Instructional Leadership Specialist: Vocational School Director Programs

Oct 10, 2019

Essential Information

Each of these programs is intended for current educators who have already earned professional teaching credentials, and many programs prepare graduates for school administrator licensure.

Students in the certificate program learn what it takes to work in vocational school administration. Depending on the school, an undergraduate or graduate degree could be necessary for admission. The master's degree program teaches advanced educational theories in order to prepare participants for upper-tier teaching or administrative duties. Students may need to have majored in vocational education at the undergraduate level. Hands-on learning and internship experiences may be included in the programs.

Vocational Director Certificate

Vocational school directors communicate with students, teachers and other administrators to establish effective educational settings for learners. Individuals wishing to become vocational school directors often have a strong desire to help others achieve success. Professionally trained and licensed teachers wishing to become vocational school directors can choose certificate programs to enhance their existing experience.

In vocational director certificate programs, students learn about institutional leadership, long-range planning, community involvement, curriculum development, financial management and personnel supervision. Programs are often skill-centric, involving a great deal of hands-on and experiential learning.

Most vocational director certificate programs combine classroom learning with internship experience for a comprehensive education. Courses are focused on the communication, teaching, finance and community-related competencies needed to lead and direct a vocational school environment. Common courses include:

  • School finance
  • Educational law
  • Personnel management
  • Technical education planning
  • Instructional leadership
  • Education public relations

Master of Education in Career and Technical Education

Students wanting to further advance their knowledge of vocational school education may seek a master's degree in career and technical education. This degree is geared towards professionals who want to prepare students for careers. It is also designed for those who want to teach or administrate career education in secondary, post-secondary, adult education and private sector settings.

Because a master's degree program in career and technical education can prepare students for either administration or teaching, career tracks often play a role in course selection. In general, however, courses center on learning advanced educational philosophies and developing leadership traits. Common courses include:

  • Career and technical education philosophy
  • Curriculum development theory
  • Education research methodology
  • Issues in education
  • Psychology of learning
  • Education technology

Popular Career Options

Students pursuing master's degrees in career and technical education are often seeking specific career options in either public education or private-sector training. A master's degree program is usually tailored to a student's chosen career path. Some common career options for graduates of these programs include:

  • Career and technical education teacher
  • Vocational education administrator
  • Business/industrial trainer

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates the field of elementary, middle and high school principals are expected to see average growth, with employment growing 4% between 2018 and 2028. Post-secondary education administrators will see 7% growth that same decade. The BLS also reports that the median salary of post-secondary education administrators made $94,340 per year as of May 2018, while administrators of elementary and secondary schools earned a median salary of $95,310 (

Continuing Education and Licensure Information

Graduates from master's degree programs in career and technical education generally seek state licensure. In addition, graduates may wish to advance their education by seeking a doctoral degree in the fields of education or educational leadership.

Most states require educational administrators, like vocational school directors, to be licensed, according to the BLS. While requirements vary by state, graduates of vocational director certificate programs may be required to complete state testing to acquire a license. In addition, continuing education could be required to maintain licensure.

Aspiring vocational school directors have the option of studying towards a vocational director certificate or a master's in career and technical education. Common courses include school finance and the psychology of learning.

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