Vocational teacher


Vocational teachers instruct students in their specialised field of study, which is predominantly practical in nature. They provide theoretical instruction in service of the practical skills and techniques that the students must subsequently master in the specialised vocation of their choice and aid in the development of the according attitudes and values. Vocational teachers monitor the students progress, assist individually when necessary, and evaluate their knowledge and performance on the subject through assignments, tests and examinations.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to vocational teacher:

vocational teaching assistant
technical institute teacher
vocational college teacher
career and technology teacher
vocational university tutor
technological institute teacher
vocational educator
vocational college lecturer
vocational lecturer
vocational university teacher
vocational education teacher
vocational tutor
vocational instructor

Minimum qualifications

Associate’s degree is generally required to work as vocational teacher. However, this requirement may differ in some countries.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Vocational teacher is a Skill level 4 occupation.

Vocational teacher career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to vocational teacher.

business administration vocational teacher
travel and tourism vocational teacher
hospitality vocational teacher
maritime instructor
business and marketing vocational teacher

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of vocational teacher. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of vocational teacher with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of vocational teacher.

Assessment processes: Various evaluation techniques, theories, and tools applicable in the assessment of students, participants in a programme, and employees. Different assessment strategies such as initial, formative, summative and self- assessment are used for varying purposes.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of vocational teacher.

Guarantee students’ safety: Ensure all students falling under an instructor or other person’s supervision are safe and accounted for. Follow safety precautions in the learning situation.
Observe student’s progress: Follow up on students’ learning progress and assess their achievements and needs.
Adapt teaching to student’s capabilities: Identify the learning struggles and successes of students. Select teaching and learning strategies that support students’ individual learning needs and goals.
Apply teaching strategies: Employ various approaches, learning styles, and channels to instruct students, such as communicating content in terms they can understand, organising talking points for clarity, and repeating arguments when necessary. Use a wide range of teaching devices and methodologies appropriate to the class content, the learners’ level, goals, and priorities.
Assess students: Evaluate the students’ (academic) progress, achievements, course knowledge and skills through assignments, tests, and examinations. Diagnose their needs and track their progress, strengths, and weaknesses. Formulate a summative statement of the goals the student achieved.
Adapt instruction to labour market: Identify developments in the labour market and recognise their relevance to the training of students.
Give constructive feedback: Provide founded feedback through both criticism and praise in a respectful, clear, and consistent manner. Highlight achievements as well as mistakes and set up methods of formative assessment to evaluate work.
Assist students in their learning: Support and coach students in their work, give learners practical support and encouragement.
Apply intercultural teaching strategies: Ensure that the content, methods, materials and the general learning experience is inclusive for all students and takes into account the expectations and experiences of learners from diverse cultural backgrounds. Explore individual and social stereotypes and develop cross-cultural teaching strategies.
Work in vocational school: Work in a vocational school that instructs students in practical courses.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of vocational teacher. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Hygiene in a health care setting: The procedures related to maintaining a hygienic environment within a health care setting such as hospitals and clinics. It can range from hand washing to cleaning and disinfection of medical equipment used and infection control methods.
Locomotive brake applications: Understand the dynamics of locomotive brake applications.
Geographic areas: Know the geographic area in detail; know where different organisations carry out operations.
Customer service: Processes and principles related to the customer, client, service user and to personal services; these may include procedures to evaluate customer’s or service user’s satisfaction.
Health care legislation: The patients` rights and responsibilities of health practitioners and the possible repercussions and prosecutions in relation to medical treatment negligence or malpractice.
Energy: Power capacity in the form of mechanical, electrical, heat, potential, or other energy from chemical or physical resources, which can be used to drive a physical system.
Local area tourism industry: The characteristics of local sights and events, accommodation, bars and restaurants and leisure activities.
Aircraft flight control systems: Know the setting, features and operation of aircraft flight control systems. Manage flight control surfaces, cockpit controls, connections, and operating mechanisms required to control the flight direction of an aircraft. Operate aircraft engine controls in order to change aircraft speed.
Material mechanics: The behaviour of solid objects when subjected to stresses and strains, and the methods to calculate these stresses and strains.
International regulations for preventing collisions at sea: Fundamental aspects of the international regulations to prevent collisions at sea, such as the conduct of vessels in sight of one another, navigation lights and markers, major light and accoustic signals, maritime signalling and buoys.
Health care occupation-specific ethics: The moral standards and procedures, ethical questions and obligations specific to occupations in a health care setting such as respect for human dignity, self-determination, informed consent and patient confidentiality.
Business law: The field of law concerned with the trade and commerce activities of businesses and private persons and their legal interactions. This relates to numerous legal disciplines, including tax and employment law.
Train operating procedures: The different practices, routines, and procedures regarding the safe operation of trains in order to prevent collisions, derailments, or unplanned exceeding of speed limits.
Sales activities: The supply of goods, sale of goods and the related financial aspects. The supply of goods entails the selection of goods, import and transfer. The financial aspect includes the processing of purchasing and sales invoices, payments etc. The sale of goods implies the proper presentation and positioning of the goods in the shop in terms of acessibility, promotion, light exposure.
Road traffic laws: Understand road traffic laws and the rules of the road.
Design principles: The elements used in design such as unity, scale, proportion, balance, symmetry, space, form, texture, colour, light, shade and congruence and their application into practice.
General medicine: General medicine is a medical specialty mentioned in the EU Directive 2005/36/EC.
Human physiology: The science that studies the human organs and its interactions and mechanisms.
Financial management: The field of finance that concerns the practical process analysis and tools for designating financial resources. It encompasses the structure of businesses, the investment sources, and the value increase of corporations due to managerial decision-making.
Mechanical components of vehicles: Know the mechanical components used in vehicles and identify and resolve potential malfunctions.
Biosafety in biomedical laboratory: The principles and methods for managing infectious materials in the laboratory environment, biosafety levels, classification and risk assessment, pathogenicity and toxicity of a living organism and their possible hazards in order to minimise any risks for human health and the environment.
Sporting equipment usage: Have knowledge of the correct operation and maintenance of sporting equipment.
Physical characteristics of railways: Familiar with all physical aspects of the railway, including train stations, the incline and decline of the right-of-way and speed limits.
Disability types: The nature and types of disabilities affecting the human beings such as physical, cognitive, mental, sensory, emotional or developmental and the specific needs and access requirements of disabled people.
Maintenance and repair: The preservation and restoration of products and systems, and the methods and logistics of these practices.
Tourism market: The study of the tourism market on a international, regional and local level and considering worldwide tourist destinations.
Sterilization techniques: The methods and techniques used to destroy or remove microorganisms such as viruses and bacteria that can contaminate medical instruments or any type of material in a health care setting.
Learning difficulties: The learning disorders some students face in an academic context, especially Specific Learning Difficulties such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, and concentration deficit disorders.
Health and safety measures in transportation: The body of rules, procedures and regulations related to health and safety measures intended to prevent accidents or incidents in transportation.
Food hygiene rules: The set of national and international regulations for hygiene of foodstuffs and food safety, e.g. regulation (EC) 852/2004.
Cosmetics: The various types of substances used to enhance the appearance of the human body.
Sports competition information: The information regarding latest results, competitions and events in the sporting industry.
Economics: Economic principles and practices, financial and commodity markets, banking and the analysis of financial data.
Maritime transportation technology: Understand maritime transportation technology and stay up-to-date with the latest findings in the field. Apply this knowledge in operations and decision-making while on-board.
Travel bookings processes: The various steps that constitute a booking made for travelling purposes, its execution, and any additional relevant actions.
Electronics: The functioning of electronic circuit boards, processors, chips, and computer hardware and software, including programming and applications. Apply this knowledge to ensure electronic equipment runs smoothly.
Human anatomy: The dynamic relationship of human structure and function and the muscosceletal, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, endocrine, urinary, reproductive, integumentary and nervous systems; normal and altered anatomy and physiology throughout the human lifespan.
Teamwork principles: The cooperation between people characterised by a unified commitment to achieving a given goal, participating equally, maintaining open communication, facilitating effective usage of ideas etc.
Mechanics of trains: Possess basic knowledge of the mechanics involved in trains, understand the technicalities and participate in discussions on related topics in order to solve problems related to the mechanics.
Vessel safety equipment: Gain theoretical and practical knowledge of safety equipment used in vessels, including devices such as lifeboats, life rings, splash doors and fire doors, sprinkler systems, etc. Operate equipment during emergency situations.
European food safety policy: Assurance of a high level of food safety within the EU through coherent farm-to-table measures and adequate monitoring, while ensuring an effective internal market. The implementation of this approach involves various actions, namely:

assure effective control systems and evaluate compliance with EU standards in the food safety and quality, within the EU and in third countries in relation to their exports to the EU;
manage international relations with third countries and international organisations concerning food safety;
manage relations with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and ensure science-based risk management.

Passenger transport regulations: Have knowledge of passenger transport conventions and regulations.
Sport games rules: The rules and regulations of sport games such as football, soccer, tennis, and others.
Food allergies: The types of food allergies within the sector, which substances trigger allergies, and how they can be replaced or eliminated (if possible).
Hair: Human hair, its composition and interaction with various chemicals, environment factors and health issues.
Electricity: Understand the principles of electricity and electrical power circuits, as well as the associated risks.
Cosmetics industry: Suppliers, products and brands in the cosmetic industry.
Track geometry: Understand the 3D-geometry used for track layouts, and in the design and construction of railway infrastructure.
Functional properties of foods: Structure, quality, nutritional value and/or acceptability of a food product. A food functional property is determined by physical, chemical and/or organoleptic properties of a food. Examples of a functional property may include solubility, absorption, water retention, frothing ability, elasticity, and absorptive capacity for fats and foreign particles.

Common aviation safety regulations: The body of legislation and regulations that apply to the field of civil aviation at regional, national, European and International levels. Understand that regulations aimed at protecting citizens at all times in civil aviation; ensure that operators, citizens, and organisations comply with these rules.
Skin types: The different skin types, such as dry, normal, oily, and sensitive.
Marketing principles: The principles of managing the relationship between consumers and products or services for the purpose of increasing sales and improving advertising techniques.
Copyright legislation: Legislation describing the protection of the rights of original authors over their work, and how others can use it.
Food preservation: Deterioration factors, controlling factors (temperature, additives, humidity, pH, water activity, etc., including packaging) and food processing methods to preserve food products.
Global maritime distress and safety system: The internationally agreed-upon set of safety procedures, types of equipment and communication protocols used to increase safety and make it easier to rescue distressed ships, boats and aircraft.
Document management: The methodology of tracking, managing and storing documents in a systematic and organised manner as well as keeping a record of the versions created and modified by specific users (history tracking).
Accounting: The documentation and processing of data regarding financial activities.
Curriculum objectives: The goals identified in curricula and defined learning outcomes.
Geographical areas relevant to tourism: The field of tourism geography in Europe as well as the rest of the world in order to point out relevant tourism areas and attractions.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of vocational teacher. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

Respond to changing situations in health care: Cope with pressure and respond appropriately and in time to unexpected and rapidly changing situations in healthcare.
Assign homework: Provide additional exercises and assignments that the students will prepare at home, explain them in a clear way, and determine the deadline and evaluation method.
Control the performance of the vehicle: Understand and anticipate the performance and behaviour of a vehicle. Comprehend concepts such as lateral stability, acceleration, and braking distance.
Personalise sports programme: Observe and evaluate individual performance and determine personal needs and motivation to tailor programmes accordingly and in conjunction with the participant
Promote a positive image of nursing: Present and preserve a positive image of nursing in specific environments of the healthcare and educational spectra.
Prepare lesson content: Prepare content to be taught in class in accordance with curriculum objectives by drafting exercises, researching up-to-date examples etc.
Facilitate teamwork between students: Encourage students to cooperate with others in their learning by working in teams, for example through group activities.
Monitor developments in field of expertise: Keep up with new research, regulations, and other significant changes, labour market related or otherwise, occurring within the field of specialisation.
Teach boating principles: Instruct students in the theory and practice of piloting a boat, more specifically in courses such as water navigation, boating knots, overboard recoveries, and docking.
Drive vehicles: Be able to drive vehicles; have the approapriate type of driving license according to the type of motor vehicle used.
Teach train driving principles: Provide on-site trainings to trainees on how to operate and drive trains. Instruct them in theories and techniques on matters such as control panels, security signs, security measures, and procedures in train stations.
Use different communication channels: Make use of various types of communication channels such as verbal, handwritten, digital and telephonic communication with the purpose of constructing and sharing ideas or information.
Manage student relationships: Manage the relations between students and between student and teacher. Act as a just authority and create an environment of trust and stability.
Implement fundamentals of nursing: Implement the nursing theoretical and methodological fundamentals and principles, basic nursing interventions on scientific evidence and the resources available.
Teach energy principles: Instruct students in the theory and practice of energy, with the aim of assisting them in pursuing a future career in this field, more specifically in maintenance and repair of energy plant processes and equipment.
Deal with emergency care situations: Assess the signs and be well-prepared for a situation that poses an immediate threat to a person’s health, security, property or environment.

Teach industrial arts principles: Instruct students in the theory and practice of the industrial arts, namely metal and wood working, with the aim of assisting them in pursuing a future career in this field, more specifically in courses such as carpentry, metal construction, and technical drawing.
Teach tourism principles: Instruct students in the theory and practice of the subject travel and tourism, with the aim of assisting them in pursuing a future career in this field, and more specifically in topics such as tourism locations, customer service and booking techniques.
Teach transport technology principles: Instruct students in the theory and practice of transport technology, with the aim of assisting them in pursuing a future career in this field, more specifically in courses such as the maintenance and repair of transport equipment, such as motor vehicles, boats, aircraft, and bicycles.
Operate marine communication systems: Operate on board marine communication systems; communicate with other ships or with on-shore control centre e.g. to send urgent messages concerning safety; transmit or receive alerts, etc.
Operate cockpit control panels: Operates control panels in the cockpit or flight deck according to the needs of the flight. Manage on-board electronic systems to ensure a smooth flight.
Ensure vehicle operability: Keep the vehicle clean and in roadworthy condition. Ensure regular maintenance of the vehicle and provide valid official documents such as licenses and permits where appropriate.
Assist students with equipment: Provide assistance to students when working with (technical) equipment used in practice-based lessons and solve operational problems when necessary.
Teach medical laboratory technology principles: Instruct students in the theory and practice of medical laboratory technology, with the aim of assisting them in pursuing a future career in this field, more specifically in the usage of laboratory equipment and technology to perform tests such as chromatography and other bodily fluid or tissue analysis.
Manage resources for educational purposes: Identify the necessary resources needed for learning purposes, such as materials in class or arranged transportation for a field trip. Apply for the corresponding budget and follow up on the orders.
Teach flying practices: Instruct students in the practice of flying different types of planes safely, provide instruction on the on-board instrumentation, required board documents, and the checklist to ensure safe flight operation. Prepare the flight and monitor the exercises.
Direct the preparation of food: Oversee the preparation of a variety of dishes such as soups, salads, fish, meats, vegetables or desserts. Participate in and direct food preparation either on a day-to-day basis, or for special guests or events.
Teach customer service techniques: Teach techniques designed to maintain customer service standards at a satisfactory level.
Teach driving practices: Instruct students in the practice of driving a vehicle such as a bus, taxi, truck, motorcycle or tractor safely, practice mechanical operation on roads with little traffic, and promote an anticipatory way of driving. Recognise the student’s difficulties and repeat the learning steps until the student feels at ease. Plan routes on different types of roads, during rush hour or at night.
Ensure student welfare: Ensure that the needs of students in educational organisations are met, and that any learning issues are addressed, as well as potential problems outside of an educational context.
Recognise abnormalities on board: Identify anomalies and abnormalities on board, evaluate them, and take appropriate actions to restore normal operation of ship. Check all (safety) systems for operational functions. Organise actions to be taken in the event of an identified problem.
Work with virtual learning environments: Incorporate the use of online learning environments and platforms into the process of instruction.
Teach hospitality principles: Instruct students in the theory and practice of serving customers, with the aim of assisting them in pursuing a future career in this field, more specifically in an accommodation or in a food and beverage service setting.
Park vehicles: Park motorised vehicles without compromising the integrity of vehicles and safety of people.
Teach electricity principles: Instruct students in the theory and practice of electricity, with the aim of assisting them in pursuing a future career in this field, more specifically in maintenance and repair of electrical systems.
Distinguish various types of ships: Recognise and name various types of vessels common in European maritime transport; understand the different characteristics, construction details, and tonnage capacities of different vessels.
Perform classroom management: Maintain discipline and engage students during instruction.
Provide lesson materials: Ensure that the necessary materials for teaching a class, such as visual aids, are prepared, up-to-date, and present in the instruction space.
Instruct in sport: Provide appropriate technical and tactical instruction related to the given sport using varied and sound pedagogical approaches to meet the needs of the participants and achieve the desired objectives. This requires skills such as communication, explanation, demonstration, modelling, feedback, questioning and correction.
Instruct on safety measures: Provide instruction on the possible causes of accidents or sources of danger and explain the protective measures that should be taken to guarantee health and safety.
Motivate in sports: Positively foster athletes and participants’ intrinsic desire to carry out the required tasks to fulfill their goals and to push themselves beyond their current levels of skill and understanding.
Develop course outline: Research and establish an outline of the course to be taught and calculate a time frame for the instructional plan in accordance with school regulations and curriculum objectives.
Deliver presentations on tourism: Make presentations about the tourism industry in general and about specific tourist attractions.
Perform defensive driving: Drive defensively to maximise road safety and save time, money, and lives; anticipate the actions of other road users.

ISCO group and title

2320 – Vocational education teachers





  1. Vocational teacher – ESCO
Last updated on August 8, 2022

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