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How Do I Become a Vocational Instructor?

Amy Rodriguez
Amy Rodriguez

Earning a bachelor's degree or gaining certification in a particular field are two main routes to become a vocational instructor. Along with education, you should have some hands-on experience, such as through an internship. Supplemental courses in speech and educational techniques are also helpful to become a vocational instructor.

Vocational instructors teach skilled trades, like automotive repair. To teach effectively, many employers require a bachelor's degree in the field being taught; this four year degree will give you the information needed to mold your own students into successful workers; you must have a thorough understanding of the trade to effectively convey the information to others. A successful educator will have a well-rounded educational background to answer and examine all aspects of the trade.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

It is possible to become a vocational instructor through gaining a certificate in a chosen trade. Certification is normally achieved through a two year program at a trade school or community college. After receiving the certificate, most aspiring vocational instructors begin working in their chosen trade; this experience will help them understand the skills at a deeper level for future teaching positions.

The hands-on experience can also be achieved through the four year college degree program in the form of an internship. Most schools require an internship rotation to enhance the learning process before graduation to become a vocational instructor. Local businesses may allow you to practice the newly acquired skills in a real life environment; most interns have a mentor that guides them during the work hours. As a result, you will have a unique experience that you can teach your own students after you become a vocational instructor.

A successful teacher should not only know the skills being taught, but he or she must be a good communicator. You should take supplementary courses in speech and educational techniques to enhance your teaching abilities. Each student learns at a different pace and with varying teaching styles; you must be flexible and patient to work with all students so they can absorb the information correctly and comfortably.

Each state within the United States has different licensing regulations for vocational instructors; you should consult your state's laws for any license requirements. If licensing is required, most schools will offer preparation courses for the exam. Preparation classes should cover exam format and specific topics to be studied. Some courses also offer practice exams to ease students' nerves and to provide them with some experience taking the test.

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