Industrial Arts Education for Teachers

Learn how you can obtain a position as an industrial arts education teacher, including the education, certification and experience you'll need to work in a public school. Find out what you can expect in terms of job growth and salary, and make an informed decision about your future career.

Is Teaching Industrial Arts for Me?

Career Overview

Industrial arts teachers, also referred to as vocational or technical teachers, are often part of a teaching team providing career and technical education (CTE) at middle schools, high schools and vocational schools. Vocational education teachers provide skills-based instruction in a wide range of areas, including metal work, woodworking, graphic design and computer repair. CTE teachers partner with local businesses and vocational colleges to help their students acquire further education and practical work experiences. Many CTE teachers have year-round contracts in order to develop programs and internships for their students.

Job Duties

As an industrial arts teacher, you'll design and implement curriculum and coordinate with administrators and team members. You'll also conduct student evaluations and communicate with parents and partnering colleges. Many vocational teachers help their students find jobs, so expect to offer some career advice and preparation as well.

Required Skills

Good communication and interpersonal skills are key to working as an industrial arts teacher. You'll also need to be detail oriented, creative and able to work in occasionally stressful environments.

Employment and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2013, CTE teachers who worked in middle schools earned a median annual salary of $54,270. Employment of middle school CTE teachers was projected to grow by 5% nationwide between 2012 and 2022. Openings for high school CTE teachers were also expected to increase by 5% during the same 10-year period, which is slower than the national average of 11%. In May 2013, high school CTE teachers earned a median annual salary of $55,120 (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Become an Industrial Arts Teacher?

Educational and Certification Requirements

There are generally two paths to becoming an industrial arts teacher. If you follow the more traditional route, you'll earn a teaching degree in industrial arts and technology and a grade 5-12 certification. Technical coursework will include training in electronics, photography, metal working and computer-aided design. As part of your teacher preparation program, you'll study educational methodology, curriculum foundations and child development, while student teaching and getting ready for your state certification exam.

If you're an uncertified candidate who already has a bachelor's degree in a non-education field, you can pursue a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.). In general, M.A.T. programs are tailored for professionals who may be changing careers or seeking to combine a bachelor's with a master's degree.

Alternative Requirements

In most states, a high school diploma or bachelor's degree, in combination with verifiable work experience in an industrial arts field, may qualify you for a position as a vocational teacher. Completion of a certification program might also be required, and you may be restricted to teaching only those subjects for which you have corresponding work experience.

Continuing Education

As a teacher, you'll need to pursue continuing education to keep your state certification current. Additional courses and education, including master's and doctoral programs in vocational education, can lead to incremental pay increases at public schools. Master of Education and graduate programs in educational leadership may also help you advance to an administrative position.

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