Vocational Instructor Certification and Certificate Programs

Certificate programs in vocational instruction are available to students who want to teach others trade skills. Keep reading to learn about program coursework and get career info for middle school, secondary and postsecondary vocational instructors.

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Essential Information

Vocational instructors, also known as career and technical instructors, educate their students in a wide variety of occupational areas, such as agriculture, construction, manufacturing and transportation. Certificate programs are intended both for students in teaching programs who want to provide vocational instruction and skilled workers who want to teach these skills to others in a classroom setting. Programs are 12-14 credit hours long. Applicants must have a high school diploma and relevant work experience. An associate or bachelor's degree in a related field or teaching credentials are sometimes required.

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Vocational Instructor Certificate Programs

The curriculum of a vocational instructor certificate program is generally composed of courses intended to acquaint students with the methods, strategies and techniques used to impart technical skills and information to adult learners. Courses a student may be required to take include:

  • Career and technical education philosophies and processes
  • Trainee and student evaluation
  • Developing courses for industry and business education
  • Policies and practices of work-based learning
  • Incorporating technology into career and technical education
  • Creating a curriculum for career and technical education

Popular Careers

Vocational education positions exist at the middle, secondary and postsecondary levels. Generally, aspiring vocational instructors who want to work with young adults focus on teacher preparation, and those who want to work with adult learners focus on occupational expertise. Every state requires middle and secondary school vocational teachers to be licensed, which requires completion of a bachelor's degree and a teacher training program that includes a practicum component. Additionally, some states require that their vocational instructors receive a master's degree within a certain amount of time after they begin to teach.

Employment and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced that in May 2015, there were 13,090 people employed as vocational educators at middle schools earning $58,480 per year on average ( The BLS also found that 77,430 vocational educators were employed at secondary schools with an average annual salary of $58,170. Around 119,800 people worked as vocational educators at the postsecondary level, including industrial and commercial adult education programs, earning a mean yearly wage of $54,260. Employment of these instructors is expected to grow by 4%, overall, between 2014 and 2024.

Certificate programs in vocational instruction prepare students for work as vocational instructors and career/technical education teachers. Students learn how to assess student needs and performance and develop curriculum. They also gain a knowledge of applicable policies.

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