How to break-in to adjunct teaching (economics)

Discussion in 'Online & DL Teaching' started by DanielC, Aug 22, 2015.

  1. DanielC

    DanielC New Member

    I'm seriously considering a career change and looking to obtain the education and qualifications necessary to teach economics. I've only got a BS (Business) and looking to apply to MS programs. I was checking out community college job boards and they list "Master of Arts or Master of Science degree in Economics"

    I've mostly been finding MS Applied Economics (both the local B&M university and many of the online) ... is that equivalent? Would I be able to teach with a master's degree in applied economics?
  2. FTFaculty

    FTFaculty Well-Known Member

    Yes. Depending on your region you'd only need either 15 or 18 graduate credit hours in a field. An MS in applied econ, presumably about 36 credit hours give or take (which my university offers by the way) is going to have the requisite courses necessary to qualify you to teach for any region or an AACSB-accredited university in economics.

    Of course, being qualified to teach on paper and hired to teach are two very different things. Perhaps contact department chairs directly, get to know people in your area who make decisions on this, if you live in a large metro, there should be several schools to contact. Check out the Chronicle of Higher Ed and, both of which most universities use to post jobs. Once you get a masters, you'll have a pretty fair chance of landing an adjunct slot somewhere, online or onground. Try starting with the school where you are studying for the MS.

    If you have a penchant for writing or research, read some journals in your field, many will be available online or could be checked out at a university library. See what's expected, find out what academic writing really is. Join a professional association of economics academics. Volunteer to peer review articles (it is not unheard of for a non-academic professional to do so, I did so before I got into FT academia). After you gain an understanding of what's expected, perhaps write an article of your own and present at a regional conference in your area. You'd be presenting before people who are professors in that field, those who sometimes make decisions on hiring, both for adjuncts and full time. If you think "What, I can do that? They'll really let me?" The answer is very often "yes", you just pay the conference fees and present a paper (which doesn't have to be polished before you present). Great networking tool.

    After you obtain the master's, maybe you shoot for a PhD. By that time if you've done the above, when you apply for a tenure track position, you'll be more than a random name and vita, you'll be a face and name that academics remember. Expect this to take time and very hard work, expect that you must go all in, not just dabbling, to make it happen.

    One last thing: econ is a very tight field right now, lots of PhD grads, not exactly an overwhelming number of jobs. Accounting and finance are hot, general management is probably better than econ. But if it's gotta be econ, go for it.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2015
  3. edowave

    edowave Active Member

    Very tight is an understatement. When I was in my PhD program in operations management at UF, I decided to concurrently do a masters degree in economics with the idea of being able to adjunct in that field on the side. I also taught an undergrad econ section at UF to check the box for experience.

    After graduating, I essentially found it impossible to find an adjunct gig in econ, either online, or at a local CC. There are so many PhDs in econ out there with more experience and more papers under their belt than I have. I think some of these CC's hire based on the thickest CV.

    I was considering doing the things the FTFaculty pointed out to get my name out (peer review, present at conferences, etc) and beef up my CV, but for the going pay rate of $300 per credit/semester, realized the opportunity cost was not worth it for me. I make more than that now adjuncting as a scuba instructor.
  4. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Surely that's more fun anyway?
  5. edowave

    edowave Active Member

    Going scuba diving - yes.

    Teaching scuba diving. - depends on the students you get, but I guess that's with any teaching.

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