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What does it take to be a Community College Algebra professor?

  1. Dec 21, 2009 #1
    Just as the thread title says, what does it take?
    The reason why I am asking this is because I've been a math tutor for the past 2 years and I actually enjoy helping and tutoring students with algebra. Algebra is definitely my strongest subjects that I tutor and people find that I make most of the concepts much clearer and easier to understand. I am actually a Civil Engineering major and completed all the math that is required (Calculus 1,2,3, Differential Equations and Linear Algebra). I plan on minoring in math once I transfer because the minor only requires two more courses at the university. But back to the question, I was wondering if I would be able to teach Algebra even though I will receive a degree in Engineering. Is it possible? What should I do? Any advice is appreciated. Thanks!
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  3. Dec 22, 2009 #2
    I am not an expert on this topic, but I was under the impression that community colleges expect at least a Master's degree in subjects where a Master's degree is available.
  4. Dec 22, 2009 #3

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    First, there is a difference between a community college instructor and a community college professor. The former is a low-paid, often part-time position, and the latter is full-time, tenure track, and somewhat less poorly paid: but much harder to get. The local community college has one physics professor (the department head) and 9 instructors. In mathematics the department is larger, but they have many, many part timers: virtually all are local high school teachers looking to supplement their income by teaching a class at night.

    Professors require a PhD. Most, if not all, instructors have a MA/MS.
  5. Dec 22, 2009 #4


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    Community colleges require at least a masters degree to teach. You don't necessarily need a masters degree in math to teach math, but you DO need a minimum number of credits in math at the masters level to teach anything above remedial math courses at the college level. Not all people with masters degrees are teaching part-time at community colleges - both my aunt and uncle teach at a large CC in NY, and they're both tenured professors with only masters degrees in their fields (and they're making more than some of the professors at my state university).
  6. Dec 22, 2009 #5


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    I don't think this is quite true. Maybe it's different in different areas. I know a couple people who were teaching math part time at a community college but who were in school to get a master's because they needed it to teach full time (and they subsequently couldn't hack the basic classical analysis course and dropped it; reach whatever conclusions you wish).
  7. Dec 22, 2009 #6


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    OK, I'll rephrase. A community college will expect a masters degree or more to be hired full-time, but many will hire you as an adjunct after completing a certain amount of masters coursework in the field you want to teach. But the ones in my area (which admittedly have rather low standards) still expect at least a year of masters coursework before they'll consider you as an adjunct.
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