Career Advice on How to Become A Vocational Education Teacher at the Postsecondary Level

General Career Information

It may come as a surprise, but there are over 120,000 vocational teachers working in the postsecondary system just in the United States alone.  These teachers work to teach their students a wide array of skills that can be translated to jobs in the business world and manufacturing.  Those in the middle of a job search or career planning will need to access whether or not they are qualified to teach at the postsecondary level, whether it is in a junior college, college, university or vocational school.

Career Facts:

In previous eras, much of the work of a vocational education teacher and the vocational school or program was actually performed by the ancient apprenticeship program.  Today, there is a tendency to romanticize the apprenticeship program, but often the realities of being an apprentice were less than romantic.  Apprentices were given training in a given craft or field, shoe making, for example, and in return they worked very hard for little or no pay.  Further, they were often not treated well either.  

Yet, most of the time after one had completed work in an apprenticeship, he would know how to perform a valuable task such as metalworking.  From this point on the apprentice had a tangible and valuable skill that he used to market his abilities.  In time, this could even lead to an apprentice moving his way up through the apprenticeship system until he would become a master.  At this point, he could then have apprentices of his own to kick around, and the cycle of life would begin anew.  Luckily, for those wanting to go to vocational school to learn a “trade” (as in trade your work for money), the process is a little easier these days.


Career Opportunities and Job Outlook- Good:

The overall job growth rate for vocational education teachers is expected to be roughly fifteen percent, which is considerably higher than the national average of eight percent.  Most vocational teachers will have a college degree related to their subject and graduate degrees are preferred.  However, vocational education teachers are often given a great deal of credit for on the job training.  A welder, for example, with twenty-five years of intense, proven on the job training will usually be a wanted commodity for a vocational institution in need of a welding instructor.  As a result, a bachelor’s degree may be seen as more than sufficient.  Those with strong technical skills and years of experience may find that there are job openings at the postsecondary level for them.
Job Outlook is Good

A Day in The Life:

Vocational education teachers will find that their days are very similar to those of their postsecondary teaching counterparts in that they will need to create and implement lesson plans and teach those lesson plans.  One key difference will often be that, as they are vocational education teachers, they will be focusing on teaching their students in a hands-on sitting where students learn to perform certain tasks.

Average Salary:

The average salary for a full-time vocation education teacher at the postsecondary level is about $79,000.



Career Training and Qualifications:

A strong background in the skills one is teaching is obviously a must.  Graduate degrees are preferred, but depending upon the subject matter that is being taught, they may not be expected or necessary.
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