Community College Teacher Certification Requirements and Information
Research community college teacher career information. Learn about the certification requirements, education requirements, career prospects and salary to make an informed decision about becoming a community college teacher.
Community college teachers are professors and instructors who work at the postsecondary level, teaching in 2-year college settings. Unlike professors, who work in 4-year colleges and universities, the focus for these professionals is more often on teaching, with less emphasis on research and publication. Similar to other teachers, a certain amount of community college teachers' effort goes into curriculum planning, class preparation, student evaluation and responding to student inquiries. Teachers at the postsecondary level also must remain current in their fields, and for this reason they perform research, engage in discussion with colleagues and attend academic conferences. Course loads for community college teachers are often higher than those for teachers in 4-year institutions, because their research requirements tend to be lower.
Community college teachers do not have state-mandated requirements for teaching certification. Some schools may require specific coursework in education, but they generally look for work experience as proof of teaching competency. For that reason, teaching experience during graduate programs, including work as a teaching assistant, may prove useful for those pursuing a career as a community college teacher.
Teaching at the community college level generally requires at least a bachelor's degree with additional graduate-level coursework in the area to be taught. Most 2-year colleges prefer to hire teachers who hold at least a master's degree in relevant subject matter, and some look for qualified instructors with doctorates in the appropriate fields.
Some schools are now offering graduate-level certificates for community college teachers looking for a formal grounding in educational theory. These certificate programs may be partially or completely offered online and are in addition to graduate work completed in the field of study.
Salary Information and Employment Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that the number of positions for available for postsecondary teachers, a classification of which community college teachers are a subset, would increase by 17% between 2010 and 2020 (www.bls.gov). This growth is attributed to both population growth and increased demand, because a greater number of students are anticipated to seek postsecondary education. The compensation for community college teachers varies widely based on specialty, geography and level of education. According to the BLS, the average annual salary for the field of junior college teachers in 2012 was $71,210, but many can be paid much less. The BLS reports the salary range for most postsecondary teachers overall was $26,800-$145,340 that year.
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