JVER v27n1 - Preparing, Licensing, and Certifying Postsecondary Career and Technical Educators

Volume 27, Number 1

Preparing, Licensing, and Certifying Postsecondary Career and Technical Educators

James E. Bartlett, II
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


The purpose of this manuscript is to synthesize the available literature on preparing postsecondary career and technical educators and disseminate potential methods to develop postsecondary career and technical educators. One concern that emerged throughout the analysis of literature was that a preponderance of the writing focused on career and technical teacher preparation at the secondary, not postsecondary, level. Another limitation, that became apparent when attempting to discover the knowledge, skill, and ability considered necessary to become a postsecondary career and technical education (CTE) teacher, was that this information is not readily available, and can be confusing within states. With these limitations, the empirical evidence to guide CTE administrators, college faculty, and policymakers on preparing, licensing, and certifying postsecondary career and technical educators is deficient. This paper presents an overview of the information that was available and presents methods that could be used-and would definitely need to be examined through a systematic research plan-to evaluate the impact on students and teachers.

Career and technical education (CTE) administrators at the postsecondary level are challenged to fill faculty vacancies with individuals who are prepared and qualified to deliver CTE instruction. Indeed, this is not a new challenge for CTE administrators. In 1985, Erekson and Barr reported that at the secondary-level, provisional certificates were being issued to relieve the shortage of occupational skills teachers. Filling these positions will continue as an increasing concern, with the escalating shortage of teachers in CTE fields ( Wright, 2001a ). With a lack of licensed teachers available to fill positions in the secondary schools, many alternative options are being pursued to qualify teachers to enter the classroom. These challenges are not only face secondary career and technical educators, but also affect other levels of education, such as community and technical colleges.

The field of CTE is faced with the charge to place qualified instructors into the postsecondary classroom. At the same time, career and technical teacher preparation programs have reported a shortage of teachers and have reduced the number of programs across the nation ( Lozada, 1999 ). In 1994, Lynch reported that colleges and universities in the United States have decreased their capacity to train teachers for the CTE field. As a consequence of the reduction of programs, Lynch stated the enrollment of students in career and technical teacher preparation programs has also declined. These factors have caused the elimination of CTE teacher preparation programs across the nation. In turn, this will have a bearing on the number of individuals who seek to pursue a degree to teach CTE at the secondary and postsecondary levels.

An examination of the Occupational Outlook Handbook (2000-01) shows the fastest growing careers are in CTE areas. Many of the fields included within the high-pay areas that have growth potential are computer support specialists, registered nurses, secondary teachers, computer programmers, police patrol officers, paralegals and legal assistants, commercial artists, and medical and health service managers. In addition, other CTE areas are experiencing high growth, including database administrators, personal care and home health care aides, medical assistants, physician assistants, data processing equipment repairers, health information technicians, physical therapy assistants and aides, and dental assistants. These forecasts, combined with the associate degree being the projected education and training in highest demand from 1998 to 2008, will cause an even greater demand for teachers at the community and technical college level ( U.S. Department of Labor, 2001 ).

Properly prepared and qualified CTE instructors are needed to educate and train students to be productive in many of the careers that are showing growth trends for the future. Faculty in CTE must have competence in the technical field, as well as the field of teaching and learning. Degree programs, many traditional in nature, are available to prepare career and technical educators to enter the classroom at the secondary level. Yet, despite these conditions, community and technical colleges are still challenged to acquire career and technical educators who are prepared. In addition, it is also a challenge for qualified community and technical college faculty in CTE to stay abreast of changes in their fields.


It is imperative, before discussing certification and preparation, to understand key terminology. Even though sometimes used interchangeably, many definitions are very different in meaning. The following provides definitions for the terms. However, I want to specifically present the concern that the terms of licensure and certification are hard to differentiate.

Accreditation . The peer review process that schools, colleges, and universities undergo to determine whether an institution or program offering teacher preparation meets or exceeds professional standards of educational quality. Engineering, law, architecture, social work, psychology-all of the preparation programs in these professions are evaluated by their respective accrediting body.

Certification . In education, certification means possessing qualifications beyond those required for a license…certification is the process by which a nongovernmental agency or association grants special professional recognition to an individual who has met certain predetermined qualifications.

Licensure . The official recognition by a state governmental agency that an individual meets state-mandated requirements and is, therefore, approved to practice as a professional in that state.

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards . An independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization has established a national, voluntary system to assess and certify teachers who meet high and rigorous standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do. ( National Teacher Recruitment Clearinghouse, 2001b , p. 1)

Licensure And Certification Procedures For Postsecondary CTE

Within the field of CTE, there is not just one universal set of procedures that are used for licensure or certification of all postsecondary teachers and it can be seen that the procedures differ widely from state to state. In some states, policies are nonexistent. In other states that have policies, the requirements are set by varied groups, including the regional accrediting agencies, local education agencies, state agencies, or a mixture of both state and local groups. Even in many of the states that have requirements, many are vague, hard to identify, and difficult to locate. With this said, it is apparent that individuals who are seeking to become postsecondary career and technical educators are challenged to identify how to enter the profession.

Some of the state and local education agencies have other standards in place for career and technical educators, instead of licensure and certification. These standards are the skills that career and technical educators should possess. However, in some instances, these standards are optional, and in other instances they exist but are not strictly enforced. While most secondary career and technical educators must complete a teacher licensure program and are then awarded a license to teach from the state, most postsecondary career and technical educators are not required to do so. In addition, there is an opportunity for the secondary career and technical educator to complete an optional national non-university certification administered by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (2001) . This certification organization has identified standards for career and technical educators' knowledge of teaching and learning. This type of certification helps ensure that a teacher has teaching and learning skills considered necessary to be a master teacher.

Teaching/learning and technical knowledge areas for CTE . From reviewing the literature in CTE, it is apparent that career and technical educators must be experts in the technical competence and the area of teaching and learning. Since postsecondary career and technical educators work with students that range from high school age to adults, they need to be experienced in both pedagogy and andragogy. Knowles, Holton, and Swanson (1998) differentiated andragogy and pedagogy by stating "the concept of an integrated framework of adult learning for which the label andragogy had been coined to differentiate it from the theory of youth learning, pedagogy" (p. 58). In addition to the knowledge of learning theories, teachers should have the ability to development of curriculum and instruction, delivery instruction, assess students, and evaluate programs. When preparing postsecondary CTE community and technical college faculty, it is critical these elements are addressed.

To implement an approach that uses various methods to prepare, license, and certify career and technical educators, it is important for the CTE field to use standards to measure the desired educational outcomes for those individuals. These standards need to be developed for both the technical and teaching and learning areas. The technical area standards can be developed within each profession in the career clusters areas. Currently, the National Skill Standards Board (2001) is in the process of developing skill standards for many of the CTE career cluster areas. The teaching and learning standards can be developed across all areas of CTE and use a process similar to the National Skill Standards. The standards can be used to help assess whether CTE faculty have met certain competencies and that they are qualified and prepared to teach.

Variety of entry levels into postsecondary CTE . One problematic issue when discussing the preparation, licensure, and certification of postsecondary career and technical educators is the varying entry points and educational levels of the entrants into the profession. The National Teacher Recruitment Clearinghouse (2001b) reported teachers make career decisions to enter the profession when they were in middle school, high school, during their college years, or even later. Many individuals that enter the field of postsecondary CTE are making mid-point career changes, and some even enter the field after retiring from their careers ( National Teacher Recruitment Clearinghouse, 2001a ). Fugate and Amey (2000) reported career paths for the community college faculty member as primarily non-traditional. Similar to this, Furniss (1981) stated that few community college faculty entered college to pursue a career as a community college faculty member. Furthermore, it is important to understand factors that draw individuals to become a community college faculty member. Fugate and Amey stated the factors as (a) the tenure process at a 4-year institution could be avoided, (b) the community college matched their career desire to teach, (c) a terminal degree was not needed, and (d) many of the faculty members had attended community colleges. Consequently, individuals enter positions as community college faculty for multiple reasons and with a variety of education levels-ranging from a high school diploma to a terminal degree. The rationale for developing several methods to prepare and certify career and technical educators is due to the variety of entry backgrounds.

With such a variety of entry points, a flexible plan is needed that will still enable community and technical colleges to fill vacancies with the best individuals. It would seem reasonable for these individuals to have, at minimum, a baccalaureate degree similar to that of most secondary career and technical educators. However, some individuals with exceptional work experiences could be an asset to students, and may not need to meet this requirement.

Another factor, such as accrediting agencies requirements, may also relate to the entry-level requirements of the CTE teachers. Further research is needed to examine the educational level of postsecondary CTE faculty and the impact of educational level on student achievement. These findings could o suggest changes in policies relating to the educational levels required of the CTE instructors.

Past and current practices for certifying postsecondary CTE. There is a dearth of literature on postsecondary CTE preparation, licensing, and certification due to the lack of licensing and certification at the postsecondary level, in general. Some states have reported having standards or certification for postsecondary CTE in place; however the guidelines are neither readily available nor standardized for use in other states. In some instances, these practices varied from one local agency to another within a state. In California, for example, the standards were different at the local levels.

I only found one national study that explored the certification of teachers in community colleges. The State Board of Directors conducted this national study for the Community Colleges of Arizona (1994b) . They surveyed all of state community college directors and reported having a 74% ( n =37) return rate. Of the responding states, a majority (78.4%, n =29) did not have certification requirements for postsecondary career and technical educators; 10.8% ( n =4) reported having state certification, 8.1% ( n =3) reported having a local certification, and 2.7% ( n =1) reported having another type of certification procedure, which was not specified. When I contacted, the organization was unable to produce a list of states that had certification.

In the same study, community and technical colleges were asked if they had standards in place for career and technical educators. Almost half of the respondents (45.9%, n =17) had no set standards for career and technical educators. Twenty (54.1%) respondents reported having set standards. Thirteen (35.1%) of all respondents indicated that standards are set at the state level, while 8.1% ( n =3) indicated that standards were set at the local level. Two respondents (5.4%) reported having standards set at both state and local levels. In addition to this, 2.7% ( n =1) reported that the state standards were optional and 2.7% ( n =1) reported having standards that were set by other means, although not specified.

From these findings it can be seen that a majority of career and technical educators at the postsecondary level do not have certification. Also, it is evident that a large percentage of the postsecondary administrators do not have set standards to follow when filling vacant positions. These past practices can be seen as minimal, at best.

The current procedures for licensing career and technical educators vary greatly. In some states, the same procedures are required for all community and technical college teachers to enter the classroom. In other states, these procedures are for individuals only in the CTE areas. In Louisiana and Arkansas, postsecondary faculty members in some CTE areas are required to complete an occupational competency test or hold occupational credentials. Examples of occupational credentials are Airframe and Powerplant certification from the Federal Aviation Administration, Certified Systems Engineer from Microsoft Corporation, and the American Welding Society certification. The picture that forms when examining these procedures is unclear and inconsistent. The procedures that an individual would need to follow to make a transition from the workforce to the classroom are not easy to locate, identify, and interpret. With inconsistencies from state to state, and even within states, transition into teaching in a postsecondary career and technical education area is a concern.

Examples of state policies and procedures . The following are examples of requirements for licensure in states that have set policies and procedures for postsecondary CTE faculty. These examples are from states that have the most detailed information available. Arizona and Iowa require licensure of all community college teachers in both career-technical and arts and science areas.

Iowa requires that all community college teachers in the career and technical areas have 3 years or 6,000 hours of work experience in the technical area. In addition to work experience, new teachers must complete a new teacher workshop-within the first year of, and preferably before, teaching. The teachers are then required to take a course in curriculum development, instructional methods, measurement and evaluation of programs and students, foundations of vocational education, and an Iowa-approved course on interpersonal relations and are given 5 years to meet these requirements Gary Borlaug, personal communications, August, 20, 2001. Arizona has different requirements for the licensure of career and technical educators, depending on the educational level of the instructor. A complete table of the requirements for occupational teaching fields is available from the State Board of Directors for Community Colleges of Arizona ( State Board of Directors for Community Colleges of Arizona, 2001a) .

Minnesota offers licensure for career and technical educators who are affiliated with schools in the Minnesota State College and University System. The minimum qualifications are specific to each field, but may include educational, occupational, professional, and other requirements. The requirements for full- and part-time faculty may be different. Career and technical educators must complete a Teacher Education Series (TES) core, including courses on the introduction to vocational education, student and trainee evaluation systems (vocational tests and measurements), course development (course construction), instructional methods (methods of teaching vocational subjects), and the philosophy and practice of vocational education. For the initial licensure, the individual must complete an introductory course on vocational education, whereas an applicant with an education degree is exempt from that initial requirement. Instructors have a time frame of 5 years to complete the other required courses. Two thousand hours of paid work experience during the previous 5 years, outside of teaching, is needed. Teaching experience, in the previous 5 years, in a postsecondary field may be substituted for up to 1,500 hours of work experience at the ratio of 2 hours' teaching experience for 1 hour of work. Some additional alternatives or substitutions are allowable for the work experience, including self- or family-employment, military experience, directed occupational experience, pre-approved internships, and competency-based exams. License renewal requirements involve a local renewal committee and procedure. Currently, an emergency license and new program license are also offered ( Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, 2001 ).

Other states have certification for specific CTE areas. For example, in Louisiana and Arkansas, postsecondary CTE faculty members are required to pass a National Occupational Competency Test. This test covers only occupational, not teaching, competency ( National Occupational Competency Testing Institute, 2001 ). The assessments from this organization are used for teachers, business/industry professionals, and students, to certify competency in a specific field.

Regional and other accrediting agencies . The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) regional accrediting agencies has standards that institutions must meet to become and remain accredited ( Council for Higher Education Accreditation, 2001 ). In each of the regions, various standards are identified for faculty. It should be noted that many of the documents obtained from the regional agencies were not discussed in quantitative terms and appear open to qualitative interpretation. Standards for CTE faculty are not easily quantifiable or measurable in regard to the specific qualifications that faculty must meet for many of the agencies. The Middle States Association standards indicate that faculty should be academically prepared and qualified. The North Central Association standards identify that faculty should possess educational credentials that testify to appropriate preparation for the courses they are teaching. The Northwest Association states that faculty should be professionally qualified. The Western Association has a separate accrediting agency for community and junior colleges. This agency states that an institution must have a sufficient number of faculty members who are qualified by appropriate education, training, and experience to support its programs and, in all cases, these standards are not easy to interpret and appear to provide the institution with much flexibility ( Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, 2001 ; North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, 2001 ; Northwest Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities, 2001 ; Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 2001 ).

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools criteria were more quantifiable-the highest degree for the CTE instructor must be from a regionally accredited school, or the institution must provide evidence of academic preparation. The faculty member must be proficient in oral and written communication for the language in which the course is being taught. For courses that are identified as transferable, the faculty member must have 18 credit hours in the discipline and hold a master's degree, or hold a master's degree in the discipline. For courses that are not transferable, the minimum requirement is a degree at the same level being taught, plus work experience. For individuals with outstanding professional experience, this can be waived. For non-degree programs or certification programs, the faculty member must have competency in the subject, and this can be gained from work experience. While these standards for non-degree and certification programs may vary, requirements are defined by each institution. For individuals teaching basic computation or communication skills in non-degree or certification programs, a baccalaureate degree and, ideally, work experience related to the occupation are required ( Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, 2001 ). The New England Association of Schools and Colleges has the same qualitative criteria as many of the other regional agencies and, additionally, it has quantifiable criteria. The minimum academic credential is a degree one level above the level being taught. A master's degree is the minimum qualification for general education courses being taught at an upper level or 2+2 program (grades 13-14 + 15-16). This regional accrediting agency also allows substitutions for the minimal criteria, such as scholarship, advanced study, creative activities, relevant professional experience, training, or other credentials such as licensure or professional registration ( New England Association of Schools and Colleges, 2001 ).

Another agency that postsecondary programs need to take into account when considering accreditation concerns is the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). NCATE standards require that faculty model best professional practices in scholarship, service, and teaching, including the assessment of their own effectiveness. In addition, the unit in which certification is taking place must systematically evaluate faculty performance and faculty professional development. These standards are of special importance when the community or technical college begins to participate in teacher preparation ( National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, 2001 ). It can be seen from the current practices of the regional accrediting agencies that the standards can be vague and difficult to measure. In addition, many of the agencies provide alternative methods for institutions to allow faculty who do not meet the required teaching standards.

Best practices for the certification and licensing of postsecondary career and technical educators . Without further empirical evidence, it is difficult to identify the practices that are best for the preparing, licensing, and certifying of postsecondary CTE faculty. Further study is needed to determine if the practices of the current programs are having an impact on student outcomes such as learning and economical benefits. What can be determined from the limited availability of current practices are the following three similarities in policies and procedures where certification and licensure take place:

  • The policies and procedures are flexible due to the varied levels of education and experience postsecondary educators have upon entry into the field.
  • The policies and procedures include an educational component that helps develop skills in the area of teaching and learning.
  • The polices and procedures include a technical-content component that ensures individuals have the technical knowledge to teach in the specific licensed area.
Multiple Paths For Preparing, Licensing, And Certifying Postsecondary CTE

When considering the pathways in Figure 1, one must consider that postsecondary career and technical educators will have varying levels of expertise when entering the field. The figure shows individuals entering the field from either a "Technical Skills" or Teaching/Learning" background. Flexibility is required when developing students from diverse backgrounds. The specific pathway for preparing, licensing, and certifying a postsecondary career and technical educator is not as important as the desired knowledge, skills, and abilities the future faculty member should obtain. As can be seen in Figure 1, these multiple preparation methods toward becoming a career and technical educator do not suggest a specific ending point, as learning should continue throughout the CTE professional's lifetime. A desired outcome can be met by the postsecondary students in both technical content and teaching and learning in a variety of forms. The illustrated pathways and methods for learning take these ideas into consideration and integrate them into the development of postsecondary CTE faculty.

FIGURE 1 . Multiple paths for becoming a postsecondary career and technical educator.

A limitation of using multiple flexible methods in developing CTE faculty is that specific standards for the CTE career clusters and specific programs need to be integrated into the assessment of the faculty. To assess faculty knowledge within the technical content areas, standards, such as those of the National Skills Standards Board (NSSB) or other national skills standards for content areas, must be used in the evaluation ( National Skills Standards Board, 2001 ). The same development of standards is needed for the teaching and learning competencies for the postsecondary career and technical educators. Another standards resource is a book entitled "Skill Standards for Professional-Technical College Instructors and Customized Trainers" ( Goldstein & Navone, n.d. ) was developed by master community-college teachers and outlines skills, technical knowledge, and performance criteria for career and technical instructors.

Methods for preparing the postsecondary career and technical educator . This section provides an overview of methods that can be used to prepare, license, and certify postsecondary career and technical educators. As in many fields of education, individuals may decide to enter the postsecondary CTE field at numerous stages-pre-college, during college, after obtaining an associate's, bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree, or after working in the CTE field. Individuals with such a wide range of backgrounds will possess a wide range of credentials-ranging from no degree to a terminal degree. These pathways provide methods for all of these individuals to develop technical content and teaching and learning content to become prepared, licensed, and certified to teach in a postsecondary career and technical program. At this time, empirical evidence has not been provided to support which of these points of entry is most desirable, or if a minimum level of education should be met before teaching in the postsecondary CTE classroom. With this said, the current pathways do not set or even suggest limitations to education prior to entry-enabling individuals with varied backgrounds the option of becoming CTE faculty.

Skill base needed for CTE postsecondary faculty . In the areas of teaching and learning and technical content, standards are needed to assess postsecondary instructors. The standards in teaching and learning can be similar for all CTE areas. For example, Lozada (1999, p. 12) reported that "all of Virginia Tech's career and technical teacher education students take their core classes together (such as those that focus on teaching pedagogy)." The technical content standards, however, will be different for each career cluster, and more specifically, for each area within clusters. The NSSB has developed national standards for many of the CTE areas ( National Skills Standards Board, 2001 ). In addition, the NSSB and the National Centers for Career and Technical Education both serve as repositories for standards for the career cluster areas. For example, the repository provided direction to the National Business Education Association, toward locating standards for business education teachers ( National Business Education Association, 2001 ).

No single, specific course, sequence, or method prepares an individual to be an extraordinary teacher upon entering the classroom. If this were the case, everyone would use the same prescribed methods to prepare all teachers for a high level of excellence. To meet the objectives of developing knowledge of teaching and learning, a postsecondary instructor can use many diverse methods. What appears to be consistent in many teacher preparation programs is that the basic content includes developing curriculum, planning instruction, delivering instruction (teaching and learning styles), assessing students, and evaluating programs ( Iowa Department of Education, 2001 ; Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, 2001 ; State Board of Directors of Community Colleges of Arizona, 1994a ). These are typically interwoven throughout the traditional courses, and then integrated within the field experiences. This means most postsecondary CTE faculty without formal teacher preparation do not have a chance to develop professionally in these areas. The pathways to develop competencies do not need to be rigid, so long as it can be shown that the standards are met.

Traditional courses . Offering traditional courses is one approach for students to gain knowledge in the teaching and learning area. However, to address the need for flexibility, it is important to think about the options outside of the traditional 4-year university setting. Community and technical colleges already have courses available under the broad scope of teaching and learning. Even though it does not appear to be traditional now, historically, the junior colleges served the needs of preservice teachers ( Gerdeman, 2001 ). For example, in Arizona, community college instructors are required to take a course on community college teaching and learning that is offered through the community college system ( State Board of Directors for Community Colleges of Arizona, 1994a ). Another example is in Allen, Texas, where Collin County Community College offered one of the first technology education teacher certification programs for teachers at the community-college level ( Collin County Community College, 2001 ; Texas Education Agency, 2000 ). These and other teacher preparation programs are continuously evolving in the community colleges, as they step forward in the role of preparing technical schoolteachers.

Providing traditional undergraduate and graduate courses is a method that career and technical educators may gain experience do develop technical skill. These courses can be delivered from a 4-year institution, technical college, or community college. However, it is expensive for institutions to maintain labs and equipment for CTE. In addition to this, as Lynch (1994) stated, many career and technical programs are being reduced. With this stated, it seems reasonable to suggest future partnerships that will enable postsecondary faculty and preservice secondary teachers to receive technical content from the technical and community colleges that are also preparing individuals for the technical workplace.

Distance courses . E-learning, using web-based technology, and using the capability of computer networks can provide many opportunities for students to learn. It is important that online education not be viewed as lesser alternative, but as an equally valued addition for gaining knowledge about teaching and learning. On-line courses should be more than a replacement for the correspondence course. On-line courses should engage students and require active participation. This type of course delivery benefits postsecondary faculty by providing an opportunity to take a course using a delivery method that may be required to be used in their own classroom teaching. An example of a program that does this is the Community College Teaching and Learning (CCTL) Online curriculum at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. CCTL is designed to increase the teaching effectiveness of community college faculty and build the instructional leadership of supervisory personnel ( University of Illinois, 2001 ). Courses using Internet technologies and other distance delivery methods are viable methods for students to receive skills in the technical content area. On-line courses are available from universities in many career and technical areas. With recent developments like the use of remote labs that present simulations over the Internet ( Alhalabi, Hamza, & Marcovitz, 2001 ), the use of broadband technologies that allow for synchronous communications, and the increasing availability of technology, barriers to distance learning are being removed.

Mentorships . A mentorship is another method that enables students to develop competencies in teaching and learning. Harnish and Wild (1994) state that mentors can impact teaching and professional growth of both new and veteran faculty. A mentor can help an individual see how the local school culture can mesh with their knowledge of teaching and learning. A mentor could also serve in the role of providing quality feedback for the teacher when discussing curriculum development, lesson planning, and assessment techniques. With developed partnerships, the mentorship could include observation and feedback on teaching for both the new teacher and master teacher. The mentorship could also provide the new teacher with a chance to reflect on their own practices. If structured correctly, the mentorship could be completed in conjunction with an educational institution for credits towards licensure and certification.

Professional development activities . Career and technical educators must continue to learn, just like all professionals, once they exit the classroom. Anglin and Mooradian (1992) reported that community colleges institutional and individual certification renewal could be met with professional development programs. One method for learning is to participate in teacher professional development activities. Career and technical organizations at the local, state, regional, national, and international level offer opportunities throughout the year to participate in activities designed to develop teaching and learning skills. Teachers working on preparation, licensure, and certification could attend these training sessions as a method to gain knowledge in the area of teaching and learning. After attending this type of professional development session, reflections could be conducted to provide documentation of the learning that has taken place. In addition to the learning, these types of activities require the preservice or new postsecondary instructor to model an informal method of learning that can be used for lifelong learning in their profession.

In many of the CTE areas, professional development seminars are offered to provide technical skills. These sessions could be of varied length and difficulty. Many of these seminars lead to industry certifications. These activities can be documented through the individual's professional portfolio. Many of these professional development activities could allow time and resources for faculty to work on credentialing.

Student teaching, teacher internships, and induction . Student teaching is the traditional manner in which new secondary CTE teachers acquire practical teaching experience. This type of methodology could also be used for postsecondary faculty. Another applied method for postsecondary faculty may be teaching in an internship. With traditional student teaching, the preservice teacher would be able to practice the skills of teaching with the benefit of having a supervisor. The internship would not have to take a specific form for the postsecondary faculty. The internship could be taken for college credit and could be a paid position, but does not have to do either. What is important is that the process is conducted in a manner to encourage learning and is thoroughly documented. It is important to look outside the traditional form that student teaching and teacher internships have taken in the past and explore new models to help prepare, license, and certify the postsecondary career and technical educators.

A new teacher induction process is another option to provide training to the new faculty. VanAst (1992) reported this type of experience for new vocational educators lacking education backgrounds. This type of program could provide the new teachers with opportunities to earn credit towards their initial licensure. Talbert (1992) reported that induction could incorporate a mentoring perspective that requires a substantial time and resource commitment. In addition, the induction experiences are unique, and this requires a need to be general and flexible. For example, the experience and needs of traditionally and alternative certified teachers may be different.

Work experience . Work experience is the way many postsecondary career and technical educators receive technical content expertise. This experience should be valued and used to show competence in the technical area in which they will be teaching. This work experience can be documented through the creation of a portfolio, showing specific projects or tasks completed on the job. Work experience does not always have to take the form of a traditional full-time position. Teachers could take part in industry internships to gain work experience. These internships could be paid or unpaid, and would provide the teacher with practical workplace experience. This type of experience would help teachers relate place topics into the context of the workplace for their classroom students. Teaching and learning skills may be gained through practical work experience. For example, an individual in a manufacturing setting could have practical work experience as a trainer. In many cases, individuals who have worked in a trainer role already have knowledge in the areas of teaching and learning. Numerous aspects of human resource development (HRD) parallel the teaching and learning skills a career and technical educator would use in the classroom. If these experiences are documented, an individual could be assessed to show that person meets certain standards.

Industry internships . Internships would be one method to provide practical work experience in the technical content area for postsecondary teachers. The internship could count as a substitute for work experience requirements. An industry internship would be another method to develop instructional skills. Completing an internship in an organization that requires the use of teaching and learning competencies would help the postsecondary career and technical educator develop this skill. Working in the role of a trainer, or in some other aspect of HRD, would provide an opportunity to develop skills that could be transferred to the classroom. This type of partnership could provide insights for a CTE faculty member that would be beneficial to both the business and the community college.

Continuous Learning For Postsecondary Career And Technical Educators

Once an individual is initially licensed to teach, learning should not stop. Sydow (2000) reported on the rewards in teaching and learning for community college faculty after the investment in professional development. Career and technical educators need to stay current in their field to ensure their programs are meeting the needs of students and business and industry. Changes within technology and instructional delivery methods are both occurring on a rapid basis. The postsecondary teacher should continue their own professional development, as shown in the following examples. Continual learning can occur from the same methods as initial training, but be used to further develop and update skills of the career and technical educator. The same methods could be used for advanced development of skills and to ensure teachers are up-to-date in both the technical and teaching and learning areas.

Continual learning and ties to career promotion . In higher education, the faculty member role is traditionally research, teaching, and service. However, at the community and technical college level, the roles of teaching and service are stressed. Palmer (1998) suggested that individuals who strive to reach the highest ranks, such as full professor, seek specialized pedagogical training designed for faculty members. Another method for continuously updating community college faculty would be to have them participate in a rigorous, non-university-based certificate process that would provide more visibility and bring recognition to community college instructors. The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards has a similar program available for secondary career and technical educators ( Zehr, 1999 ). Available research shows that professional development in community colleges benefits both the institution and individuals ( Sydow, 2000 ). With this in mind, it would benefit the institution to support professional development and continuous learning. Rifkin (1995) stated that there is a need for constant evaluation that encourages professional development.

Benefits of comprehensive teaching and learning competencies for postsecondary career and technical educators . Another concern is the expense of providing career and technical preparation programs for all individual career cluster areas. Wright (2001b) has stated that having secondary CTE students learning together helps promote collaboration and saves money. These same collaboration practices-integrating one comprehensive set of teaching and learning competencies for all CTE areas-would help ensure the future of career and technical teacher preparation programs. At the same time, students could develop skills in technical content areas in the same courses that are preparing individuals for the workplace. For example, if a local community college has a program for teaching a high-tech skill area, the student could learn that competency there, and also take the courses on teaching and learning at the 4-year institution that may be offering the comprehensive teacher preparation program.

Benefits of national certification of postsecondary career and technical educators . The development of a national certification program could bring higher acknowledgment to the field of postsecondary teacher education as a profession. Currently, no national certification program for postsecondary career and technical educators exists. This type of program would not need to be mandatory; however, such a program would provide postsecondary teachers with recognition for obtaining a certain level of excellence in their profession. Teachers seeking such certification could demonstrate their competence through the development of a professional portfolio, and retain certification by continually updating their skills in both the areas of teaching and learning and their specialized content area. An organization such as the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, which supports the national certification of K-12 teachers, could be responsible for this program.

These teachers could then serve as mentors in the preparation of other teachers in the community and technical colleges. This type of certification would help states show that the postsecondary career and technical teachers achieve at least a minimum level of competence-as can be demonstrated in many other professions. A national certificate would aid in the development of articulation programs, because all teachers with the certificate would be competent at this specific level. This type of certification could also aid teachers in their mobility and serve as a third-party endorsement for promotion reviews.

Call For Research To Examine Postsecondary CTE Preparation, Licensures, And Certification

The major finding of this research has been the lack of available knowledge, consistency, and organization of the requirements in this country for an individual to become a postsecondary career and technical educator. Additional research is needed to describe what all 50 states are doing in the recruitment, preparation, licensure, and certification of postsecondary career and technical educators. Once these policies and processes are described, the research should be taken a step further, to describe specific programs and practices. Research should be undertaken to examine the impact of the licensure and certification requirements on programs and practices to help build a base of research for programmatic changes. For example, a study could determine relationships between preparation and license requirements and student achievement. Another study could look at preparation and license requirements in relation to quality of instruction.

If preparation, licensures, and certification are negatively impacting student achievement, then obviously new policies need to be recommended. However, with such a diversity of policies among the states, an insufficient research base exists for measuring impact, let alone for making any recommendations.

At this time, it is also important to examine the competencies an individual needs to possess in order to be a successful postsecondary career and technical educator. This examination can develop a common set of standards for the teaching and learning area and subject-specific requirements for the career cluster areas. This type of research could determine which courses are required, and which are priorities. For instance, a course in educational technology might very useful, but not currently required in some states. In addition, research could be conducted to examine the content and impact of new teacher preparation programs.

Since many states have a variety of entry levels, it seems important to assess if minimum entrance skills are needed for successful postsecondary career and technical educators. If tied to impact on student achievement, this research could provide support for policy improvements. Of course, until research is done to evaluate the practices, it is impossible to make policy recommendations. The suggested approaches need to be piloted and evaluated before implications to policy can occur. Another concept described in this paper was the virtual learning environment. Its impact on the licensures, and certification, and preparation of the career and technical educators also needs to be piloted and evaluated.

Examining variables such as job satisfaction and retention rates of instructors in community and technical college faculty who have not received preparation in teaching and learning vs. those who have been prepared in a formal program would be very valuable to administrators and policymakers. Similarly, it would be useful to examine the same types of variables for certified, vs. non-certified, postsecondary career and technical educators. This could help address the current and growing shortage of teachers.

Implications For Postsecondary CTE

One implication for postsecondary CTE is that if nothing is done, the current disparate practices will continue to place barriers before those individuals who would like to be postsecondary career and technical educators. At minimum, a description of the requirements and how to become a postsecondary career and technical educator in all states is needed. Another implication for postsecondary CTE faculty and those who determine teacher preparation policies and content is to look at the numerous pathways that bring potential CTE teachers to the field, and design comprehensive assessment tools to determine their preparation needs, and provide flexible programs to satisfy those needs. It is essential for qualified postsecondary CTE faculty to be in the classroom in order to transfer career and technical skills to students. The individuals who want to become postsecondary CTE faculty must understand that traditional preparation is not the only method that can be used to prepare individuals to enter the field, and that entrance into the field is happening at a variety of educational levels. Many different paths can be available to become a postsecondary teacher and the requirements differ greatly.

Call For Action

Many current practices such as the recruiting, preparation, certification, and licensure of the postsecondary career and technical educator are not supported by empirical evidence. It is critical that researchers examine these areas to develop evidence-based data. Studies must be conducted to support programmatic improvements and positively impact policy in the community and technical colleges. These examples can be piloted with postsecondary teachers on a voluntary basis, in a variety of states, and selected locations, to evaluate impact on students and teachers.


Alhalabi, B., Hamza, M., & Markovitz, D. (2001) . Innovative distance education technologies: Remote labs in science and engineering education. Journal of Online Learning , (12)1. Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/sigtel/bulletin/12/1/alhalabi. html

Anglin, L., & Mooradian, P. (1992) . Institutional renewal through professional development partnerships. Community College Review , 19(4), 52-57.

Collin County Community College. (2001) . Technology education teacher certification program,Collin County Community College [Electronic version]. Retrieved from http://www.tea.state.tx.us/Catte/teachcert.htm

Council for Higher Education Accreditation. (2001) . Directory of regional accrediting organizations [Electronic version]. Retrieved from http://www.chea.org/ Directories/regional

Fugate, A., & Amey, M. (2000) . Career stages of community college faculty: A qualitative analysis of their career paths, roles, and department. Community College Review , 28(1), 1-23.

Furniss, S. W. (1981) . Reshaping faculty careers . Washington, DC: American Council on Education.

Gerdeman, R. (2001) . ERIC review: The role of the community college in training tomorrow's school teachers. Community College Review , 28(4), 62-77.

Goldstein, N., & Navone, S. (n.d.) . Skill standards for professional-technical college iInstructors and customized trainers . Des Moines, WA: Center for Learning Connections, Highline Community College. Retrieved from http://www.waskills. com/PDFs/PTCI-CT_SS.pdf

Harnish, D., & Wild, L. (1994) . Mentoring strategies for faculty development. Studies in Higher Education , 19(2), 191-202.

Iowa Department of Education. (2001) . Community college license requirements [Electronic version]. Retrieved from http://www.state.ia.us/educate/programs/boee/ ccreq.html

Knowles, M., Holton, E., & Swanson, R. (1998) . The adult learner: A definitive classic in adult education and human resource development (5th ed.). Houston, TX: Gulf.

Lozada, M. (1999) . Learning survival skills together. Techniques , 74(5), 12-15, 64.

Lynch, R. (1994, April 8) . In search of vocational education . Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 371 221)

Middle States Commission on Higher Education. (2001). Characteristics of excellence: Standards for accreditation [Draft]. Philadelphia: Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Higher Education.

Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. (2001) . MSA - frequently asked questions . Retrieved from http://www.msache.org/ques5.html

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. (2000, July) . MnSCU licensure guidelines [Electronic version]. Retrieved from http://www.licensure.mnscu.edu/Guidelines/ guidelines.html

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. (2001) . NBPTS-about us . Retrieved from http://www.nbpts.org

National Business Education Association. (2001) . Web-based business education methods course . Retrieved from http://www.nbea.org/curriculum/methods.html

National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. (2001) . NCATE standards [Electronic version]. Retrieved from http://www.ncate.org/standards/m_stds.htm

National Occupational Competency Testing Institute. (2001) . National occupational competency testing [Electronic version]. Retrieved from www.nocti.org

National Skills Standards Board. (2001) . The NSSB: A brief description [Electronic version]. Retrieved from http://www.nssb.org

National Teacher Recruitment Clearinghouse. (2001a) . How to become a teacher: Precollegiate programs [Electronic version]. Retrieved from http://www. recrutingteachers.com/become/precoll.html

National Teacher Recruitment Clearinghouse. (2001b) . How to become a teacher: Terminology [Electronic version]. Retrieved from http://www.recrutingteachers.com/become/terminology.html

New England Association of Schools and Colleges. (2001) . Eligibility requirements: Institutions of higher education at the technical or career level [Electronic version]. Commission on Technical and Careers Institutions. Retrieved from http:// www.neasc.org/ctci/ctcielig.htm

North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. (2001) . An overview of the accreditation: The criteria for accreditation . Retrieved from http://www. ncahigherlearningcommission.org/overview/ovcriteria.html .

Northwest Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities. (2001) . Standard four - faculty . Retrieved from http://www.cocnasc.org/policyprocedure/standards/ standards4.html

Palmer, J. (1998) . Enhancing faculty productivity: A state perspective [Policy paper]. The Center for Community College Policy. Retrieved from http://www. communitycollegepolicy.org/pdf/2265_IP_factprod.pdf (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 439 764)

Rifkin, T. (1995) . ERIC review: Faculty evaluation in community colleges. Community College Review , 23(1), 63-73.

Shaughnessy, M. (1994). Peer review of teaching . U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 371 689)

Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. (2001) . Criteria for accreditation [Electronic version]. Retrieved from http://www.sacscoc.org/criteria.asp

State Board of Directors of Community Colleges of Arizona. (1997) . Board briefs, state board of directors for Arizona community colleges . Phoenix: Author. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 405 196)

State Board of Directors of Community Colleges of Arizona. (1994a) . Teacher certification guidelines [Electronic version]. Retrieved from http://www.stbd.cc.az.us/certguid.htm

State Board of Directors of Community Colleges of Arizona. (1994b) . Report of certification study committee . Phoenix: Author. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 374 877)

Sydow, D. (2000) . Long-term investment in professional development: Real dividends in teaching and learning. Community College Journal of Research & Practice , 24(5), 383-398.

Talbert, A. (1992) . A review and synthesis of the literature on teacher induction: The vocational education perspective. Journal of Industrial Teacher Education , 29(2), 35-50.

Texas Education Agency. (2000, August) . Technology education teacher certification program Collin County Community College [Electronic version]. Retrieved from http://www.tea.state.tx.us/Cate/teachercert.htm

U.S. Department of Labor. (2001) . Occupational outlook handbook 2000-01 [Electronic version]. Retrieved from http://stats.bls.gov/oco/images/dcot/co4.gif

University of Illinois. (2001) . Community college teaching and learning [Online program]. Retrieved from http://www.hre.uiuc.edu/online/cctl.htm

Van Ast, J. (1992, December) . Induction experiences and needs for preparing vo-tec instructors without teacher education backgrounds . Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Vocational Association, St. Louis, MO. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 354 334)

Western Association of Schools and Colleges. (2001) . Standards for accreditation [Electronic version]. Retrieved from http//www.accjc.org/Standard.htm

Wright, S. (2001a) . Setting the standards… for career and technical. Techniques , 76(5), 22-23.

Wright, S. (2001b) . The alternative route to certification. Techniques , 76(5), 24-27.

Zehr, M. A. (1999, January 13) . National certification process planned for vocational education teachers . Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/ew/vol-18/18voc.h18

JAMES E. BARTLETT, II is Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Resource Education, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 351 Education Building, 1310 South Sixth Street, Champaign, IL 61820. e-mail: e-jbartii@uiuc.edu