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Career and Technical Education Teachers

Career and technical education teachers help students in middle school and high school develop career-related and technical skills. They help students explore or prepare to enter a particular occupation, such as one in auto repair, healthcare, business, or the culinary arts. Show Details


Career and technical education teachers typically do the following:

  • Plan lessons in the subject they teach, such as information technology (IT) or automotive repair
  • Teach students how to apply information learned in academic classes, such as math and chemistry
  • Develop relationships with businesses to ensure that students develop the skills employers seek and to coordinate internships and apprenticeships
  • Coordinate their curriculum with local community colleges
  • Assess students to evaluate their abilities, strengths, and weaknesses
  • Grade students’ assignments to monitor their progress
  • Communicate with parents about their student’s progress
  • Develop and enforce classroom rules
  • Advise student organizations related to career fields

Career and technical education teachers use a variety of methods to help students learn and develop skills.

They teach students the theories and techniques of their field and the laws and regulations that affect that industry. They demonstrate tasks, techniques, and tools used in the field.

They also assign hands-on tasks, such as styling hair on mannequins and replacing brakes on cars, to help students develop skills. Students typically practice these tasks in laboratories in the school.

In addition, teachers use work-based experiences to help students apply what they have learned in the classroom to real-world settings. Some students use class time to work at a business that is willing to let them learn on the job; the business then provides feedback about the student’s performance to the teacher. In some schools, students run businesses that are owned by the school, such as a school store, to apply their knowledge and skills in a nonclassroom setting.

Some career and technical education teachers teach in traditional schools. These teachers may be part of a career academy, where they work closely with academic colleagues to create a career-themed school within a school. Others teach in regional career and technical education centers that serve students from many districts. Some teach in a career and technical education high school, where students are in workshops and laboratories for most of the school day.

What career and technical education teachers do depends on their particular field. The following are examples of types of career and technical education teachers:

In agricultural science, students learn a variety of subjects related to the science and business of agriculture. Classes may cover topics such as agricultural production; agriculture-related business; veterinary science; and plant, animal, and food systems. Teachers in this field may have students plant and care for crops or tend to animals to apply what they have learned in the classroom.

Career and technical education teachers in family and consumer science teach students about nutrition, culinary art, sewing, and child development. Students in these settings may run early childhood education classes with teacher supervision, manufacture and market clothing, or create menus and cook for a school function.

In health-related occupations, students learn the skills necessary to work as technicians or assistants, such as nursing or dental assistants, in health care. Teachers in this field may have students practice their skills by measuring blood pressure and administering blood sugar tests on other staff in the school. Some programs allow students to receive the certifications necessary to enter the field.

Business and marketing students learn the skills needed to run a business or make sales. They learn the basics of financial management and marketing. Career and technical education teachers in this field may guide students as they develop and establish a business. Many programs operate school-based enterprises in which students operate real businesses that are open to the public.

Career and technical education teachers in trade and industry specialize in an occupation such as in automotive technology, cosmetology, heating and air-conditioning repair, electrical wiring, or computer networking and computer repair. Teachers use laboratory work to allow students to learn through a hands-on approach.

Career and technical education teachers in technology instruct students in general education subjects, such as math and science, through the hands-on application of technology. For example, they may have students build a robot to learn about physics, computer science, and math. These programs are often a precursor to engineering degrees.

School and Career Counselors

School counselors help students develop social skills and succeed in school. Career counselors assist people with the process of making career decisions by helping them choose a career or educational program. Show Details


School counselors typically do the following:

  • Help students understand and overcome social or behavioral problems through individual and group counseling
  • Provide individual and small group counseling based on student needs
  • Work with students to develop skills such as organization, time management, and effective study habits
  • Help students set realistic academic and career goals and develop a plan to achieve them
  • Evaluate students’ abilities and interests through aptitude assessments and interviews
  • Develop strategies with teachers, administrators, and parents to help students succeed
  • Teach classes on topics such as bullying, drug abuse, and planning for college or careers after graduation
  • Identify and report possible cases of neglect or abuse
  • Refer students and parents to resources outside the school for additional support

The specific duties of school counselors vary with the ages of the students they work with.

Elementary school counselors focus on helping students develop skills they need to be successful in their social and academic lives, such as decision-making and study skills. They also help teachers and administrators identify possible behavioral or developmental problems. They observe children in the classroom and at play activities and confer with teachers and parents about children's strengths, problems, and special needs. They work with teachers and administrators to be sure the curriculum addresses the development needs of students as well as students' academic needs.

Middle school counselors work with students and parents to develop career and academic goals and to create a plan for students to achieve them. They help students develop the skills and strategies necessary to succeed academically and socially.

High school counselors advise students making academic and career plans. Many help students with personal problems that interfere with their education. They help students choose classes and plan for their lives after graduation. Counselors provide information about choosing and applying for colleges or training programs and for financial aid or apprenticeships. They help students develop job search skills, such as writing résumés and interviewing.

Career counselors typically do the following:

  • Use aptitude and achievement assessments to help clients evaluate their interests, skills, and abilities
  • Evaluate clients’ background, education, and training to help them develop realistic goals
  • Guide clients through making decisions about their careers, such as choosing a new profession or the type of degree to pursue
  • Help clients learn job search skills, such as interviewing and networking
  • Assist clients in locating or applying for jobs by teaching them strategies to find openings and how to write a résumé
  • Advise clients on how to resolve problems in the workplace, such as conflicts with bosses or coworkers
  • Help clients select and apply for educational programs to obtain the necessary degrees, credentials, or skills

Career counselors work with clients at various stages in their careers. Some work with college students to help choose a college major. They also help students determine what jobs they are qualified for with their degrees. With people who have already entered the workforce, counselors provide advice about entering a new profession or develop plans to improve their client’s current career. Some career counselors work in outplacement firms and assist laid-off workers to transition into a new job or career. Others work in corporate career centers to assist employees in making decisions about their career path within the company.

Some career counselors work in private practice. These counselors must spend time marketing their practice to prospective clients and working with clients to receive payments for their services.

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