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Professional Development

YOU—developing to be the professional teacher

Developing the Tools to Teach Business

Mitch Gurick, a student in Eastern Illinois University’s Career and Technical Education program, explains the program along with the benefits and skills he’s acquired as part of it, outlining the ways those experiences have enhanced his studies and prepared him for his professional future.


What sparked your interest in teaching?  Chances are it was sitting in the classroom of an effective teacher.  We have all had at least one teacher who was able to inspire us to not only learn what was being taught but also to grow and develop into the person we are today.  Now you want to be THAT teacher inspiring students.  In the Career and Technical Education program, we recognize the importance of learning what it takes to become an effective teacher and create opportunities for you to become THAT teacher who inspires students.

Throughout your education courses you will spend time reflecting on your strengths and identifying areas that need development to help insure you become THAT teacher.  By identifying your strengths and areas of development, you will be able to grow into THAT effective teacher you want to be.

Another way we help students develop into effective teachers is through participation in professional development activities.  These experiences help you learn more about your content area (business, family and consumer sciences, or technology) and how to teach.  Some examples of these activities include:

  • serving as a judge at high school competitions,

  • attending professional conferences at the state and national level, and

  • participating in workshops held on Eastern’s campus.  

These conferences and conventions will inspire you to utilize cutting edge technology, develop lesson ideas, and connect with other dedicated and effective teachers.  You will understand what it takes to become THAT teacher from these experiences.



Practical Experience

YOU—getting the experiences you need

Alumni Testimonial

Dale West

"The CTE program at EIU put me in a position that allowed me to learn and grow into the teacher that I am today. As a Career and Technical education student at EIU, it was very important for me to get as many practical, hands-on experiences in the classroom as possible. Through the projects, lesson planning, observations, professional development meetings, and my student teaching I was able to learn the essential tools to become an effective teacher. The professors helped me learn how to keep my students engaged through classroom management and the creation of enriching units. I was also given the opportunity to work in a local high school and learn how to build a course curriculum. This experience helped me become aware of the challenges and benefits to being a teacher. EIU also helped place me in a high school for my student teaching experience. This placement led to a full-time position in the same high school where I have now been teaching for over four years. I am very grateful to the program and staff at EIU because they helped me achieve my career goals and dream of new ones." - Dale West, CTE Teacher, Joliet Central High School


Whether you call it real-world experience or practical experience, we know the more time you spend in a classroom environment where you are seen as a teacher by students the more you understand what is expected of you as a teacher.  In addition, you also acquire teaching strategies, resources, and connections with teachers in your content area.  This is why you are required to be in the schools in a number of your education courses.  Other opportunities to interact with students are also available.

In your first Career and Technical Education class you begin developing practical experience by observing in middle school and/or high school classes in your content area (business, family and consumer sciences, or technology).  Through these experiences you begin to see yourself as the teacher rather than the student.  For most Career and Technical Education students, the time spent in the classroom opens their eyes

  • to exactly what teachers do on a daily basis,

  • to begin to collect activities teachers use in their own classrooms, and

  • to make connections with other teachers.  

Those experiences don’t stop with this course.  Other courses will have you teaching lessons and working one-on-one with students on a daily basis.

In addition to the experiences that take place in connection with your courses, other opportunities are available on campus and near campus.  While in college you learn just as much, if not more, from your experiences outside the classroom as you do in the classroom. Eastern provides opportunities with more than 200 registered student organizations and volunteer experiences to develop practical skills necessary to excel in the 21st Century. These experiences include, but are not limited to:

  • working with students in after-school tutoring programs,

  • serving as a peer leader to freshmen in a freshman foundations course,

  • teaching Sunday School, swim or dance lessons, or working with the Boy/Girl Scouts, and

  • other activities that allow you to work with youth ages 11 to 18 to help you develop practical skills that can be used in your future classroom.


Versatile Major

YOU—getting to work in a variety of fields in addition to education

Many students come to college not really sure what they want to do for the rest of their lives.  The Career and Technical Education major requires you to complete a variety of courses in your content area (business, family and consumer sciences, or technology).  In addition, you also have the teaching knowledge and experiences gained from your education courses.  Therefore, the Career and Technical Education degree can lead to careers in teaching or the work world related to your content area.  For example, if you are focusing on business education, you can teach middle school or high school business classes or you can find a job in a business utilizing the knowledge and skills you obtained.  The same is true for family and consumer sciences and technology.

Alumni Testimonial

Brian Waterman

"I have had three primary experiences throughout my career (corporate software trainer/consultant, high school teacher/coach, and school administrator) and my studies in CTE at EIU provided me with practical knowledge that is easily adaptable (versatility!) to all three experiences. The foundation of career and technical education is to prepare students for a variety of work experiences, and it has proved valuable in my career." - Brian Waterman, Principal, Hinsdale South High School


The education field has a wide variety of career options beyond the classroom teacher, which is what most people think of when they major in education.  With Career and Technical Education, you could also consider becoming a trainer within companies.  Some teachers earn a master’s degree in educational administration so they can become principals and superintendents while others earn a master’s degree to teach at the community college level.  Career and Technical Education majors develop strong presentation, communication, and critical thinking skills, which are desired in a wide range of career fields.  A degree in Career and Technical Education will help you develop the skills you need to enter a variety of career areas.




YOU—getting to connect with people who can assist in your entire life

Pi Omega Pi

Pi Omega pi

The national business education honor society


At Eastern you are able to make connections with other Career and Technical Education majors and with your professors as a result of the degree and the small class sizes.  Unlike other universities in Illinois, students who are interested in teaching business, family and consumer sciences, or technology earn their bachelor’s degree in Career and Technical Education from Eastern.  This major is unique in that students take Career and Technical Education classes which include students from all three areas rather than only taking courses with other education majors in your content area (business, family and consumer sciences, or technology).  The exposure to the other two areas will help you grow and develop as a future teacher as it creates an awareness of the overall purpose of Career and Technical Education classes at the middle school and high school levels.  Because of the connections you are able to make between your content area and the other areas in Career and Technical Education, you will have a better understanding of what your colleagues are teaching.  This will be beneficial when you work together on activities and support each other as decisions are made that impact the Career and Technical Education program where you teach.

In addition, the small class sizes at Eastern allow you to make connections with your classmates and the faculty.  The University faculty-student ratio is 15:1, which means you get to know your professors and they get to know you.  These connections are important for a number of reasons.  Connecting with your classmates can help you as you progress through your program and also as you begin your teaching career.  Student teachers have set up websites so that they can share their materials with each other and ask for tips on how to handle different situations.  As a new teacher, this can save you time and help you feel more secure in your decision making.  The connections with your professors can help when you are confused in class, but they can also help when you need recommendations for jobs, scholarships, and other opportunities.  They are also excellent resources when you are teaching and need suggestions or materials.

Requirements within the Career and Technical Education program connect students with teachers through your attendance at conferences and working with teachers in the public school environment.  These connections eventually assist you in locating teaching jobs and receiving professional advice.



Scholarship Opportunities

YOU—at Eastern Illinois University preparing for a lifetime of satisfying work

Eastern is committed to investing in our students and rewarding those who are committed to personal and professional success.  While the cost of any college degree is expensive, Eastern provides several scholarships for students majoring in Career and Technical Education.  There are two scholarships that incoming freshmen are eligible to apply for and several more for returning students. To learn more about the scholarships available, click here.