Technical Instructor

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Quick Facts: Technical Instructors
2017 Median Pay $51,600 per year
Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation Less than 5 years
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2016 128,000
Job Outlook, 2016-26 1% (Slower than average)
Employment Change, 2016-26 1,800

What Technical Instructors do

Teach or instruct vocational or occupational subjects at the postsecondary level (but at less than the baccalaureate) to students who have graduated or left high school. Includes correspondence school instructors; industrial, commercial, and government training instructors; and adult education teachers and instructors who prepare persons to operate industrial machinery and equipment and transportation and communications equipment. Teaching may take place in public or private schools whose primary business is education or in a school associated with an organization whose primary business is other than education.

Work Environment

Most Technical Instructors work in postsecondary schools, such as 2-year colleges. Others work in technical, trade, and business schools. Although they generally work during school hours, some teach evening or weekend classes.

How to Become a Technical Instructor

Most Technical Instructors must have at least a bachelor’s degree. They also need work experience in the subject they teach. Some teachers, particularly those in public schools, may be required to have a state-issued certification or license. Requirements for certification or licensure vary by state.

Pay

The median annual wage for Technical Instructors was $51,600 in May 2017.

Job Outlook

Overall employment of Technical Instructors is projected to grow 1 percent from 2016 to 2026, slower than the average for all occupations. Demand for Technical Instructors will be driven by a continued need for programs that prepare students for technical careers.

Duties

Technical Instructors typically do the following:

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

Technical Instructors help students explore and prepare to enter a specific occupation, in fields such as healthcare or information technology. They use a variety of teaching techniques to help students learn and develop skills related to a specific career or field of study. 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 recording vital signs. Teachers typically oversee these tasks in workshops and laboratories in the school.

Some Technical Instructors 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.

In postsecondary schools, Technical Instructors 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 various welding techniques and essential safety practices. They also monitor the use of tools and equipment, and have students practice procedures until they meet the specific standards required by the trade.

Technical Instructors held about 219,400 jobs in 2016. Employment in the detailed occupations that make up career and technical education teachers was distributed as follows:

Vocational education teachers, postsecondary 128,000
Career/technical education teachers, secondary school 78,700
Career/technical education teachers, middle school 12,700

The largest employers of Technical Instructors were as follows:

Elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private 40%
Junior colleges; state, local, and private 24
Technical and trade schools; state, local, and private 21
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private 6

Technical Instructors typically work in middle, high, and postsecondary schools, such as 2-year colleges. Others work in technical, trade, and business schools.

Work Schedules

Some Technical Instructors, especially those in postsecondary schools, teach courses and develop lesson plans during evening hours and on weekends.

 

Most Technical Instructors generally need a bachelor’s degree in the field they teach, such as agriculture, engineering, or computer science.

All states require prospective Technical Instructors 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 setting. For information about teacher preparation programs in your state, visit Teach.org.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Many career and technical education teachers need work experience in the field they teach. For example, automotive mechanics, chefs, and nurses typically spend years in their career before moving into teaching.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

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 teacher preparation program and supervised experience in teaching, which is typically gained through student teaching
  • 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.

In addition to earning a teaching certification, 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.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Technical Instructors must explain technical concepts in terms that students can understand.

Organizational skills. Technical Instructors have many students in different classes throughout the day. They must organize their time and teaching materials.

Patience. Working with students of different abilities and backgrounds can be difficult. Technical Instructors must be patient with each student in their classroom and develop a positive learning environment.

Resourcefulness. Technical Instructors need to develop different ways of presenting information and demonstrating tasks so that all students learn the material.

 

Pay

The median annual wage for Technical Instructors was $51,600 in May 2017. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $29,780, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $91,020.

Overall employment of Technical Instructors is projected to grow 1 percent from 2016 to 2026, slower than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will vary by type of institution.

Overall demand for Technical Instructors will be driven by a continued demand for programs that prepare students for technical careers at middle and high schools and at postsecondary institutions.

As middle and high school students continue to be required to take more academic classes and fewer career and technical classes, employment growth of career and education teachers in middle and high schools may be affected.

In addition, public schools are dependent on government funding for career and technical programs. When budgets for these programs are reduced, employment growth for career and technical teachers may be limited.

Job Prospects

Teachers with work experience and certifications in the subject they teach should have the best job prospects.

Job opportunities also may be better in certain specialties, particularly at the postsecondary level. For example, those with experience in healthcare support occupations, who can teach skills necessary to work as medical or dental assistants, may have better job opportunities.




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Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Computer Support Specialists,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-support-specialists.htm (visited December 15, 2018).

Salary information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, a semi-annual survey that provides wage and employment statistics for the nation, each state, and sub-state regions.


Written by Angela

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