Secondary School Vocational Teachers

Secondary school vocational teachers prepare students for occupations that need a specific set of skills. They provide students with hands-on activities with the equipment they will use in their occupation. Their objective is to prepare students to enter the workforce or to acquire more training at the postsecondary level. Vocational teachers are also known as career and technical education (CTE) teachers and career technology teachers.

High school vocational teachers offer students career guidance, assist with job placement and sometimes follow up with students after they graduate. High school vocational teachers are experts in their field. Under current Federal law career and technical education teachers need to coordinate their program offerings with four-year, community and technical colleges.

A variety of vocational subjects are available at secondary schools including technology, healthcare, agriculture science, computer networking, auto mechanics, veterinary science and communications.

High school vocational teachers typically provide courses that are in high demand by local companies. Some employers offer internships and apprentices to students attending secondary school. Many career technology teachers have a role in building and overseeing partnerships with businesses.

High school vocational teachers evaluate their students performance and knowledge on subjects. They also explore career areas with their students. Vocational teachers are employed in public and private schools. Some in the profession teach a variety of subjects and others have a specialty.


  • Prepare materials for classes
  • Observe and evaluate students' performance
  • Maintain student records
  • Assign and grade coursework
  • Attend staff meetings
  • Create and enforce rules for behavior and procedures
  • Provide hands-on learning activities
  • Teach the techniques and theories used in the field
  • Demonstrate how tasks are performed and how to use tools

Job Characteristics

Secondary school vocational teachers should have good communication and organizing skills and they should enjoy helping others. Also, most of them work the standard school year.

Employment Outlook

The employment growth for secondary school vocational teachers has been projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to be 10 percent between 2008 and 2018. The number of secondary school teacher positions depends on state and local expenditures on education as well as legislation. Vocational teachers are in demand in various subjects at secondary schools. In addition, the median annual earnings for vocational education teachers in secondary schools in 2008 was $51,580.

Some vocational school teachers begin their careers in the profession by taking teaching assistant positions in vocational programs. Usually the assistant jobs are provided to individuals that graduated from vocational programs near the top of their class.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

The education and training requirements for secondary school vocational teachers vary by state and by the subject. Usually, teachers need a bachelor's degree and work experience in their specialty.

Every state requires teachers to have a bachelor's degree and completion of an approved teacher training program as well as supervised practice teaching. Every state requires career and technical education teachers in secondary schools to be licensed. However, if they have an appropriate amount of work experience in their teaching subject many states let career and technical education teachers enter the occupation without taking a teacher preparation program and they may only need a high school diploma and not a bachelor's degree.

Some states provide a license to vocational teachers that do not have a degree if they have knowledge, skills and experience in their field. Many vocational teachers continue their own education to stay current in their field, especially those who teach technology subjects.


Major Employers

The top employers are secondary schools, career and technical education secondary schools, career academies and regional career and technical education centers.

Schools for Secondary School Vocational Teachers are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for
Secondary School Vocational Teachers

Listed below are the 10 largest metro areas based on the total number of people employed in Secondary School Vocational Teachers jobs , as of 2016

Metro Area Total Employment Annual Mean Salary
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach 3,080 $56,420
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington 2,450 $60,590
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land 1,600 $63,320
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim 1,280 $76,090
Cleveland-Elyria 1,130 $69,830
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue 1,120 $63,860
San Juan-Carolina-Caguas 1,100 $36,490
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater 950 N/A
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford 930 $79,560
San Antonio-New Braunfels 920 $59,310

Compare Total Employment & Salaries for Secondary School Vocational Teachers

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Total employment and salary for professions similar to secondary school vocational teachers

Source : 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, BLS.gov

Most Popular Industries for
Secondary School Vocational Teachers

These industries represent at least 1% of the total number of people employed in this occupation.

Industry Total Employment Percent Annual Median Salary
Education 97,620 97% $51,660
Government 1,880 1% $48,100
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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Secondary School Vocational Teachers.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

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