I'd Like To Teach As An Adjunct. What Post-Bachelor's Degree Should I Pursue?

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Tony Schroeder, Jan 16, 2002.

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  1. Tony Schroeder

    Tony Schroeder New Member

    Hi Gang,

    You've been so helpful to me in (nearly) completing my Excelsior Bachelor's degree that I thought I'd query the resident experts as to my next educational endeavor.

    A bit of background: I own an independent insurance agency, and have been self-employed since 1988. My Excelsior Bachelor's will be a BA with Concentrations in History and Literature in English (thank you, GRE Subject exams). I would like to teach part-time, in Business, History, or English, perhaps teaching full-time as a second career. I will have completed my CPCU designation by the end of 2002 as well.

    I know many of you have taught or are teaching as adjunct faculty. What qualifications do community and technical colleges seek in hiring part-time faculty? Would I be better off pursuing an MBA, or perhaps a liberal arts MA? Would you recommend a different program for someone intending to teach online? If I intend to eventually seek a PhD, which Master's degree would be most appropriate?

    I would value your opinions. Thanks!

    Regards,


    Tony
     
  2. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    My experience as an adjunct has shown me a few things. First, MBAs are a dime a dozen. (I have one.) You are much more competitive if your educational and work backgrounds are in more-sought areas. The subjects you mention are pretty well supplied.

    The subjects you mention don't exactly fall under one degree specialty. If it's business you want to teach, get an MBA. If it is English or History, get an M.A. in the respective subject.

    Most of all, get a Ph.D. (or other doctorate). Schools I've interviewed with and those I've taught for have all made it clear that having the doctorate makes all the difference. They're usually struggling to show a sufficienct proportion of doctorate-holders on their adjunct faculties.

    Rich Douglas, currently teaching two classes as an adjunct.
     
  3. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    I've taught at two different 2-year colleges, and both state they want a Master's degree in the field you'll be teaching, although there are a couple of adjuncts with just a Bachelor's degree.

    As Rich mentioned, if everything else is nearly equal, the applicant with the doctorate will trump every time.


    Bruce
     
  4. hworth

    hworth Member

    I have taught as an adjunct since 1988 in community college, 4-year schools, and graduate programs at universities. While I think Rich is correct that it is easier in most cases to get hired as adjunct if you have a Ph.D., many schools like hiring masters degree holders as adjuncts because there is less chance the adjunct will be on a full-time teaching job search. At the 10 colleges and universities I have taught at, the vast majority of adjuncts were, like me, masters degree holders.

    That being said, I agree with Rich that the MBA is not a really good option. Both because there are too many people with the degree and because many programs are not specific enough to prepare you to meet the requirements to teach (e.g., most MBA programs do not have 18 hours of accounting which a community college might require to teach an accounting class.) An MA, MS, or M.Ed. in a discipline normally taught at both community and 4-year school is going to be the best bet for getting a position as an adjunct.

    Finally, what disciplines seem to be in the most demand:

    1) computer science (but if you get a masters in computer science, you can make a lot more doing computer science than you can doing adjunct teaching)

    2) accounting/finance (but the same applies here)

    3) English (if you are willing to teach lots of composition classes)

    4) American History - which is a requirement at about every community college in the US

    On the whole, though, my experience is that getting offered adjunct teaching is more about timing than anything else. My first teaching assignment at each of the 10 colleges and universities I taught at over the years was as a last minute replacement for someone else. The institution was happy with the way I handled that course and hired me back for more.

    Hope this helps,

    Hworth
     
  5. Tony Schroeder

    Tony Schroeder New Member

    Rich, Bruce, & Hworth,

    Many thanks for the advice offered!

    I had considered pursuing the MBA because of the large number of insurance-related courses I've taken and the plethora of available programs made completeing the degree by DL a real possibility. Perhaps that has something to do with the current MBA overpopulation!

    One Master's option that I find intriguing is the MS in Education offered by Cal State Hayward. Would I be correct in thinking that a school looking to begin or enhance an online degree program would look for faculty with that skill set? I've considered the possibility of pursuing that degree and an MA in another discipline to broaden my background.

    Again, thanks for the advice.

    Regards,


    Tony
     
  6. Leslie

    Leslie New Member

    Hi Tony -- last August I finished the MEd program at Hayward and as of now, I am employed by 5 different professional development providers, one university, and have several curriculum design contracts underway. All of my teaching and curric design work is via the internet -- I work from home.

    The first four courses in the CSUH program are the Graduate Certificate program. You can get whatever masters degree you want and then have the grad certificate in OTL to add to that. That will provide you with opportunities to work in start-up online programs in colleges.

    The CSUH program is good -- several of my grad school colleagues are or will be teaching courses in the program. I will be teaching one of the required courses beginning this summer. Most everyone I know from the program is currently working in DL. My colleagues were a mix of education and business people -- and the degree has been an advantage to all of us.
    Leslie
     
  7. Dr Dave

    Dr Dave New Member

    Tony, you first need to decide which subject is your strongest preference. Unfortunately, the ones you listed do not fit under a single umbrella, given their diversity. I taught business as an adjunct faculty member in Continuing Eduation at a private four-year college in NH. Over time, I got to meet several of my peers and found that, like me, all held master's degrees. (I have an MBA.) If you're competing with a PhD in the applicant stream, he/she will probably snag the position at a four-year school. Most full-time day and part-time adjunct faculty at community colleges hold master's degrees only, as there is no emphasis on research at those institutions. On your last question about doctoral preparation, that topic has been debated without any firm resolution. However, in Business, MA degrees are often preferred for entry into PhD programs. But MBA degrees are the more natural lead in for DBA programs. I hope this helps.

    Dave
     
  8. Tony Schroeder

    Tony Schroeder New Member

    Hi Tony -- last August I finished the MEd program at Hayward and as of now, I am employed by 5 different professional development providers, one university, and have several curriculum design contracts underway. All of my teaching and curric design work is via the internet -- I work from home.

    Sounds like you're busy!

    The first four courses in the CSUH program are the Graduate Certificate program. You can get whatever masters degree you want and then have the grad certificate in OTL to add to that. That will provide you with opportunities to work in start-up online programs in colleges.

    That's a clever idea, Leslie. Thanks for the insight.

    The CSUH program is good -- several of my grad school colleagues are or will be teaching courses in the program. I will be teaching one of the required courses beginning this summer. Most everyone I know from the program is currently working in DL. My colleagues were a mix of education and business people -- and the degree has been an advantage to all of us.

    I believe it may be for me, as well. I am curious, Leslie - how long did it take you to complete the Master's degree? Can you give an idea of the total cost of the program?

    Many thanks for your help!

    Regards,


    Tony
     
  9. Tony Schroeder

    Tony Schroeder New Member

    Hi Dave,

    Tony, you first need to decide which subject is your strongest preference.

    A prescient observation, Dave! of course, that's been my problem. :)

    Most full-time day and part-time adjunct faculty at community colleges hold master's degrees only, as there is no emphasis on research at those institutions.

    I have noticed that most of the adjunct faculty at my area colleges hold Master's degrees. Could be that the PhDs find overcast and flat NW Ohio less than appealing!

    On your last question about doctoral preparation, that topic has been debated without any firm resolution. However, in Business, MA degrees are often preferred for entry into PhD programs. But MBA degrees are the more natural lead in for DBA programs. I hope this helps.

    A big help indeed, Dave. Thanks for taking the time to reply.

    Regards,


    Tony
     
  10. Candice423

    Candice423 New Member

    Hi, Tony -

    First, do you know WHY you want to teach (or just as important, why you WANT to teach) ? As you are self-empoyed, you might want to list with continuing ed and/or adult ed providers who do 'how to be successfully self-employed' workshops, and the like. There, your present credentials would be enough.

    As a long-time adjunct lecturer at both CCs and universities, I've found that it's most important to teach something you are passionate about. What subject areas make you want to keep learning more? Timing is important to getting that first assignment, but student outcomes (and evaluations) are important to being asked to return. And it's no fun at all - for anyone - if the teacher isn't excited by the topic.

    If you want to teach 'in retirement', definitely go for the doctorate, but don't do THAT unless you REALLY like your topic. Good luck!
     
  11. Leslie

    Leslie New Member

    I finished the masters degree in 10 months but was able to transfer in one grad course so all I had to take was 9 courses (including the thesis course). The first quarter I took all four of the certificate courses though I would not recommend that to anyone who hasn't already had online teaching experience (which I had at the time). Those first courses are only 5 weeks each -- but believe me when I say you'll do 10 weeks worth of work for each course!!!!

    The cost for each course is $595 -- so if you take all 10 courses for the degree, it's about 6K (did I do the math right????) Books are NOT expensive (and some courses don't even require books!)

    As for teaching college, I enjoy teaching community college and professional development online -- all you need for that is a masters degree. There are plenty of jobs out there if you want to work full time for a college and then contract out for online teaching as well.

    I run continuous searches on several job search sites -- and the teaching jobs are plentiful for those with masters degrees. The full time positions are all on campus; the DL positions are adjunct. But I have my hands full and then some just doing adjunct work :) It's fun and every quarter/semester is different -- never "same old same old"!!

    I am still toying with the idea of getting my phd -- but for now I'm just too busy! I actually enrolled in Capella and dropped out after the second day. That just so happened to be the day when I received four emails offering me courses to teach and I had already committed to teaching two courses - talk about timing - another week and I would have lost part of the tuition I'd paid (as it was I got a full refund)!! I could not see paying quarterly tuition part time (I originally had planned to do the phd full time in a couple of years).

    Good luck in your decision making process. Let me know how it turns out!!
    LB
     
  12. Tony Schroeder

    Tony Schroeder New Member

    Hi Candace,

    Ah, there's the problem...apparently, I'm passionate about too many subjects. :)

    Your points are well-made. Thanks!

    Regards,


    Tony
     
  13. Tony Schroeder

    Tony Schroeder New Member

    Thanks for taking the time to reply, Leslie!

     
  14. drwetsch

    drwetsch New Member

    Typically a master's degree is required and at larger schools they will be more interested in you if you hav a doctorate.

    Another item to be aware of is that SACS requires that you must have 18 graduate hours in the teaching discipline. Reference http://www.sacscoc.org/pdf/Proposed%20Principles%20of%20Accreditation.pdf under the Faculty section (p. 13)

    Other regionals have may have similar requirements and I know that these were enforced at the RA schools I have taught at.

    John
     

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