Pros and Cons of Becoming a Computer Teacher
A computer teacher is responsible for the teaching and training of computer-related concepts to students, usually in middle school or high school; however, they may also work for elementary schools or for community and junior colleges. Most of these classes are taught in a laboratory setting where students can practice and understand basic computing concepts through hands-on practice.
|Pros of Becoming a Computer Teacher|
|Most teachers of grades K-12 have a traditional 2-month summer break*|
|With proper licensure, opportunities to teach exist in every state*|
|Advancement opportunities for teachers with skills and proven skills are available*|
|More employment opportunities are available in southern states, where population growth is higher*|
|Cons of Becoming a Computer Teacher|
|Close to average job growth (9%) is expected between the years of 2012 and 2022 for this field as a whole, but lower than average growth expected for elementary and middle school teachers (5%) *|
|Computer teachers are often required to work over 40 hours per week in preparing lessons and coursework*|
|Most positions require a bachelor's degree and an appropriate teaching license*|
|These teachers must be able to handle potentially unruly or disruptive students or classes**|
Source: *The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*Net Online.
Computer Teacher Essential Career Information
Job Duties and Responsibilities of a Computer Teacher
It is a computer teacher's job to teach students applied technology skills. A computer teacher may assign students technology-driven work in subjects such as reading, math or science, so they must also have the necessary expertise to give meaningful instruction in these topics. Like teachers of traditional subjects, computer teachers must prepare assignments, course curriculum, learning goals, tests and other assessments to measure student performance.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment outlook for computer teachers is expected to grow close to the national average (9%) for all other jobs in the United States from 2012 to 2022. At the post-secondary level, an increased amount of positions should be available through the same decade, (12%) growth. For secondary and middle school teachers, growth is expected to be (5%), slower than the average of all occupations. However, many students will continue to take computer technology courses because of the increasing reliance on technology. The mean annual salary of a vocational teacher in a middle or secondary school was around $57,000, and a post-secondary vocational teacher's mean salary was $52,680 as of May 2013, says the BLS.
Educational and Licensure Requirements
A minimum of a bachelor's degree in computer technology is required for employment at most public and private schools. Additional software certification may also be required by some employers, depending on the nature of the teaching assignment. Public schools also usually demand that the applicant have a state teacher licensure. Additionally, most postsecondary institutions require a master's degree or doctoral degree, but some opportunities exist at the bachelor's degree level in junior colleges or two-year colleges.
What Do Employers Look for?
In addition to the basic licensure and educational requirements for teaching, computer teachers in college settings may also be required to teach courses remotely and be comfortable with distance teaching technologies. They must also be effective communicators and be able to comfortably interact with their students on a daily or weekly basis. Success in education requires teachers to gain the trust of the students before the learning process can truly begin. Additional job requirements, as found in real job postings in March 2012, are as follows:
- A middle school in Virginia is looking for a computer teacher who is conscientious and dependable, in addition to being able to empower students with useful knowledge in order to enrich their lives.
- One charter school located in Massachusetts seeks a computer teacher who is dedicated to active learning and to keeping parents involved in a child's education.
- A computer teacher position in Dallas requires sound classroom management skills and the ability to lead and motivate students.
How to Beat the Competition
In order to gain an advantage in the field and land a position, you may consider opting for a middle school teaching position since there should be more available positions in the next few years. Advancement opportunities include lead or mentor teacher positions.
Because the field of technology is constantly evolving, you may benefit from continuing career education to stay current in the field. You may do so formally at the master's degree level or on your own time. After you have earned some experience as a vocational computer teacher, you may also continue to teach at the junior college level, but some positions prefer candidates with a master's degree.
Occupations Similar to Computer Teacher
If you do not want to pursue a four-year degree, you may consider becoming a teacher assistant. These positions usually require an associate's degree or related career experience. Like a computer teacher, teacher assistants are able to work in a classroom environment and help students by instructing, modeling and mentoring. This career is expected to grow at a faster rate than computer teachers, from about 10% to 19% growth from 2010 to 2020, according to the BLS.
Kindergarten or Elementary Education Teacher
If you have already decided that you want to be a teacher but would prefer a field with a better growth average, you may consider becoming a kindergarten or elementary school teacher. The BLS reports that this field is expected to grow at a rate of 17% from the years 2010 and 2020. Like other teachers, they are also required to have proper state licensure and fulfill the normal responsibilities of a teacher, such as classroom management, curriculum planning and instructing.