The purposes of the Department of Occupational Studies are: to prepare leaders for public and private institutions and agencies providing employment-related education and training services; to encourage research and development, evaluation, and the creation of programs relevant to ever-changing social, political, economic, and technological challenges facing the diverse areas of occupational education; and to promote an increased understanding of the foundations of occupational education and its potential to alleviate or prevent major social ailments.
As the world of work becomes broader and more complicated, the need for trained workers with vocational skills increases. So also, the need increases for competent vocational education programs in schools throughout the country. Teaching vocational subjects has many attractions. Vocational educators have the satisfaction of pursuing the particular trade or profession that they know about and enjoy; and of sharing their knowledge and experience with others. Vocational educators provide instruction, to upgrade their skills while already working. Vocational educators also design and organize training programs, demonstrate job skills, lecture in a classroom, and evaluate individuals' progress. Many vocational educators practice the occupations they teach, usually specializing in a particular occupation, such as nursing, computer programming, automotive mechanics, or dental hygiene.
Individuals with a bachelor's and/or master's degree in vocational education from an accredited college or university usually go on to teaching or supervisory positions. To remain current in both their occupation and teaching, many vocational educators will continue taking classes or hold outside jobs.
Graduates with this major have found work as: Adult Education Teacher, Secondary School Teacher, Community College Teacher, Career Counselor, Director of Vocational Education, Vocational Training Instructor, Training Representative, Vocational Supervisor, ROP Instructor, Director of Experiential Learning Centers, Consumer Product Demonstrator/Instructor, Peace Corps Worker, Cooperative Extension Worker, and Corporate Trainer. Some of these careers require additional education or experience. Various entry-level trainee positions in business and industry are available for graduates.
Colleges and universities, correctional institutions, public/private schools, and private industry.
Authorities agree that the demand for vocational educators will exceed the supply for many years to come. The demand will be heaviest in communities where new community college and technical and vocational schools are under construction or in the planning stage.
Not to be overlooked as a factor influencing the outlook for the vocational teacher is the trend toward new scientific discoveries and new techniques which lead to development of new products. Every new device or gadget, every improvement in the structure of any piece of equipment, requires the retraining of men and women to maintain and repair the product or device.
Salary will vary by size, type of employer, geographic location, course work, and related experience. Consult the Career Development Center for current local and national salary information.