Physics Instructor Minimum Education to Teach Community College

  • #1
anonimoustus
3
1
For California Community Colleges the minimum requirement for Physics instructor is:
Master's in physics, astronomy or astrophysics OR
Bachelor's in physics or astronomy AND Master's or above in engineering, mathematics, meteorology, or geophysics OR the equivalent.

If the MS Physics program has courses like this:
PHY526 Quantum Universe for Educators
PHY530 Physics Math Method for Educators
PHY531 Classical Mechanics for Educators
PHY532 Electricity and Magnetism for Educators
and the degree designation is MS Physics.

Would this program satisfy the Master's in physics requirement? Would a program like this be good enough to teach community college physics?
 
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  • #2
anonimoustus said:
Would a program like this be good enough to teach community college physics?
Key phrase in your statement: "minimum requirement".
You also have to get hired. You'll want to build a resume that's better than the others that apply. Maybe aiming for the minimum isn't the safest plan. I can pretty much guarantee it won't be enough in Pasadena or Silicon Valley; but Redding or Eureka? IDK.

But, sorry, IDK how they actually choose people.
 
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  • #3
"Minimum Requirement"?

No matter how bad you are at something, there is always someone better.
 
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  • #4
DaveE said:
but Redding or Eureka? IDK.
Stockton?

I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a lecture today.
 
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  • #5
Do you think there might be a difference between "Master's in Physics" and "MS Physics"?

Is the "MS Physics" from a university in the US?
 
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  • #6
It looks like this is the actual program OP is looking at: https://www.tamuc.edu/programs/physics-ms-teaching/#tamuc-section-59741. I can't see where they tell you what the requirements for your bachelor's degree are, which I think might be helpful in deciding how serious the courses are. Alternatively, there is a sentence on there that says "Our master’s degree fulfills the 18 hours of graduate physics credit required to teach at the community college level*."

OP, you should probably just reach out to the people running the program and ask these questions.
 
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  • #7
Haborix said:
I can't see where they tell you what the requirements for your bachelor's degree are,
Another page describes their "normal" MS Physics degree: https://www.tamuc.edu/programs/physics-ms/

It has a paragraph about the "teaching" MS Physics degree:

Physics Teaching Emphasis (Non-Thesis)​

The fully online teaching emphasis is designed for physics educators who wish to teach at the community college level or dual enrollment courses. An undergraduate degree in physics is not required, but we suggest undergraduate courses in calculus-based physics, modern physics and mathematics through differential equations.

I suspect that "fully online" might be the attractive feature here.

I suggest that the OP contact the school and ask if they can provide a list of institutions where graduates of the program have actually ended up teaching.
 
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  • #8
It sounds like this program is really geared to high school teachers who were likely not physics majors looking to get a MS and the salary boost that comes with it. While they mention "community college", I suspect that's in the context of moonlighting high school teachers.
 
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  • #9
jtbell said:
Do you think there might be a difference between "Master's in Physics" and "MS Physics"?

Is the "MS Physics" from a university in the US?
The wording on the qualification is Master's degree in Physics. Which is really vague. MS is usually more rigorous and a preparation for advance research (PhD). While MA is less rigorous compared to MS and geared towards teaching. Note that I emphasized "usually". Because it all depends on the university's program.
 
  • #10
Haborix said:
It looks like this is the actual program OP is looking at: https://www.tamuc.edu/programs/physics-ms-teaching/#tamuc-section-59741. I can't see where they tell you what the requirements for your bachelor's degree are, which I think might be helpful in deciding how serious the courses are. Alternatively, there is a sentence on there that says "Our master’s degree fulfills the 18 hours of graduate physics credit required to teach at the community college level*."

OP, you should probably just reach out to the people running the program and ask these questions.
The university is in Texas, so its all good in Texas. But I'll be using the degree in California. So, I emailed one of the instructors at the community college (California) regarding this. He advised me to ask the university (Texas) about it.
 
  • #11
When you call you might ask how many of their alums teach community college, and how many do so in California.
 
  • #12
anonimoustus said:
The university is in Texas, so its all good in Texas. But I'll be using the degree in California. So, I emailed one of the instructors at the community college (California) regarding this. He advised me to ask the university (Texas) about it.
You should probably talk to the people in HR, not an instructor. They're the ones who deal with whether you meet the requirements or will need to jump through additional hoops.
 
  • #13
The department chairman should have a good idea of what "works" for an applicant, if he's been through a few hiring cycles.
 
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  • #14
And the department chair might actually provide useful information. The HR person is likely to just read you the ad.

That said, with so many applicants, I doubt very much the minimum is relevant.
 
  • #15
There are two questions here. First, do you meet the minimum requirements so you can legally be hired by the college for the job? That's the question the OP is asking. HR handles that issue. Most likely, the MS Physics degree will be all the OP needs, but if not, he or she has to apply for equivalency, which, again, HR handles. Once you get past that hurdle, there's the separate question of what qualities do you need to actually get hired. Obviously, you'd like to say more than you meet the minimum requirements. For that, talking to an instructor or department chair can be helpful.
 
  • #16
I think we all understand the distinction between the question asked and what the OP needs to know.

 
  • #17
Vanadium 50 said:
I think we all understand the distinction between the question asked and what the OP needs to know.
Clearly you didn't. There's the question @anonimoustus asked and wanted answered, and the question you wanted to answer, which didn't address the issue at all.
 
  • #18
"Yes this meets the requirements"
"But I got this degree and couldn't get a job"
"Zat is not my dog."
 
  • #19
anonimoustus said:
For California Community Colleges the minimum requirement for Physics instructor is:
Master's in physics, astronomy or astrophysics OR
Bachelor's in physics or astronomy AND Master's or above in engineering, mathematics, meteorology, or geophysics OR the equivalent.

If the MS Physics program has courses like this:
PHY526 Quantum Universe for Educators
PHY530 Physics Math Method for Educators
PHY531 Classical Mechanics for Educators
PHY532 Electricity and Magnetism for Educators
and the degree designation is MS Physics.

Would this program satisfy the Master's in physics requirement? Would a program like this be good enough to teach community college physics?
and from @vela
Clearly you didn't. There's the question @@anonimoustus asked and wanted answered, and the question you wanted to answer, which didn't address the issue at all.

and from @Vanadium 50
"Yes this meets the requirements"
"But I got this degree and couldn't get a job"
"Zat is not my dog."


As many of us are aware according to common insight, "yes", Master's degree in Physics is the requirement for teaching Physics at a USA community college. Many candidates will have more than just that minimum of the requirement, and who also compete for c.c. teaching positions. WHAT! You think that a candidate with PhD is overqualified and would not be accepted to teach at a c.c. ? Poke around a little. You will find some.
 
  • #20
I looked it up. In Eureka, the number of full-time physics faculty is....one.
He has a PhD.
 
  • #21
Plus, probably, some part-time adjunct instructors who are paid per course and whose numbers vary from semester to semester. Not something to make a career of, except as a supplement to a "real job" or a stepping-stone to a full-time position.
 
  • #22
Vanadium 50 said:
It sounds like this program is really geared to high school teachers who were likely not physics majors looking to get a MS and the salary boost that comes with it. While they mention "community college", I suspect that's in the context of moonlighting high school teachers.
It appears that it would meet the requirement for a full-time physics instructor at a community college. Unfortunately, there is a very limited pool of qualified people applying for these positions.
 
  • #23
Here it is the other way. The local CC has one full-time physics professor. He's the department chair, and his job is to assign the various part timers - mostly high school teachers - to the various courses and sections.

I know they got 100's of applications for this position.
 
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