Career and technical education teachers typically do the following:
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.
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 Teach.org.
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:
For information on certification requirements in your state, visit Teach.org.
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.