Technical Education for Teachers

Technical education may be a good choice if you're interested in teaching at the middle or high school levels or have a background in computers or trade work and want to make a career change. To learn more about degree and licensing requirements for technical education teachers, read on.

Is Technical Teaching for Me?

Career Overview

Technical teachers at the middle school and high school levels teach career and technical education (CTE) courses. Most students are required to take some level of technical education, which can be completed by taking courses in computer programming, computer-aided design (CAD), woodworking, small engine repair or other skills-based classes. CTE teachers often have prior experience in their fields and may provide college and career advice to students who choose to pursue these types of jobs.

Job Duties and Skills

As a technical education teacher, you'll plan and implement lessons, assess student progress and communicate with parents and administrators. You might also arrange internships and other work opportunities for your students. High school CTE teachers may coordinate their programs with local trade schools, liaising with educational coordinators at the college level. To succeed as a teacher, you'll need excellent communication and interpersonal skills, patience and the ability to persevere.

Employment and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2013, there were approximately 18,150 middle school teachers and 85,020 high school teachers working in career and technical education. As of May 2013, the median annual salary of a middle school CTE teacher was $54,270, while high school CTE teachers earned $55,120. As reported by the BLS, a slower-than-average increase of 5% in employment opportunities was projected for both middle and high school CTE teachers between 2012 and 2022 (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Work as a Technical Teacher?

Educational Requirements

A bachelor's degree in technical and industrial arts or computer science education can help you become certified as a grade 5-12 teacher. In an undergraduate program, you'll study psychology, teaching methods and the history of vocational education. As an aspiring vocational teacher in an industrial arts program, you may also take courses in woodworking, small engine repair and electronics. Coursework found in a computer science program typically covers topics in algorithms, data structures and software applications. Requirements for certification also include a state-mandated student teaching practicum and a passing score on a skills exam.

Alternative Education Requirements

If you have prior work experience, you could also become a technical teacher by getting a job in a school system and earning a teaching certificate. Requirements vary by state, but usually include proof of 2-6 years of recent work experience in the technical trades. An associate's or a bachelor's degree in a technical trade may reduce the required amount of work experience. In a teacher certification program, you'll learn how to use technology in the classroom, become familiar with teaching methods and find out how to provide technical education and vocational instruction for special needs students.

Continuing Education

To maintain your certification, you'll have to complete continuing education courses. Teacher salaries typically increase with each 15-hour increment of education earned. Many teachers earn master's degrees in education. Completion of a doctoral degree in instructional technology may qualify you for a position as a department head or college professor.

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