Career Information for a Degree or Certification in Teaching Computers

Computer instructors generally have degrees or certification in computer science as well as coursework in education. Continue reading for an overview of the programs, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

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With a degree or certification to teach computers, it is possible to become a high school computer teacher, a vocational school instructor, or a self-enrichment teacher. High school teachers and vocational instructors are also required to be certified.

Essential Information

Earning a degree or certificate in computer science or instruction can prepare individuals to provide computer training and education to others. Job opportunities include teaching high school and vocational school students as well as children and adults who want to improve their skills.

Career Secondary School Teacher Vocational School Instructor Self-Enrichment Teacher
Required Education Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Certification
Other Requirements Endorsement & certification Certification None
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% (high school teachers) 13% (postsecondary teachers) 15% (all self-enrichment teachers)
Median Annual Salary (2015)* $57,200 (high school teachers) $49,470 (postsecondary teachers) $36,680 (all self-enrichment teachers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Degrees or Certifications in Teaching Computers

Degree Programs

Suitable degree programs for teaching computers vary by the context in which a person hopes to offer computer instruction. Those who teach in elementary, middle or high schools must hold at least a bachelor's degree before teaching in public school systems. Although many teachers hold bachelor's degrees in education or complete a teacher training program while in school, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that all states provide alternate routes to earning a teacher's license for those who have bachelor's degrees in other areas. A bachelor's or graduate degree in a computer-related field can prepare someone to provide computer instruction in adult vocational and self-enrichment programs.

Teacher Endorsements

Many states require teachers to qualify to teach specific subject areas. The qualification is known as an 'endorsement' and it usually requires the aspiring teacher to complete a specified number of coursework hours in the subject that he or she wishes to teach. Each state has its own rules for issuing endorsements and not all states offer a computer science endorsement to their teachers, according to a report commissioned by the Computer Science Teachers Association.

Professional Certifications

In addition to earning professional certifications in different areas of computer knowledge and expertise, some certifying bodies offer instructor certification. CompTIA, for example, is a professional certifying body that is not affiliated with any particular brand or company. It issues the Certified Technical Trainer (CTT+) credential to instructors and teachers. Industry vendors, such as Microsoft, also issue instructor certifications to those who are qualified to teach others how to use that vendor's products.

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Careers

Secondary School Computer Teacher

The requirements to become a high school computer teacher vary by state as well as the policy of the individual school or school district in which someone hopes to work. All public school teachers must be licensed by the state in which they teach, and many school systems require teachers to hold a master's degree if they hope to advance in their careers. In addition, some states, such as Maryland, require teachers to hold an endorsement to teach computer science at the high school level. The BLS projected employment for secondary school teachers to increase by 6% between 2014 and 2024. As of May 2015, median annual wages for secondary school teachers was reported as $57,200 by the BLS.

Postsecondary Vocational School Instructor

Many postsecondary vocational schools provide training in the use of computers and specific software packages to adult students. Vocational school instructors may prepare students for careers in computer technology or may provide necessary computer training for non-technical careers such as office administration. As of May 2015, the median annual salary for postsecondary vocational school instructors was $49,470, according to the BLS. The BLS predicted employment growth of 13% for all postsecondary instructors between 2014 and 2024.

Self-Enrichment Teachers

A self-enrichment teacher provides instruction to adults and children or teenagers who wish to learn new skills but don't want to enroll in a formal academic program. These teachers may offer computer instruction through adult education programs, after-school programs or through computer stores. They may also provide private lessons in their client's homes.

Since these self-enrichment teachers aren't licensed, they are not subject to mandatory educational requirements. However, they often need to document their educational and career credentials before they can get a job or attract clients. The BLS expected employment of self-enrichment teachers, in general, to increase 15% between 2014 and 2024. Also according to the BLS, the median annual income for these teachers was $36,680 as of May 2015.

There are several career options if you wish to teach computer courses, including high school teacher, postsecondary vocational instructor and self-enrichment teacher. High school and vocational teachers are usually required to hold a state teaching license. All these teachers can demonstrate their knowledge by earning professional certification.

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