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Teaching High School and College-Level Physics

  • Physics
  • Thread starter eli23
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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

Hi All,

I recently decided to go after a Physics B.A. with a concentration on teaching. This degree takes away some of the upper-level physics courses you need to take for the B.S. or regular B.A., but now requires a minor in education. So, along with the general courses and four physics electives, I need to take education courses. The degree only prepares you to teach K-12, which is fine, since I'm interested in teaching high school physics. I know that I will have to get a masters in education (at least I'm almost sure), but what happens if I want to also teach at a community college/at the college level? Am I pretty much doomed? I'm thinking that to teach anything above the high school level, I'd have to go to graduate school for physics rather than education. This is bad because I would have to then take the physics GRE, which I won't be prepared at all for, since the upper-level classes are cut for the B.A. with the teaching concentration. Truthfully, I would like to teach both levels, beginning with the high school level. I just have no idea how this works. I've tried speaking to my advisor before he retired, and my new/current one, but honestly I'm not having much luck, or even actual responses. Any comments/opinions/advice would be most appreciated!

Thanks :-)
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
symbolipoint
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Community colleges want people with graduate degree to teach there. Maybe take more courses than the high-school teacher objective requires so you can at least attempt to work toward qualifying for graduate school, which will also make your Physics subject knowledge more secure.
 
  • #3
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Community colleges want people with graduate degree to teach there. Maybe take more courses than the high-school teacher objective requires so you can at least attempt to work toward qualifying for graduate school, which will also make your Physics subject knowledge more secure.
Hi symbolipoint, thanks for replying. Do you know if I would have to get a separate masters degree in physics alone? Would I be going to graduate school for education for high school and for higher-level physics? If not, that's OK. I do understand they'd like to see a graduate degree in physics though. I guess I would have to try and study for the GRE on my own to make up for the classes I didn't take as an undergrad.
 
  • #4
DrSteve
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In my neck of the woods it is nearly impossible to get a community college position without a PhD in the field in which you want to teach. Perhaps your neck of the woods isn't as competitive of mine (SF-Berkeley), but a MS in the field will almost certainly be a prerequisite to be a viable candidate.
 
  • #5
symbolipoint
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Hi symbolipoint, thanks for replying. Do you know if I would have to get a separate masters degree in physics alone? Would I be going to graduate school for education for high school and for higher-level physics? If not, that's OK. I do understand they'd like to see a graduate degree in physics though. I guess I would have to try and study for the GRE on my own to make up for the classes I didn't take as an undergrad.
The best of what I understand is that a graduate degree in PHYSICS would be necessary to teach Physics at a community college; but you'll need to check on the finer details.
You imply that you finished your undergraduate degree already. Maybe you could return through some open-university method for a couple more Physics or science courses, or more than for just a couple.
 
  • #6
jtbell
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For college teaching, I think the bare minimum requirement enforced by accrediting agencies is 18 hours of graduate-level courses in the field that you want to teach. This is definitely true for 4-year colleges in my region, but I'm not sure about community colleges. Probably at most this would get you an adjunct position, paid by the course (maybe $2500 to $3000 per lecture course). As noted previously in some/many locations there may be enough competition from people with degrees that this isn't enough in practice.
 

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