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Venezuela - Teaching Profession

Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceVenezuela - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education


Venezuela is a country of high social and economic contrasts where educators are typically underpaid. The teaching profession is well regarded, but the majority of Venezuelans have not sought teaching as a profession because of the generally poor compensation. Customarily, primary school teachers were trained in the normal school track of high schools, but in more recent years there have been more rigorous demands placed on them, especially due to the level of specialization that is needed in careers such as special education. As for high school teachers, they have traditionally been trained at the Instituto Pedagógico (Teachers College), which requires a course of study of at least five years of higher education. There are four public Teachers College located in Caracas, Barquisimeto, Maracay and Maturín. Usually, teachers continue their education by pursuing a master's degree.

University professors have traditionally enjoyed fairly lenient entrance into teaching positions at institutions of higher learning. For the position of Instructor, a Licendciado degree has been the minimum requirement. However, in more recent years, a higher degree such as a master's or doctorate has become the norm to successfully climb the academic ladder. At one time, full professors did not necessarily hold a doctorate or carry out much in the way of research, but more recently these two elements have been important to university faculty in order to promotions and tenure. At the same time, due to the need and demand of students, new master's and doctoral programs have opened in areas that were nonexistent in the past, such as human resources, administration, engineering, social sciences, and the humanities. Medicine has traditionally attracted a better and larger pool of students than other careers. In other cases, students have opted to go overseas for professional training. The United States, Spain, France, England, Brazil and Mexico are the most common countries selected for these type of studies.

The salary of an educator varies depending on his or her years of experience and educational background. High school teachers have traditionally been better paid than primary school teachers, and university professors have been better paid than high school teachers. But in general, education is considered a low-paying profession and less than two percent of recent graduates would even consider teaching as a viable source of income. University positions, which pay the best, are virtually impossible to obtain, because of the lack of positions available. When the rare opportunity becomes available, it is usually on a part-time basis. For this reason, it is not unusual to find that educators from all levels hold a second, and sometimes third, job. This situation is a little less strenuous for educators in private institutions, which are regularly more demanding in educational curriculum and hiring requirements than public institutions.

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