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Occupational Education

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Bachelor of Science Degree

The University of Central Missouri's Bachelor of Science in Occupational Education degree program is ideal for mid-career professionals who have worked in an occupation and are interested in pursuing a teaching career. The degree provides students with a blend of academic coursework, career education courses, and additional learning in students' teaching specialty area.

Career Preparation

The program is committed to educating participants in comprehensive personal development, which responds to specific occupational updating, professional growth and enhancement, and state-of-the-art information sharing for and with career educators. It advocates a teaching approach, which brings about desired changes in the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and appreciation level of those in training. The program offers flexibility in course planning depending on the objectives of the student.

Students who complete a degree in occupational education may apply for Career Education teacher certification with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). By doing so, they can teach in comprehensive high schools with career education programs in their specialty area; public post-secondary programs such as career centers, adult evening schools, Federal Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) programs, and others (completion of a vocational education credential program may be required). Additional opportunities are in private postsecondary settings such as private proprietary schools and private two-year colleges; community colleges with career education programs; industry and business training programs as trainers, managers, and program designers for adult learners.

Occupational education teachers prepare their students to be successful in their chosen career paths. They teach extensive employability and leadership skills, life skills and enhance their general education skills and knowledge. The teaching specialty areas are too numerous to list, but will generally fall into the skilled technical sciences or health sciences career clusters.

Academic Program

The occupational education degree can be achieved as a traditional Bachelor of Science four-year degree or as a "2+2" program designed to build upon an Associate's of Applied Sciences degree in occupational education from a participating accredited community college. This degree may also complete Missouri Career Education Teacher Certification requirements for skilled technical sciences and health sciences instructors.

Students obtain job relevance and valid, reliable, career experience through participatory planning and affiliation with industry, career education school practitioners, professional associations, and representatives of UCM.


The program coordinator and lead faculty person for the occupational education major is Lori Cochran. She teaches major courses and supervises teaching and administrative internships. Other major courses are taught by additional University of Central Missouri full-time and parttime faculty housed in the College of Education. Practitioner adjuncts across the state also teach.


Most courses are delivered in non-traditional format methods. Courses are delivered online, evenings on and off campus, and in regional locations across the state to meet student needs for timely, convenient delivery.

Professional Organizations

Although there is not a student organization specifically for occupational education students/teachers, many of the participants of this degree program are members of, and carry certification through, professional organizations within their teaching/technical specialty area. For example, most of the automotive technology instructors are members of the Society of Automotive Engineers and welding technology teachers belong to the American Welding Society.

To Learn More

Department of Career and Technology Education


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