Career Overview – Community College Teacher

By Brenda on February 7th, 2012



Community college teaching is one of the highest rated jobs in terms of job satisfaction that exists. In a recent industry survey, approximately 85% of community college teachers said they were satisfied or highly satisfied with their occupation. One reason the job is so satisfying is that the faculty member gets to discuss and teach a subject that they have a high degree of interest in, as well as be surrounded by people who enjoy the subject as well. Faculty members also cite the enjoyment they receive as a result of imparting their expertise to students.

Community college teachers typically need a master’s degree in their discipline to teach. This makes the field much more achievable than that of a four year college or university professor that typically must have a doctoral degree. The average PhD takes six years to earn with less than six percent ever finishing.

Community college teachers’ duties are much different than university professors. For example, university and four year college professors spend about 25% of their time conducting research in their field compared to about 3% for community college teachers. Those with a true passion to teach find the research requirement at the four year level a bit stifling.

Instructors at two-year schools earn on average $60,000 a year while working just nine months per year. Some choose to teach summer school, which brings in extra income. Typically full time faculty members at the community college level end their academic duties in June and return in August or September.

Full time faculty at the community college level also have a high degree of freedom and flexibility. Those teaching a full load of courses must be in class on average of 12-16 hours per week. They must also spend about 3-6 hours per week meeting with students during set office hours.

This is a time where they can provide one-on-one council and assistance to students in their courses. Faculty members are also engaged in committee meetings to varying degrees. It is up to them on how much time they spend preparing for class and handling course management duties such as grading, etc.

Community College teaching positions are expected to increase at a rate of 15% through 2018. That rate of growth is quicker than the average. Demand is driven by swelling enrollment levels at community colleges, career schools, and technical/training schools.

Job prospects vary greatly by area, institution and academic discipline. Many faculty members also earn money from outside consulting, writing, and lecturing.


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