Community college teaching jobs can be incredibly rewarding. But if you're interested in following this career path, you should keep a few things in mind. While your qualifications will help you get your foot in the door, there are other skills you'll need to refine if you want to make your time in the classroom as meaningful as possible for you and your students.
We've composed a list of the requirements and benefits of this position. Keep reading to learn whether being a community college professor is the perfect teaching job for you.
Qualifications for Teaching at Community College
How hard is it to become a community college professor? Each institution may have a different set of requirements, but there are certain skills and experiences that you'll need in any position—and those that will set you apart.
To become a professor at a community college, you must possess an advanced degree, such as a master's degree or a doctorate. You will also typically need at least three years of academic experience. Having relevant teachers or mentors speak on your behalf can help attest to your qualifications.
Additionally, community college professors can benefit from having skills like:
- Being inquisitive, curious, and creative.
- Presenting themselves as easy to talk to and sociable.
- Showing passion in the field and connecting with students.
- Being resourceful, helpful, and organized.
- Devoting efforts to lifelong learning.
- Possessing excellent written and oral communication.
- Having thoughtful interactions with students and staff of diverse backgrounds.
- Being service-oriented.
- Having attention to detail.
- Exhibiting a sense of humor and being able to laugh.
Advantages of Teaching at a Community College
If you're interested in educating the world's upcoming leaders, there's no better place to do it than in higher education. Read on to discover the upsides of a career as a community college professor.
1. Tenure-Track Job With a Master's Degree
One of the greatest benefits of becoming a community college professor is achieving a tenure-track, full-time job with full benefits while only needing a master's degree. As you continue teaching and making progress in your field, you can work toward tenure. Tenure will enable you to take a sabbatical, enjoy lengthy holiday and summer breaks, and gain more control over how and what you teach in the classroom.
Essentially, you can take control of your professional development and where you want to go in your career. You can throw yourself into exciting research, meet with like-minded individuals, and encourage young minds to impact your field significantly.
2. Little to No Pressure to Publish for Tenure
If you want to place your efforts solely on teaching, becoming a community college professor is an excellent career choice. Community colleges generally emphasize publishing less than other higher education institutions. Of course, some instructors do publish their work, but you can reduce stress by eliminating this tenure requirement.
However, keep in mind that this could limit or eliminate conference opportunities. While some people may enjoy this aspect, others may want to attend these events to gain more knowledge and further their development.
3. Teaching Adults
The job of teaching children is not for everyone, and a major benefit of teaching at community college is teaching adult students. The adults you encounter will already have some knowledge or experience in the world, so you can actively shape their education while gaining new perspectives.
Along with recent high school graduates, you may find mothers, fathers, veterans, retired people, and full-time workers. Your classroom can have a variety of individuals, each with a unique experience that allows them to impart wisdom that you may be less likely to find in more homogenous undergraduate groups. Furthermore, these students are committing to their education and are choosing to walk down this path, meaning they're more likely to be engaged in the classroom and excited to learn.
4. Increasing Job Demand
Community college relevance is increasing and so is the job demand for community college instructors. Over a 10-year period, experts expect the job demand for community college teaching positions to increase by 11%, which is quicker than many other industries. This gives you more control over where you work because many locations are looking to hire. This also means you can expect some job security even if you don't remain in the first institution you choose.
5. Competitive Compensation
On top of comprehensive professional and personal benefits like health care, extended breaks, and retirement savings, you can get a competitive salary teaching at a community college. Full-time professors earn an average of $54,542, and adjunct instructors make $2,700 on average per course.
As an adjunct instructor, you're free to take on as many courses as you like, and you can often work at multiple institutions. You can make much more than the starting salary once you gain experience, achieve tenure, and make contributions in your field. Jobs teaching high-demand subjects like math and English can earn you an even heftier starting salary.
6. Courses Are Broader and Less Specialized
Having fewer specialized courses means needing to meet fewer requirements to teach and being able to shape the curriculum in a way that works for you and your students. You will also have more flexibility in the instruction methods you choose. You can evaluate what strategies work best with your students and continue to educate them in the ways that are most effective.
7. Smaller Campus
Teaching at smaller campuses usually means you'll be teaching smaller classes—and a small class size can be a big benefit of community colleges. With fewer people in the course, you are more likely to see in-class participation. You can make stronger connections with your students and encourage more out-of-class discussions. Additionally, you may find it easier to know when to take a deeper dive into course materials or provide more creative challenges.
Succeed as a Community College Professor With Watermark
Watermark offers support for everyone on campus. From students to professors to administrative staff, our unique solutions increase engagement across the board and help institutions see progress faster. We provide accreditation management and assessment planning so higher education institutions can streamline efforts, promote transparency, and drive ongoing evolution.
We also catalyze institutional research by providing reporting, analytics, and centralized documentation. We make it easy to track trends and share findings that can boost strategic planning and support plans for improvement.
As a community college instructor, you can succeed in your role by delivering quality education to your students and using software that maximizes your efforts and reduces your workload. Solutions from Watermark Student & Engagement make it easy to spend more time connecting with students and less time completing repetitive tasks.
It's never been simpler to connect with students and close comprehension gaps than when using software from Watermark. Request a demo of our solutions and start driving change at your institution this year.
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