Are you considering a career as an instructor and teaching professor? If so, you’ll need to be well-informed about the process of becoming a professor at a community college. A community college offers accessible and affordable postsecondary education that is often located near the students who enroll there. Community colleges are different from other types of colleges in that they offer programs that prepare students for transfer to another school or to begin their career with a degree from that institution. Prospective professors should have good communication skills due to the nature of the job, and one way to achieve this is through speech communications, public speaking, and media production electives while at school. If you’re interested in becoming a professor at a community college, read on for more information.
How To Become A Professor At A Community College?
1. Know what you’re getting into
Before you start down the path to becoming a professor, it’s important to know what that path entails. While teaching at a community college is a rewarding career path, it is not always easy. The path to becoming a professor at a community college is long and arduous and will likely take 10-15 years. That’s right: You need to plan on working toward this career for most of your adult life. You also need to be prepared to earn significantly less than you would if you pursued a career as a tenured professor at a four-year institution. Many people pursue a career as community college professors because they want the freedom of being their own boss. This is the case for those who want to specialize in a specific field, such as history or computer science. Other people choose this career path because they want to give back to the community by helping others succeed and achieve their educational goals.
2. Earn a Ph.D. in your chosen field
You need to obtain a Ph.D. in your chosen field of study for two reasons. Firstly, you need to prove to both yourself and others that you have the knowledge and expertise to teach others. Secondly, you need to obtain a Ph.D. in your field because a Ph.D. will increase your earning potential in other fields as well. You can choose to earn your Ph.D. at a traditional university or through an online program. Earning a Ph.D. at a traditional university, however, comes with significant benefits, including a reduced course load, access to a wide range of resources, and the chance to network with like-minded peers. You also need to be prepared to commit to long hours of research, teaching assistantships, and financial pressures. You can earn a Ph.D. online, but you must be careful to choose a reputable program. Many online Ph.D. programs leave students with a ton of debt with very little to show for it.
3. Build your teaching portfolio
You need to start building your teaching portfolio as soon as you decide to specialize in a specific field. Your portfolio will help to convince future employers that you have the necessary experience to become a professor. Your portfolio can include examples of your published work, syllabi from courses you have taught, letters of recommendation from former colleagues, and examples of your work with students. You need to be careful, however, not to plagiarize in any part of your portfolio. Your teaching portfolio should demonstrate your expertise in your chosen field. Your portfolio can be developed in two ways. You can create a website and include examples of your work, information about your career, and links to your contact information. Alternatively, you can keep a physical portfolio that you can bring to any interviews or meetings with potential employers.
4. Become an adjunct professor
Adjunct professors are professors who have already been hired by a college or university to teach one or more specific courses. One of the best ways to become an adjunct professor at a community college is to network with faculty members who teach at the college you want to work at. Most colleges and universities have a website where you can find names and contact information for the people you need to speak to. Call the people who hire adjunct professors and ask to meet with them. Tell them why you want to work for their college and ask them for advice and tips on becoming a successful adjunct professor. If you have a connection to someone at the college, you are more likely to become a successful adjunct professor. Colleges want people who will be successful in the position. Having a connection with someone who can vouch for you makes you more likely to be hired.
5. Network with students and colleagues
If you want to become a professor, you need to build a network of colleagues and students who will vouch for you throughout your career. You should join your local chapter of Phi Beta Kappa and become involved in your local community college. Talk to students in your classes, get to know the faculty, and join any clubs or organizations that interest you. You can use social media to network with colleagues and students. You can also create your own website or blog and include information about your career and interests. The more people who know who you are and what you are doing, the better. You never know when someone will be able to help you advance in your career. Your network will provide you with support and advice throughout your career as a professor.
Why You Should Become A Professor At A Community College?
You’ll have more time for research
Most community colleges are linked to a large research university, but the expectation is that faculty at the community college are going to spend the majority of their time teaching. If you’re hoping to spend a big chunk of your time conducting research, this may not be the best fit for you. However, most people who choose to move to a community college job find that they have much more time to focus on research, which they often find to be a big draw.
Community Colleges offer better job security
Because many community colleges are linked to research universities, they may be able to offer you something that’s not always available at research universities: job security. At research universities, many professors are either on the tenure track or only have a one-year contract. At community colleges, most faculty are on a multi-year contract. This can be a big draw for people who want to make academia a long-term career.
Community Colleges pay well
While this varies by institution, many community college faculty make a good living. According to the American Association of Community Colleges, the average salary for a full-time professor in 2015 was just under $80,000, which is far higher than the average salary for a professor at a research university.
You’ll get more mentorship opportunities for your students
If you’re interested in teaching undergraduates, a community college job offers you the unique opportunity to have a more mentorship-focused relationship with your students. As a professor at a community college, you’ll have smaller classes and more one-on-one time with your students, which means you’ll have a chance to get to know them on a much deeper level, and they’ll have more one-on-one time with you. You’ll also have more chances to mentor undergraduate students, which many find to be a rewarding experience.
Your courses will be smaller and more flexible
With smaller class sizes and more mentorship opportunities for your students, you’ll find that your courses are going to be much smaller and more flexible. This gives you the chance to really customize your courses to meet the needs of your students. You’ll have more flexibility to teach your courses in a way that best meets the needs of your students.
Tips For Aspiring Professors
- As you prepare to become a professor at a community college, keep a few tips in mind. First, be sure to choose a college that is a good fit for you.
- You may be able to find several colleges that would be a good fit, but you don’t want to waste your time applying to schools that won’t consider you for a position.
- You should also be sure to take advantage of networking opportunities. These may include attending events and joining organizations that are related to your desired field of study.
- You may be able to find a mentor or someone who can help guide you during this process.
If you’re interested in becoming a professor at a community college, you’ll need to earn a Ph.D. and have some teaching experience. Additionally, you’ll need to apply for positions and interview for a teaching position at a community college. Be sure to keep these steps in mind as you prepare to become a professor at a community college.