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Teaching physics in a community college

  1. Feb 25, 2013 #1
    As a new PhD in physics I am exploring all the options I have. It seems like teaching in a community college is rewarding, relaxed, and well paying (given that you are at certain parts of the country). Anybody taught at community college a full time instructor?

    How was it?
    How busy were?
    Do you have time for family and personal activities during the week?
    I have been looking at CC in California and they pay very well. Are they hard and competitive to get?

    Feedback is appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 25, 2013 #2
    I never have. I have worked as a tutor at quite a few for many years. I believe the positions are extremely hard to get. Its a great job with high pay and benefits. Naturally they get lots of applicants, there are few available positions and often the available positions are for benefitless, part time temporary work. The schools I have worked at have a floor on the salary they are allowed to pay for a full time teacher. Since they cant afford that they just hire part time. They wont let you haggle for less money to get a full time position. I would love the job, but the positions are few and I only have a Master's and cant compete against the PhDs.

    Does the school you are looking at actually have an opening for a full time teacher?
  4. Feb 25, 2013 #3
    Yes, there are openings every now and then. For example, Irvine Valley College has an opening but they want at least two years of experience which I don't have. I will apply but not sure I will get it. BTW: why do you say you can't compete with PhDs? It doesn't seem to matter since the ability and commitment to teaching is what matters.
  5. Feb 25, 2013 #4
    Can you spin your various TA duties into some experience? Thats what I did when I applied to such jobs. I never had full time teaching experience, but I had lots of part time tutoring, lab leading and lecturing as a TA experience. Of course I never got the job either so... :P
  6. Feb 25, 2013 #5
    Try Cypress college where I go, it's a pretty good school I think with a lot of good and friendly physics faculty
  7. Feb 25, 2013 #6
    Do they have an opening? I have not seen one.
  8. Feb 25, 2013 #7


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    Those jobs are going to get hundreds of qualified applicants. If you do get the job, you'll be teaching 5 classes a semester. Have you ever taught a class on your own before? Prep for even one new class is a ton of work, let alone five, and that's not counting the grading, teaching, office hours, and labs.
  9. Feb 25, 2013 #8
    who knows, but a number of the faculty have master degrees and not PhD, so maybe you are even more qualified than the already hired faculty? I know one of the professors retired last year and I'm not sure if he has been replaced
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