Vocational Teacher Training and Courses

Vocational teachers instruct students in practical career skills in areas like technology, healthcare and construction. Read on for more information on how to become a vocational teacher, including experience requirements, licensure standards and training programs. Schools offering Adult Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

The duties of a vocational teacher are to focus on readying students to enter the workforce and possibly coordinate job opportunities or internships. Pursuing a bachelor's degree and teaching license is necessary to become a vocational teacher, as is taking classes that focus on teaching methods and refining the knowledge needed for the specific vocation that will be taught.

Duties Instructing in public schools, career centers, prisons or community colleges; coordinating internships and part-time jobs
Certification Bachelor's degree, teaching license
Courses English, human behavior and courses in the specified vocational field

What Does a Vocational Teacher Do?

The Vocational Education Act of 1963 mandated home economics and wood shop classes in public middle schools. Today, vocational teachers, also called Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers, work in public schools, career centers, prisons and even community colleges. Your main responsibility as a CTE teacher is to provide students with the skills they need to enter the workplace. You may instruct students to work in fields like business, technology, construction, manufacturing, automotive repair, healthcare or farming.

Whichever subject you teach, your focus will be on actively preparing students to begin work. Part of your job may be to coordinate internship and part-time job opportunities for students, so there is a good chance that you will interact with local business owners and industry professionals on a regular basis.

How Can I Become One?

In order to work in the public school system, you may need a bachelor's degree and a teaching license. To teach at the collegiate level, most commonly at community colleges, you may only be required to possess significant work experience in your field. The same goes for working in career centers or correctional facilities; you may find employment without a teaching license, just as long as you have proven professional experience.

What About Licensure Requirements?

Each state sets its own regulations regarding teacher licensure, so requirements vary widely. In addition to a bachelor's degree, you may need to complete several education courses, pass an exam and either serve as an apprentice or assistant teacher or be observed leading a classroom. All states require you to have a high school diploma or its equivalent. Many states require you to pass tests in math and reading, and if you're not a native English speaker you will have to pass a language exam as well.

How Can I Acquire Certification?

Some states make it possible to become a licensed CTE teacher without a bachelor's degree through an alternative certification program. In order to follow this route, you'll need extensive professional experience in your field, and you must complete a training program and pass the Occupational Competency Assessment (OCA) exam.

What Courses Will I Take?

CTE teacher training programs prepare you to teach classes and effectively impart your professional wisdom and experience. Typically, there are a few practicum courses in education degree programs, in which you and the other students practice teaching and acting like students. In many programs, you'll be required to complete a supervised teaching internship where you'll work with actual students in a classroom setting in order to develop your teaching skills. Because of these practical experiences, CTE teacher training programs aren't well-suited to a fully online format; however, you may be able to find some individual classes offered online.

You'll likely be covering some of these topics listed below:

  • Education methods
  • Theories of education
  • Motivating students
  • Student management
  • Proper handling of behavior disruptions

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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