Business Teacher Career Guide

Business teachers typically work with high school students and postsecondary adult students, commonly in career and technical education programs. 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 a business teacher, and business teacher salary and outlook.

Business Teacher Job Description

The focus for business teachers is transferring the skills and knowledge students need to become quality business professionals. These educators train their students to solve problems, plan futures, strategize, and transform possibilities into reality. They teach business-related courses such as accounting, human resources, labor relations, finance, marketing, 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 be able to act as coaches and mentors to their business curriculum students.

Business Teacher Requirements and Common Tasks

A business teacher at the secondary level usually possesses at least a bachelor’s degree. At a two- or four-year college, a business educator usually must hold at least a master’s degree. Many four-year universities or colleges require a doctoral degree or for the successful applicant to be a doctoral candidate. Prospective teachers at the college level may 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 curriculums 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 is integral to student success, and business teachers must be able to facilitate and encourage student participation. Business teachers must also maintain office hours to advise and assist students with general curriculum and career issues.

How to Become a Business Teacher

The first step to becoming a business teacher is 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 the student may pursue, such as economics or marketing. The common steps to this career are as follows:

  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.

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 need to supplement their education with career experience in the business field to qualify. Future business teachers, especially those who are interested in teaching at a college or university, might also consider advanced study in the business area(s) of interest at the master’s or doctoral level.

Business Teacher Salary and Job Outlook

Prospective teachers of business may increase their competitiveness in the job market by pursuing advanced degrees and certification. According to O*NET Online, about 23% of career and technical education teachers at the secondary level have some type of post-baccalaureate certificate.2 The majority of postsecondary business teachers have a master’s degree (25%) or a doctoral degree (66%).3

At the secondary level, business teachers are usually considered career and technical education teachers. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, these teachers make an average annual salary of $52,800 and can expect 4% job growth between 2014 and 2024.1 With rising demand for instruction in business-related subjects, at the postsecondary level job growth for career and technical education teachers is expected to be slightly higher, at between 9% and 13% from 2014 to 2024.3

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.

Additional Resources

  • National Business Education Association – An organization that is open to business education professionals at all levels. Members receive access to business education related publications, conferences, and other professional opportunities.
  • Association for Career & Technical Education – The largest national education association in the US advocating for career preparation through education for youth and adults.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Business Teacher

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. In addition, 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.

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

Answer: The subjects that a business educator teaches depend on the educator’s background and experience as well as the requirements of the school where he or she is working. At the secondary level, teachers can expect to teach more than one subject. 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.2

1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Career and Technical Education Teachers: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/career-and-technical-education-teachers.htm
2. O* NET Online, Career/Technical Education Teachers, Secondary School: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/25-2032.00
3. O* NET Online, Business Teachers, Postsecondary https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/25-1011.00