The last decade has seen a massive rise in the number of teaching positions at community colleges. Across the United States, more than 150,000 positions were advertised in the 2017–18 academic year. That’s more than double the number advertised just 10 years earlier. Is this simply a blip or a sign of things to come?
There are many reasons why more and more college teachers are gravitating towards community colleges. The first and most prominent is geography. With most community colleges being situated in beautiful rural areas, there’s a huge demand for teachers who can live and work near to where they teach. If you fit the bill, you can live the dream and enjoy a life in the great outdoors. The other big draw is the workload. Typically, a community college will only employ tenured or tenure-track professors, which means that there’s usually a lot of autonomy and responsibility involved in each course you teach. In exchange for this flexibility, you will certainly need to put in a lot of hours. While the work isn’t necessarily hard, it’s definitely not something you will get a 40-hour work week off for.
If you’re looking to make your way in academia, teaching at a community college is a great choice. There’s more than one reason why geography matters so much when applying for a teaching position at a community college. To start with, let’s look at the demand for community college teachers in comparison to other academic settings.
- According to 2019 figures from the American Association of Community Colleges, there were a total of 152,569 jobs available at community colleges across the United States in the 2017–18 school year. This was an increase of 14.4% in just four years.
- Despite the growth in jobs at community colleges, overall employment in the field is still below what it was before the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the American Association of Community Colleges, there were a total of 162,943 jobs available in academia in 2011 before the pandemic. Since then, there has been a 19.5% decline in the number of available teaching positions.
- Meanwhile, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there was a 26% increase in the number of people looking for jobs in education throughout the country in March 2020.
Demand for teachers at community colleges is high, especially in the fields of psychology, speech, and hearing sciences, and social sciences. If you’re looking to make a name for yourself in academia, teaching at a community college is a great choice. The geography factor alone makes it worth considering, as you’ll likely be teaching close to home, which in turn, makes it easier for you to attend conferences and seminars, as well as connect with other professors, especially in your field.
Community Colleges Are A Great Place To Start
If you’re looking to make your way in academia, teaching at a community college is a great choice. There’s more than one reason why community colleges are a great place to start.
- The number of open positions at a community college is always a good way to gauge the appetite for new teachers. In 2019, there were a total of 14,932 jobs available at community colleges across the country, just about enough to fill a quota.
- As noted by the American Association of Community Colleges, there has been a lot of interest in teaching at a community college since the 2014–15 school year, probably due to an increase in the number of online classes and the rise of the blended-learning movement. This is also the case in Canada, as community colleges there have seen a similar increase in enrollment due to the pandemic.
- In the midst of the pandemic, when everyone is scrambling for a job, it’s usually those in well-established academia with several publications, grants, and patents under their belt that get the first call. However, even after the pandemic, it’s still a steep climb to get to the top as a newly minted professor. If you’re looking to make a name for yourself in academics, teaching at a community college is a great choice.
The Great Outdoors
Another great thing about rural areas is the opportunity to teach in the great outdoors. If you’re a nature lover, you’ll likely find plenty to do with leaves turning color and kids playing in the backyard, not to mention the occasional moose or bear visiting the area. If teaching in the great outdoors is a dream for you, there’s plenty of opportunity out there. You just need to know where to look.
The Workload Is Relatively Light
If you’re looking for a low-stress job with fewer hours, consider a teaching position at a community college. You won’t get burnt out teaching the same material to the same group of people every semester, as the workload is usually very light. Instead, you will generally get a set number of courses each year, which means there’s a good chance you’ll get to teach something new each time you face your students. In 2019, the average student–to–teacher ratio was 10:1. If you’re looking to make a change and have a new experience each day, consider a teaching position at a community college.
If you’re looking for a new challenge and would like to teach in a different setting, consider a community college. With more than 150,000 jobs available and plenty of opportunity to grow, you can be sure there’s plenty of work out there. If you get the right opportunity, you can live the dream and enjoy a new challenge each day while making a difference in someone’s life.