Teach at community colleges with an Associates

Discussion in 'Online & DL Teaching' started by MaceWindu, Jan 17, 2023.

  1. MaceWindu

    MaceWindu Active Member

    Can one teach at the community college with just an Associates degree? If so what can one teach?
  2. Rachel83az

    Rachel83az Well-Known Member

    If there are any CCs that hire people with just Associate degrees, I would assume that they'd only be able to teach non-credit hobby courses. Probably not even the developmental English or math courses for students who aren't ready for English Comp or College Math.
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  3. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    This detailed article says no. In fact, Master's or Doctorate required - no exceptions listed.
    https://resilienteducator.com/teaching-careers/community-college-teacher/#:~:text=A community college teacher needs,instructors with prior teaching experience.

    I also found this source that says a Bachelor's is the general minimum for K-12. There are, however, some exceptions - areas in which a person having a certain associate's degree may teach certain K-12 courses.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2023
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  4. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    At least back in the day, certain programs like Medical Assisting were considered to have the Associate degree be their terminal degree, and thus someone with only that could be an instructor. I saw that at what is now Keiser University, for example.
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  5. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    You're 100% right, Steve. That still goes, apparently. Here's the FIRST exception those guys I cited missed:

    "Minimum Requirements: Associate's degree in Medical Assisting or related field required; Bachelor's degree or higher preferred."

    Now I have the key - I can likely find others. Or anybody can. All you have to do is pick a field and ask Google "What education is needed for teaching xxx at Community College?" If I start talking about Associate degrees it gets confused and starts listing programs.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2023
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  6. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    With an Associate's, you'll likely be confined to teaching the particular skill you learned in your degree program. Sometimes, years of experience will get you a teaching job, in vo-tech fields. Here's an example:

    A degree in industrial technology
    is the most likely path for the auto mechanics teacher, but it is possible to receive a degree in another field and be licensed if the student has received adequate vocational training in the field. Some states will allow teachers to receive alternative certification in this way also (Emphasis mine - J.)

    Here in Canada, high school teaching can work differently, for tech subjects. My son became a HS teacher of tech subjects - mostly computer, but woodwork, metalwork, auto shop etc. as well. He had a community college diploma, not tech-related (no degree - CC's in Ontario did not award degrees at the time and still most awards are diplomas.) and 10 years of work experience involving tech. That experience was a requirement for his program at Teacher's College. He is in his 21st year of teaching now and it has been a rewarding and satisfying career for him.
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2023
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  7. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Community colleges, typically, have two tracks: academic and vocational. In the academic tracks (often leading to an AS or AA degree), a relevant master's is the typical requirement. These tracks are also meant to transfer students to 4-year schools to complete their bachelor's degrees--even though many stop at the associate's.

    The vocational tracks (often leading to an AAS degree) typically require at least an associate's degree and considerable relevant experience. These tracks are designed to prepare students to enter certain vocations, not higher degree programs. Transferring credits from them to a 4-year degree program can be hit-or-miss sometimes.
  8. AsianStew

    AsianStew Moderator Staff Member

    It really depends on the college and subject you're really wanting to teach at, requirements differ if it's a 'liberal arts/science' to 'vocational/trades'. In different provinces of Canada and states of the US, it sometimes really does range in requirements. Example, BC Canada has the Provincial Instructor program and Online teaching cert add-on, anyone without a degree can go for this if they have a trades qualification.
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  9. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

  10. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Again, let's not lose sight of the distinction:
    • Career track (AAS or career courses): little or no minimum beyond high school
    • Academic track (AS or AA intended for transfer to bachelor's): relevant master's degree with 18 grad hours in relevant subject.
  11. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

    LBCC's Administration of Justice program is offered as an AA and AS-T (Associate of Science for transfer).
  12. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    So it does. There are always exceptions to be found. But note that under "Desirable Qualifications" a master's is indicated. I suspect that's who will actually get the job. (But that's only informed speculation.)
  13. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Hang on. Couple of things. First, I think I'm being too dogmatic here. The distinctions between academic and vocational programs at CCs do exist, but I'm excluding the possibility of CCs using experienced instructors in their academic programs--it might not be what I called an "exception." I really don't know.

    Which leads me to my second point. Apologies to Chris. He gave us a useful example and I tried to reduce it to an "exception" without any basis. Sorry, dude. My bad.

    In fact, I'd like to know if this (teaching academic classes with less than a master's) is a "thing." I do know that the Community College of the Air Force a) awards AAS degrees because, and b) has received criticism for, the fact that the vast majority of instructors at Air Force technical schools (where these credits are amassed) have less than a bachelor's degree and, in fact, even an associate's.

    I keep forgetting that the world is complex, dynamic, and changing. Sigh....
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  14. siersema

    siersema Active Member

    I have taught at Ivy Tech, Indiana's Community College, for some time. The only difference I've noticed between the AS and AAS programs is the AS programs are designed for transfer into a 4-year degree. Minimum qualifications seem to differ by program. Some requirements list a bachelor's degree and some a master's; no current openings list an associate's. Within the IT & Cybersecurity programs I teach, there are often certification requirements in addition to the degree component. Security+ has been a big one for my courses.
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  15. cacoleman1983

    cacoleman1983 Well-Known Member

    I've taught at my local community college with just a Bachelor's degree in a defunct Academic Success department that housed all of the remedial/development courses. I taught developmental mathematics and at one point was offered to teach IT courses in the IT department when I was attempting to get my foot in the door to gain teaching experience. At the time, you could teach courses that were non-transferable courses without a Masters, credited or non-credited. For IT, I could teach those courses because they were designed only for professional purposes for an Associate of Applied Science degree, and had earned that degree from that department.

    Currently, my community college is now part of my state's university system and the remedial courses have been restructured to be able to be taken co-requisites with credited courses because students were spending two years or more still in remedial courses and were taking twice as long or more to graduate with even an Associates degree. It's actually harder now to return to teaching because of this as well as not ever returning to complete 18 graduate credits of mathematics. For IT, it is harder to attempt to enter because of low enrollment and more red tape in getting hired through the new Workday system.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2023
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  16. JoshD

    JoshD Well-Known Member

    At the Community College that I teach at, a Masters is required to teach academic courses.
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  17. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Well-Known Member

    Rich is correct that there is a distinction between academic (AA, AS, AE, etc) and vocational programs (AAS) at community colleges. Community colleges are generally public and falling under the accreditation of the legacy regional accreditors. The instructor or faculty member on record for vocational programs (AAS) ideally has a masters degree in the field. This is often improbable and accreditors have alternative credential qualification procedures. Many community colleges will reduce the faculty credential requirements to as low as an AAS + 3 years of documented industry experience. It is also not uncommon to have Faculty Qualification Exceptions, where you can bring someone in with a portfolio assessment that documents 7-10 years of professional expertise in a given field. Interestingly enough though when providing portfolio exceptions, industry credentials and board license do not count. Administrators have to painstakingly go through to obtained signed company letterheads that pair up industry experience with student learning outcomes. Thee justification bundles are headache inducing and require signed letterhead documentation supporting everything.

    The challenge with using a mere Associates + 3 years experience or Faculty Qualification Exception processes primarily has to do with audits. The accreditors pull from their various institutions, faculty and administrators to audit each other. As they are auditing processes and not subject matter, the majority of auditors will have a traditional liberal arts background. Because that is the core of most schools. So when individuals with liberal arts graduate degrees see faculty members in AAS programs not having the same credentials they have… red flags and spotlights go off and everything is questioned. At that point, a lot of subjective discretion enters and headaches occur… so many institutions preempt those headaches by raising their qualification requirements and making them ‘generic’. Such as a Masters in Vocational Technology. But that leads to other headaches….
  18. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Well-Known Member

    Tried to add another lengthy edit, but timed out. Will simply state that there are two other areas of headaches for community colleges when we deal with AAS Faculty not requiring graduate degrees. (1) Articulation agreements become complicated. Recent changes have made it so, generally, AAS programs are considered non-transferable by articulation agreements unless the institution mandates graduate degrees for faculty qualifications. This has led to a lot of rescinded formal articulation agreements, and them being replaced by informal understandings. While the effect may be the same, it creates student confusion. (2) ABET often accredits engineering programs, although it’s arguably losing the pull it once had. It is often managed by traditional research university engineering faculty and administrators who only recently acknowledged online learning as valid. They can be adverse to non-graduate degree requirements for engineering technology faculty at community colleges.
  19. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    At the very first CC where I taught the rule was you could be hired to teach, part-time, with a bachelors degree. You could only get tenure if you had a Masters or Doctorate, however.

    They had some sort of exception in place for instructors in vocational programs. That was, I believe, more about years of experience. You didn't need a bachelors degree to teach welding, truck driving etc. I believe the distinction fell along the lines of whether it was a vocationally focused degree program (such as the A.A.S. in Automotive Technology or the A.A.S. in Culinary Arts) versus a non-degree vocational program such as welding, CDL prep and a handful of others. Even if it fell into a degree program, I believe you could be hired as an adjunct (separate from "part-time") which basically had you brought on to teach a specific course for a specific term. So you might need a bachelors to be an HVAC instructor who was regularly employed. But you could be brought back every semester to teach Survey of Dramatic Air Conditioning.

    They also seemed to flex on nurses. There were nursing instructors with no bachelors but an RN, full time instructors with no Masters and all sorts of other variations. Given the limited labor pool and the value of that program to the college, however, I'm not surprised some rules maybe need to be bent to afford faculty some stability.

    Biggest thing, though, is that I seldom see two similar community colleges. Some are much more focused on prepping you for academic transfer. Some are better at vocational programs. Some are good because they have excellent articulation agreements. Others have standalone programs that really bring it. A community college a county or so over from me has a full culinary program including its own college owned restaurant where students train. And it's a pretty good restaurant! Same college also has its own farm because of its ag programs (including viticulture). Meanwhile, the CC where I taught most recently had almost no vocational programs and it seemed like everything they did was geared toward being a great transfer option. So there is no area where your mileage may vary more than community colleges, IMHO.

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