Factors Influencing African Americans To Select Teaching Careers In Vocational Education And Experiences That Relate To Their Progress In Vocational Teacher Licensure Programs


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Virginia Tech


There is currently a shortage of African American vocational teachers. If the shortage is to be averted, vocational professionals must find ways to increase the number of African American teachers in vocational education (Arnold & Levesque, 1992; Martinez, 1991; Young, 1989).

The purpose of this study was to identify the factors that influenced African Americans to become vocational teachers and to identify experiences related to their progress in vocational teacher licensure programs. Factors identified as influencing African Americans to select vocational teaching careers were linked with factors found in the O'Neil, Meeker, and Borger (1978) Sex Role Socialization and Career Decision-Making model.

This qualitative study consisted of structured interviews with 12 college students who were preparing to become vocational teachers. Students were interviewed at 6 campuses in 2 southeastern states. Students represented vocational programs in (a) agriculture education, (b) business education, (c) family and consumer sciences education, (d) marketing education, (e) trade and industrial education, and (f) technology education. Six of the students were from predominantly white universities and 6 students were from Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

The findings of the study revealed that the most significant influences behind respondents choosing vocational teaching careers related to teacher role models, family support, altruism, the intangible benefits of teaching, and love for vocational professions. Most of the factors identified related to factors found in the O'Neil et al. (1978) model. A factor, entitled the Spritual Factor, emerged in addition to those identified in the original O'Neil et al. model. Positive relationships with knowledgeable faculty, supportive peers, active participation in vocational organizations, and confidence in academic preparation, enhanced the progress of students in vocational licensure programs. All universities selected in the study shared similar elements. Students and faculty at HBCUs, however, tended to lean toward a student-centered focus while students and faculty at predominantly white universities tended to lean toward an academically-oriented focus.



vocational education, teacher shortage, African American, career choice, teacher certification