Business Teacher Career Guide

Business teachers typically work with middle school or high school students to teach them business fundamentals as well as advanced business principles, depending on the course level. Business teachers may also work with students in career and technical education programs, or in the business department of colleges or universities. Many business educators have experience working in business as well as a background in education. This guide provides further information on what business teachers do, how to become one, and their salary and job outlook.

Business Teacher Job Description

The focus for business teachers is transferring the skills and knowledge students need to become qualified business professionals. These educators train their students to solve business problems, plan for future growth, and strategize how to run a business efficiently and effectively. They may teach business-related courses such as accounting, human resources, labor relations, finance, marketing, advertising, and management. Business teachers should have excellent analytical and math skills, the ability to communicate effectively, and should relate well to students, peers, and superiors. They should also be able to act as coaches and mentors to their business students.

Business Teacher Requirements and Common Tasks

A business teacher at the secondary level usually possesses at least a bachelor’s degree, normally in business or a closely-related field. At a two- or four-year college, a business educator usually must hold at least a master’s degree in business; some universities may require a doctoral degree to be a professor of business. It may also be possible for prospective teachers at the college level to be considered for tenure-track positions with extensive business experience in lieu of a terminal degree.

Business teachers at all levels must have the necessary skills to plan curricula and develop and deliver lectures. They will need to develop course materials, assignments, and testing material, plus administer and grade assignments, papers, and exams. Maintaining student records of grades and attendance is also necessary. Classroom discussion can be integral to student success, so business teachers must be able to facilitate and encourage student participation.

How to Become a Business Teacher

The first step to becoming a business teacher is usually to earn a degree in business. Prospective teachers in this field typically enter a bachelor’s degree program with an emphasis in business that includes a state-approved teacher preparation program. In addition to courses in pedagogy, students will take courses in such subjects as general business management, supply chain management, and accounting. There are also a variety of specializations for students, such as economics and marketing. There are several routes to becoming a business teacher. The traditional steps to this career for prospective teachers who wish to teach in K-12 public schools are as follows:

Traditional Route

  1. Earn a bachelor’s degree in business that includes a teacher preparation program.
  2. Complete a student teaching internship in a business classroom.
  3. Pass your state’s required tests for business educators.
  4. Apply for your teaching license.
  5. Begin applying for open business teacher positions.

Alternative Route

In addition to the traditional route, there are many different alternative routes to become a teacher depending on your unique needs, which you can explore on our alternative teaching pathways page. Perhaps the most popular of these scenarios for business teachers is the alternative pathway for career-changers who have gained experience in business and later decide to become business teachers. These candidates will commonly follow these steps:

  1. Earn an education in business and gain several years of business experience.
  2. Complete a state-approved alternative route teacher preparation program and apply for a provisional teaching certificate if you would like to teach while earning your education (if this is possible in your state).
  3. Pass your state’s required tests for business educators.
  4. Apply for your teaching license.
  5. Begin applying for open business teacher positions.

The requirements for a teaching license vary by state, but prospective teachers should anticipate taking an exam such as the Praxis Subject Assessments. Prospective teachers following alternative pathways to licensure may be able to supplement their education with career experience in the business field to qualify. Future business teachers at the collegiate level may also pursue a master’s or doctoral level.

Business Teacher Salary and Job Outlook

The salary that a prospective business teacher can expect depends heavily on the grade level taught and other factors. At the high school level, teachers of all subjects earned a median annual salary of $62,360 as of 2022 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).1 The BLS reports expected job growth of 4% from 2021 to 2031 for high school teachers, which is about the same as the average for all occupations.2 Secondary career and technical education teachers, a category which can include teachers of business subjects, earned a slightly higher median salary in 2022, at $62,500 per year.3 Job growth for this category is expected at 2% to 3% through 2031, which is slightly slower than the average for all occupations.3

O*NET OnLine reports that business teachers at the postsecondary level earned a median of $88,790 annually as of 2022, and that this occupation is expected to grow between 4% and 7% over the time period between 2021 and 2031.4 Postsecondary teachers typically have a graduate degree, which is reflected in the higher median salary. Prospective teachers of business may be able to increase their competitiveness in the job market by pursuing advanced degrees and certification.

Helpful Skills and Experience

Most teachers of business subjects have some work experience in the private or public business sectors. This experience may be earned through internships during school and through full-time employment following graduation from a four-year school. Many teachers in career and technical education programs have strong networks with the local business community that allow them to provide additional learning opportunities for students and placement opportunities for graduates, so networking and communication skills are a must for this career. In addition, successful business teachers will stay up-to-date on current events and evolving best practices in the field, and skilled at teaching students to apply business theory to real-world examples.

Additional Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Do I need certification to become a business teacher?

Answer: Public schools typically require that business teachers hold a state teaching license and subject endorsement(s) in business. Alternate pathways to certification based on occupational experience are available, especially in areas where business teachers are in high demand. Teachers in private schools might not need to possess a state license. Information specific to your state is available through your state board of education or local teaching preparation program. Business instructor requirements at the postsecondary level will vary by school.

Question: Will I teach specific subjects as a business teacher?

Answer: The subjects that business educators teach depend on their background and experience as well as the requirements of the school, but at the high school level, they might teach an introductory class covering various aspects of business. High school business teachers can also expect to teach more than one subject (such as business, economics, and accounting). Post-secondary business teachers more commonly specialize in specific business topics like business administration or accounting, but may also lead introductory general business courses.

Question: How much experience should I have to teach business?

Answer: The experience needed to teach business varies based on the subjects taught and the level of business experience obtained. According to O*NET OnLine, most career and technical education teachers have several years of work-related experience.3

1. Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2022 Occupational Employment and Wages, High School Teachers: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252031.htm
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, High School Teachers: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm
3. O*NET OnLine, Career/Technical Education Teachers, Secondary School: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/25-2032.00
4. O*NET OnLine, Business Teachers, Postsecondary: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/25-1011.00