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Q&A: How difficult is it to get a job teaching at a community college teaching English?

by tom44 on March 21, 2013

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Question by desertrose571: How difficult is it to get a job teaching at a community college teaching English?
By the time I start searching for jobs, I’ll have a Master’s degree in English from a large state university and two years experience teaching introductory academic writing classes to college freshmen. I’d like to teach in an English or Women’s Studies department. I just wondered if anyone knows how difficult it is to procure one of these positions, especially in comparison with the extreme difficulty (and necessity of a PhD) in obtaining a teaching position at a 4 year university. Thanks!

Best answer:

Answer by daniel c
it seems like you are qualified. that’s cool. i got an associates in arts in english. i still haven’t used it though.

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4 thoughts on “Q&A: How difficult is it to get a job teaching at a community college teaching English?

  1. The Prince says:

    Sounds like you are well qualified. I am pretty much in the same boat as you except I am a Math major going for my Ph.D. I am assuming that you are looking for a full time job (with benefits, etc.). That will be hard to come by because the recent trend in community colleges has been to hire part time (because then they are not really “obligated” to give hours/work or the benefits. They will just pay you hourly). There are many people I know (in different fields too) that end up working at multiple institutions (all at part time status) to make ends meet. And then after a few years, you can push for a full time position. Unless, you know somebody has left the department or they want to expand the department and they are explicitly looking for full timers.

    But just to let you know, in comparison with trying to work for a four year university, it is much much easier to start work at a two year college.

  2. eri says:

    Take a look at this site: http://www.higheredjobs.com – it lists job openings at colleges and community colleges. It’s not comprehensive, but it’s a good place to start and to get a feel for what colleges are looking for in new hires. A masters should be enough, but a PhD could only help for community college – and will be a must for a 4-year college or university.

  3. R. B. says:

    Not my field, but I would think that it would depend on the specific location of the community college. I would think the jobs would be easier to get in a smaller, more rural area. In a suburban area you would probably have to compete with lots of other qualified candidates. Best of luck~

  4. Aunt Belle says:

    I agree with what the other respondents have said. I would add the following suggestions: While in your MA program, get whatever specialized training you can. Jobs in English and Women’s Studies are going to be rare, and you’re more likely to find a job teaching composition. With that in mind, you would do well to take any courses there are in the theory of teaching writing (which really will help you teach it, even if you’ve had experience). Within the general field of teaching writing, it is helpful to have a specialty, either ESL or writing with technology (which I don’t think is enormously important but which colleges find interesting).

    In terms of English and Women’s Studies, I would try to be as broadly qualified as you can, so you can teach the courses they really need. Some appointments end up looking like 2 sections of comp, 2 of American literature or some such.

    You might see whether anyone at your university knows faculty at your community college, and if so, whether you could do an informational interview with a few people in English and Women’s Studies to find out what you could do to become the strongest possible candidate.

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