Requirements for Teaching Vocational Education Programs

Sep 11, 2019

Vocational teachers work in high schools and colleges teaching students skills in their specific vocation. Positions as vocational teachers require experience or training in the fields they teach. They often also require completion of a bachelor's degree with a master's degree as a further educational option.

Essential Information

Vocational education teachers, often called career and technical education teachers, develop a student's occupational or technical skills. Vocational education careers can be found in secondary and post-secondary schools, as well as in industry-based programs. In order to meet state licensing requirements, vocational education teachers in public schools must complete a certificate or degree program to gain experience in classroom instruction and course development. They may have to prove competency in the field they teach.

Required Education Variable, with a minimum requirement of a high school diploma for those with substantial experience in their subject matter; degree or certificate in education is typical
Other Requirements Demonstrable skill and experience in the subject they teach
License State teaching certification for public secondary schools
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* -1% decline (for career and technical education teachers)
Median Salary (2018)* $56,750 (for career and technical education teachers)

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Educational Requirements for Teaching Vocational Education Programs

The path to becoming a vocational education teacher typically starts with a degree or teacher preparation program in career and technical education. Prospective vocational educators can find bachelor's and master's degree programs, as well as teacher preparation certificate programs. However, many states allow prospective vocational teachers, with advanced experience in the field, to enter into teaching with a high school diploma or bachelor's degree without teaching experience (

Prospective vocational teachers entering into a bachelor's degree or teacher preparation certificate program must demonstrate occupational skills in their field through an associate degree, certificate or licensure. A competency exam is also offered through the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute.

Program Details

Bachelor's degree or teacher preparation programs prepare students for licensure in teaching vocational education classes in high schools, colleges and industry-based programs. These programs are designed for students who have work experience in a vocational field and would like to acquire the skills for teaching vocational education. The curriculum provides introductory technical education teaching, instructional methods, course development and problems in career and technical education. Master's degree programs also explore educational research and administration techniques. All the programs include real-life classroom experience through mentoring or an internship.

Career Requirements

The career requirements to become a vocational education teacher vary depending on whether one wants to teach in a secondary or postsecondary school. To teach in a public secondary school, a vocational teacher must obtain a teaching license through the State Board of Education or advisory committee. The license requires prospective teachers to have obtained a bachelor's degree and completed teacher training. Alternative licensing routes are also available for without a bachelor's degree. Colleges and technical schools typically do not require a specified certificate or licensure.

Vocational Education teachers are usually required to possess a bachelor's degree, and master's degree programs are also available. Programs usually include field work in mentoring or an internship. Secondary school teachers are licensed by the state which requires obtaining a bachelor's degree and teacher training.

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