
  • Primary and secondary schools
  • Trade schools
  • Institutions/companies that provide apprenticeship opportunities

According to the BLS, the employment of technical education teachers will grow by 7 percent (slower than average) within the next 8 years. After gaining the required qualifications, you should focus on finding a job in a college or vocational school, since the BLS indicates postsecondary institutions will have more employment opportunities.

So if you have the relevant experience and also have an urge to teach then perhaps this is indeed the career for you.


Image: Masters in Education Online

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