Vocational School Teacher: Job Description & Career Info

Read on to see what vocational teachers do. Get details about required education and training. See what the career prospects and earning potential are, too, to see if this job is the one for you.

Career Definition for Vocational School Teachers

Vocational school teachers, also known as career and technical teachers, prepare students for careers that require a specific set of skills rather than preparing them for bachelor's degrees. Teaching vocational school typically involves providing students with direct experience with the equipment and technology they will use in their careers immediately upon graduation. Vocational schools and vocational programs in high schools teach a variety of topics, including medical technology, dental hygiene, cosmetology, specialized engineering skills, auto repair, and many others.

Required Education Bachelor's degree or certification/experience in field related to taught course
Job Duties Provide students with experience related to a future career path, communicate with students, design lesson plans
Median Salary (2018)* $59,230 (all middle school career and technical teachers)
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 7% (all middle school career and technical teachers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Many vocational school teachers have bachelor's degrees in fields related to the career and technology training they provide. Other vocational school teachers have received non-degree certification and gained relevant professional experience that demonstrates their ability to train others.

Licensure and Certification Requirements

States vary in their licensure requirements for vocational school teachers. Those who work in public middle or high schools must typically earn state teaching certification and licenses, which usually requires a test.

Skills Required

Vocational school teachers are excellent at communicating information to students. Teaching vocational programs requires the ability to design lesson plans that will motivate and interest students. Vocational school teachers are comfortable working with students in classrooms, laboratories, and other training facilities with minimal supervision or assistance.

Career and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) reported that career and technical school teaching jobs at the middle school level were expected to grow by 7% between 2016 and 2026. For the same period, positions at the high school level were expected to experience 6% growth. The South and West should have especially high numbers of vocational students, making these areas hot spots for employment opportunities. The median yearly income for career and technical teachers working in high schools was $60,250 in 2018, while those who worked in middle schools made $59,230 in the same year, according to the BLS.

Alternate Career Options

Similar career options in this field include:

High School Teacher

A high school teacher typically has a subject-specific instructional responsibility as well as the job of helping students to fulfill the prerequisites for college or employment after high school. High school teachers motivate students, work closely with other teachers and school administrators, prepare and deliver lessons, and take part in school activities like supervising detention. A bachelor's degree is usually the minimum requirement; high school teachers take classes in the subject they want to teach plus education classes. High school teachers are also typically required to hold state licensing and certification, which often requires taking a test. Private school teachers may be exempt from these requirements. Jobs in this field are expected to increase by 8% from 2016-2026, per the BLS. This occupation paid a median salary of $60,320 in 2018.

Career Counselor

Career counselors help high school students cultivate the necessary skills for school and employment success. Career counselors guide students in identifying goals and the necessary steps to attain them. They also work with students on social skills and study skills. A master's degree is usually required for employment. Career counselors who work in public schools are subject to state licensing and certification requirements, which vary by state. The BLS predicts that jobs for career and school counselors will increase by 13% from 2016-2026; the BLS also reports that all education, guidance, school, and vocational counselor positions paid a median annual salary of $56,310 in 2018.

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