Career and Technical Education Teachers

Career, Salary and Education Information

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Top 3 Career and Technical Education Teacher Jobs

  • Gifted & Talented Paraprofessional - Garfield School District Re-2 - Rifle, CO

    Garfield School District Re-2 offers a range of special education services to meet the

  • Middle School Accompanist - Garfield School District Re-2 - Rifle, CO

    We are focused on helping every child become a better reader, writer and mathematician and preparing them for their post-secondary careers, whether

  • Career and Technical Education Teacher - Middle/High School - Youth For Tomorrow - New Life Center - Bristow, VA

    Must be professional, dedicated, understand pedagogy, have a good command of technology, be organized and willing to work with our faculty team

See all Career and Technical Education Teacher jobs

What Career and Technical Education Teachers Do[About this section] [To Top]

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 of Career and Technical Education Teachers

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 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 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 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 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 teach 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 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. 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, and 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 Advance CTE.

Work Environment for Career and Technical Education Teachers[About this section] [To Top]

Career and technical education teachers hold about 219,400 jobs. Employment in the detailed occupations that make up career and technical education teachers is distributed as follows:

Vocational education teachers, postsecondary 128,000
Career/technical education teachers, secondary school 78,700
Career/technical education teachers, middle school 12,700

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

Elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private 40%
Junior colleges; state, local, and private 24
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.

Career and Technical Education Teacher 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 and Technical Education Teacher[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Career and Technical Education Teachers near you!

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.

Education for Career and Technical Education Teachers

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 for Career and Technical Education Teachers

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 for Career and Technical Education Teachers

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.

Advancement for Career and Technical Education Teachers

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 for Career and Technical Education Teachers

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.

Career and Technical Education Teacher Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for career and technical education teachers is $54,020. 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 $32,420, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $88,590.

Median annual wages for career and technical education teachers are as follows:

Career/technical education teachers, middle school $57,560
Career/technical education teachers, secondary school 57,320
Vocational education teachers, postsecondary 50,660

The median annual wages for career and technical education teachers in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private $57,270
Junior colleges; state, local, and private 53,310
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private 49,310
Technical and trade schools; state, local, and private 48,040

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.

Union Membership for Career and Technical Education Teachers

Compared with workers in all occupations, career and technical education teachers have a higher percentage of workers who belong to a union.

Job Outlook for Career and Technical Education Teachers[About this section] [To Top]

Overall employment of career and technical education teachers is projected to grow 4 percent over the next ten years, slower than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will vary by type of institution. While employment of vocational teachers in postsecondary institutions is projected to be show little or no change, employment of career and technical education teachers in middle and secondary schools is projected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Overall demand for career and technical education teachers will be driven by a continued demand for programs that prepare students for technical careers at middle and high schools and at postsecondary institutions.

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

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

Job Prospects for Career and Technical Education Teachers

Teachers with work experience and certifications in the subject they teach 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, 2016-26
Occupational Title Employment, 2016 Projected Employment, 2026 Change, 2016-26
Percent Numeric
Career and technical education teachers 219,400 227,100 4 7,700
  Vocational education teachers, postsecondary 128,000 129,700 1 1,700
  Career/technical education teachers, middle school 12,700 13,600 7 900
  Career/technical education teachers, secondary school 78,700 83,700 6 5,000


*Some content used by permission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

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