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Vocational Education Teacher Job Description, Career as a Vocational Education Teacher, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training Varies—see profile

Salary Median—$45,830 per year

Employment Outlook Good

Definition and Nature of the Work

Vocational education teachers have personal experience in skill-based occupations, such as cosmetology, commercial art, electronics, and plumbing. In the classroom, they help students develop those same skills. Also called career and technical education teachers, they work in public or private high schools, in community colleges, or in privately owned trade schools. They may also work in special teaching facilities run by noneducational organizations such as labor unions.

Some teachers specialize in one subject, while others teach a variety of subjects. In addition to teaching the skills and evaluating students' knowledge and performance, vocational teachers sometimes place students in actual work settings and monitor their progress.

Education and Training Requirements

Education and training requirements for this field vary by state and subject. Most teachers need bachelor's degrees, plus three years of work experience in their specialties. Some specialties require licenses or certification. Many teachers, especially those who are in rapidly changing technological fields, continue their own education throughout their careers.

Getting the Job

Jobs seekers can apply directly to vocational and technical schools. Industry journals, school placement offices, state employment services, newspaper classified ads, and job listings on the Internet are all sources of employment information. Some teachers break into the field as teaching assistants in vocational programs, dividing their time between teaching and working in the industry. Assistant positions usually go to vocational program graduates who place at or near the top of their classes.

A vocational education teacher works with students in an automotive body shop classroom. (© Martha Tabor/Working Images Photographs. Reproduced by permission.)

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Vocational education teachers may advance to supervisory or administrative positions, but such promotions often require additional education.

Employment is expected to grow as participation in adult education increases. Workers who must switch careers or who need to keep abreast of technological changes will spur this growth. Opportunities should be best for part-time positions and in fields such as computer technology, automotive mechanics, and medical technology.

Working Conditions

The hours are fairly regular, but teachers usually have to prepare lessons and grade tests on their own time. Most teachers work the conventional school year and do not work during the summer months.

Most vocational teachers do not encounter behavioral and social problems in the classroom, because their students are there by choice, are highly motivated to learn, and often bring years of experience to the classroom. However, they may teach students with very different levels of development or few study skills.

Earnings and Benefits

In 2004 the median salary for vocational education teachers was $45,830 per year. Experienced teachers earned more than $53,810 per year.

Where to Go for More Information

Association for Career and Technical Education
1410 King St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
(800) 826-9972

International Vocational Education and Training Association
186 Wedgewood Dr.
Mahtomedi, MN 55115
(651) 770-6719

Benefits generally include vacations, sick pay, and health and life insurance. Some employers may offer tuition reimbursement programs for employees who wish to attend college.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesEducation & Training