Becoming a teacher usually requires at least a bachelor's degree. But sometimes you only have to have a strong experience working as a skilled person. Do you fit the description of someone skilled in trades like welding or carpentry?
You can become a vocational instructor. Find out how from our basic guide.
Vocational teachers belong to a special class of teachers. While having very similar responsibilities with a regular college faculty, they are different in that – rather than help students complete a regular college degree -- they train them on craft with immediate practical application. They train students how to be skilled on practical fields such as welding, cosmetology, culinary, tailoring, plumbing, and electronics. Sometimes, they also provide career guidance, oversee the internships of students, and help them find jobs.
Vocational Teacher Requirements
To become a vocational instructor, what you need is solid experience in the application of a certain technical skill and not necessarily high educational attainment (although having one is undeniably an advantage). Sometimes an associate degree is enough if you have sufficient work experience. Tenured vocational instructors, however, may be required to have a bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree would even be better and could increase one’s chances for hiring or promotion. Depending on where you will teach, you may or may not need Vocational Teaching Credential or a Designated Special Subjects Teaching Credential. For specific requirements, ask the school where you intend to apply. Generally, private schools tend to be lenient with regards to requirements than public schools.
Vocational Teacher State Licensing
Different states have different licensing processes and programs. For example, Mississippi grants a special beginner’s teaching license to people who have taken non-degree courses and those without degrees in education. They are given up to three years to work their way to obtain the standard license to teach. In California, they require a Vocational Credential and an Adult Education Credential. In Pennsylvania, a new teacher is granted a non-degree certification called the Vocational Intern teaching certificate, which can usually be obtained by completing the Occupational Competency Assessment testing program.
Finding Employment as Vocational Teacher
As a vocational teacher, you can find employment in public high schools, and also in private ones as teacher in their Adult Education Program. You can also become a professor, associate or assistant professor, and instructor in community colleges, private vocational schools/colleges and training centers. Career advancement in this field includes being promoted to department administrative head. To look for jobs, look for ads for vocational teachers in industry journals, Internet job listings, school and state employment placement offices. If you have a regular job, you can continue with it and apply as part-time teacher or teaching assistant. Later, you might want to decide to pursue teaching as a full-time employment.