Career and technical education teachers typically do the following:
Career and technical education teachers 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 teachers establish relationships 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 career and technical education teachers vary by the grade and subject they teach. In middle schools and high schools, they teach general concepts in a classroom and through practical exercises in workshops and laboratories.
In postsecondary schools, they teach specific career skills that help students earn a certificate, 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.
In most states, teachers in middle and high schools instruct one subject within the 16 major career fields, also known as Career Clusters. For example, the career cluster known as architecture and construction includes instruction in designing, planning, managing, building, and maintaining structures.
Teachers instructing courses in agricultural, food, and natural resources teach topics such as agricultural production; agriculture-related business; veterinary science; and plant, animal, and food systems. For example, they may have students plant and care for crops and tend to animals so that students can apply what they have learned in the classroom.
Career and technical education teachers in hospitality and tourism teach students in subjects such as nutrition, culinary arts, or hotel lodging. For example, teachers may instruct and supervise students in creating menus and preparing food.
Some teach the skills necessary to work as technicians and assistants, such as nursing and dental assistants in health-science occupations.
For information on all 16 major Career Clusters and programs in all other states, visit National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium.