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Physics Aspiring H.S./CC physics teacher advice

  1. Dec 18, 2008 #1
    I recently graduated with a B.S. in Applied physics, and I currently have two possible career routes that could satisfy me: finding a career in the applied sciences, or becoming a high school and/or community college physics and math teacher. This thread pertains to the latter option.

    I am looking at returning to my college to get a master of arts in education with a teaching credential. However, I have heard that it is better to get a masters of science education, which will apparently make me a more desirable candidate in general. In regards to teaching at the community college level I was told that the MA in education wouldn't work at all, and that I would need the MSE.

    In general I would want to pursue the path that made me into a better physics teacher in general, and also looked the best to hiring high schools and cc's. I have researched this some myself, but I would appreciate any advice from people knowledgeable in the area to help my search.

    Thanks for any and all help.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 18, 2008 #2
    I don't know where you are, but most community colleges I know of (United States, midwest) require you to have a master's degree (any) or higher and at least...oh, something like 18 credit hours of graduate-level coursework in the subject you are to teach.

    High school requires a bachelor's degree and state certification/license, which usually requires completion of a teacher ed program of some sort. That's what I'm in now--an alternative program, since I already had my bachelor's (and master's) and wanted to teach right away.
  4. Dec 22, 2008 #3
    Yeah I guess basically I wanted to know if it would be better to get the Masters of Education or the Masters of Science Education, for someone who wanted to teach physics at the high school and community college level.
  5. Dec 23, 2008 #4
    I don't think it matters (just be sure the program is accredited). Most state schools will have programs through the college of education that specify that they will meet the coursework requirements for "teaching certification" or "teaching licensure"... that would lead you into which programs would be suitable. It would be best to do a program in the state where you desired to teach (transferal from state to state can be difficult and requires lots of paperwork).

    You'll also have to pass a small battery of (very easy) tests (the Praxis)... both in general pedagogy and in your subject. The required forms of the tests, especially the subject tests) vary by state (ex, there are four different chemistry tests and four different physics tests... and they'll only be offered in states where that particular form of the test is required).

    To teach at a community college, you generally need a master's degree (or even Ph.D.) in the subject that is going to be taught (ex. physics). I'm not sure that an MSE would help you get a job in a community college physics department.
  6. Mar 10, 2011 #5
    High school needs a bachelor’s degree and state certification/license, which frequently requires completion of a teacher Ed program of some type. That's what I'm in now--an another program, because I previously had my bachelor's and wanted to teach right away.
  7. Mar 10, 2011 #6
    Community colleges generally require some sort of masters although not necessarily in the topic you are teaching. In some cases, this is a firm requirement that the accreditation agency forces on them.

    Having said that, if you have a masters in any sort of science, it's extremely easy to get an adjunct position teaching community college, although the pay for this is incredibly low.

    One other thing that you should think about is becoming an adjunct instructor for the University of Phoenix. The pay is low, and they require you to have been employed for two years with some other job as your primary employer.

    One thing that you need to worry about is that the trend for community colleges seems to be going toward the UoP model in which you have a very small number of permanent faculty, and lots and lots of adjuncts.
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