Postsecondary Career/Technical Education Teachers
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Teach vocational courses intended to provide occupational training below the baccalaureate level in subjects such as construction, mechanics/repair, manufacturing, transportation, or cosmetology, primarily to students who have graduated from or left high school. Teaching takes place in public or private schools whose primary business is academic or vocational education.
Undergraduate program resulting in the highest median salary ($62K): Nursing
Largest undergraduate program (6.3% of workers): Biology
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Titles for this career often contain these words
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Responsibilities and activities

Career and technical education teachers typically do the following:

  • Create lesson plans and assignments
  • Instruct students on how to develop certain skills
  • Show students how to apply classroom knowledge through hands-on activities
  • Demonstrate and supervise safe and proper use of tools and equipment
  • Monitor students’ progress, assign tasks, and grade assignments
  • Discuss students’ progress with parents, students, and counselors
  • Develop and enforce classroom rules and safety procedures

CTE teachers help students explore and prepare to enter a career or technical occupation. They use a variety of teaching methods to help students learn and develop skills related to a specific occupation or career field. They demonstrate tasks, techniques, and tools used in an occupation. They may assign hands-on tasks, such as replacing brakes on cars, taking blood pressure, or applying makeup. Teachers typically oversee these activities in workshops and laboratories in the school.

Some teachers work with local businesses and nonprofit organizations to provide practical work experience for students. They also serve as advisers to students participating in career and technical student organizations.

The specific duties of CTE teachers vary by the grade and subject they teach. In middle schools and high schools, they teach general concepts in a classroom and practical exercises in workshops and laboratories.

In postsecondary schools, they teach specific career skills that help students earn a certificate, a diploma, or an associate’s degree and prepare them for a specific job. For example, welding instructors teach students welding techniques and safety practices. They also monitor the use of tools and equipment and have students practice procedures until they meet the standards required by the trade.

In most states, teachers in middle and high schools teach one subject within major career fields. CTE teachers combine academic instruction with experiential learning in their subject of expertise.

For example, teachers of courses in agricultural, food, and natural resources teach topics such as agricultural production; agriculture-related business; veterinary science; and plant, animal, and food systems. They may have students plant and care for crops and animals to apply what they have learned in the classroom.

For information about the programs for major career fields, visit Advance CTE.

Median salary: $55,620 annually
Half of those employed in this career earn between $42,680 and $73,500.
Context: Median Salary
How do salaries for this career compare to other jobs' salaries?
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Salary growth for postsecondary teachers
Is this job likely to reward you for sticking with it through pay raises and promotions? The higher a job’s “experience quotient,” the more you are likely to get as you stay there.
Experience quotient percentile
Take a minute to look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working at each age change. Does this seem to be a job for the young or the old, or could it be a career offering steady salary growth for many years?
Salary distribution
Number employed
About Postsecondary Career/Technical Education Teachers
How do benefits for this career compare to other jobs? The availability of health care, especially employer provided health care, and pension plans can add significantly to the value of compensation you receive in a career. These charts compare how this career compares to other careers with regard to health care and pension plans.
Employee has health insurance
Employer is providing health insurance
Employer-provided pension plan is available
Worker concerns
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of postsecondary career/technical education teachers who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Time Pressure (53%)
  • Responsible for Others' Health (53%)
  • Exposed to Contaminants (38%)
  • Consequence of Error (33%)
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Personality and skills
Can you see yourself in the ranks of Postsecondary Career/Technical Education Teachers? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.
Communication skills
Career and technical education teachers must explain concepts in terms that students can understand.
Organizational skills
Career and technical education teachers must coordinate their time and teaching materials.
Working with students of different abilities and backgrounds can be difficult. Teachers must be even-tempered with students to develop a positive learning environment.
Teachers need to create different ways of presenting information and demonstrating tasks so that all students learn the material.
Injury and Illness
About 16 postsecondary career/technical education teachers become injured or ill for every 10,000 workers, making this job more dangerous than 51% of other careers. The most common specific concerns detailed following.
Soreness and pain
Education pathways to this career
Education attained by postsecondary career/technical education teachers
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), postsecondary career/technical education teachers typically hold a bachelor's degree.
Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as postsecondary teachers as reported in responses to the American Community Survey.
Details: Education and training recommended for postsecondary career/technical education teachers

Career and technical education teachers generally need a bachelor’s degree in the field they teach, such as agriculture, engineering, or computer science.

All states require prospective career and technical education teachers in public schools to complete a period of fieldwork, called a student-teaching program, in which they work with a mentor teacher and get experience teaching students in a classroom. For information about teacher preparation programs in your state, visit

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for postsecondary career/technical education teachers

States may require career and technical education teachers in public schools to be licensed or certified. Requirements for certification or licensure vary by state, but generally involve the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree with a minimum grade point average
  • Completion of a student-teaching program
  • Passing a background check
  • Passing a general teaching certification test, as well as a test that demonstrates their knowledge of the subject they will teach.

For information on certification requirements in your state, visit

Career and technical education teachers who prepare students for an occupation that requires a license or certification may need to have and maintain the same credential. For example, career and technical education teachers who teach welding may need to have certification in welding. In addition, teachers may be required to complete annual professional development courses to maintain their license or certification.

Some states offer an alternative route to certification or licensure for prospective teachers who have a bachelor’s degree or work experience in their field but lack the education courses required for certification. Alternative programs typically cover teaching methods, development of lesson plans, and classroom management.

Education level of Postsecondary Teachers
About 79% of postsecondary teachers have a graduate-level education, and 94% have at least a bachelor's degree.
Education attained by postsecondary teachers
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Top college degrees
Here are the top college degrees held by the 89% of people in this job who have at least a bachelor's degree. Some of degrees may link to multiple programs due to the way Census classifies college majors. Click on a program to learn more about career opportunities for people who major in that field.
  1. Biology
  2. English Language and Literature
  3. Psychology
  4. Mathematics
  5. Chemistry
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College majors held by postsecondary teachers
This table shows the college majors held by people working as postsecondary teachers. If you see "**" before the name of a degree/program, that means this field is one that the Department of Education believes is preparatory for this career. However, you can see from this list that those recommendations are far from your only path to this job!
Salary comparison for bachelor's only
Career salary (tail) versus Career/Major salary (dot)
Does the bachelor's-only salary rise or fall with this major?
Salary for bachelor's-only
For people with this career and major
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Salary for all workers
For people with this career and major
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education for Career and Major
Workers with this career/major
Percentage in this career with this major
Not so much?
The link between degrees and this career
With the following sankey diagram, you can follow the top ten bachelor's degrees held by people working as postsecondary teachers, and then, in turn, you can see the 10 occupations that hire the most of each degree's graduates. We hope this provides ideas for similar jobs and similar fields of study.
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BiologyEnglish Language and...PsychologyMathematicsChemistryNursingHistoryGeneral EducationPhysicsPolitical Science an...All other degreesThis jobTop 10 majors
Where are the jobs
State-by-state employment numbers
Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.
Select a state to see local area details
Number of Postsecondary Teachers per 1,000 workers (ACS)
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Job density versus job count
Which states hire the most postsecondary career/technical education teachers? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as postsecondary career/technical education teachers. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where postsecondary career/technical education teachers earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio
We use two methods to compare salaries across states:
  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for postsecondary teachers compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for postsecondary teachers.
We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which postsecondary teachers earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this figure might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
Location-adjusted median salary for Postsecondary Teachers (ACS for all specialties)
29% of Postsecondary teachers are working part time.
We’ve found that some jobs have a huge number of part-time workers, and typically that is because they are unable to find full-time work or the job itself can’t provide full-time hours. With 29% part-time workers, this occupation has a higher percentage of part-time workers than 83% of careers.
Employer types
This donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, giving us a picture of what employers most typically hire for this career.
Employers of undefined (ACS)
Private for-profit
Private not-for-profit
Local government
State government
Federal government
Self-employed incorporated
Self-employed not incorporated
Working without pay
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Distribution: Salaries of postsecondary teachers by type of employer
Here are the salary distributions based on employer type.
$64K$68K$67K$53K$64K$54K$74K$40K$0$50,000$100,000$150,000Self-employed not incorporatedSelf-employed incorporatedFederal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Postsecondary teachers and gender
With 49% women, this occupation has a higher percentage of women than 60% of careers.
Gender of Postsecondary teachers
Men (51%)
Women (49%)
Distribution: salaries by gender
Does gender greatly influence your salary in this career? The closer the bars are, the less discrepancy there is.
We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.
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Context: Women in the workforce
How does this career compare to other careers with regard to the percentage of women in the career.
Context: Salary inequity
The median salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 19%. The situation is a little better for postsecondary teachers, with the median salary for men 12% higher than the median salary for women.
Race and origin of Postsecondary teachers
This donut shows the distribution of race and origin among those employed as Postsecondary teachers.
Race/origin of postsecondary teachers
White (77% )
Asian (12% )
Black (6% )
Multiracial (2% )
Other (1% )
American Indian (0% )
Hispanic (0% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Distribution: salaries by race/origin
Some careers might have a pay disparity based on race or origin, the closer the below bars are the less of a discrepancy is present.
$50K$57K$58K$63K$63K$64K$65K$0$50K$100K$150KOtherMultiracialBlackAsianHispanicAmerican IndianWhite
We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.