Community College Instructor Career Facts

Community college instructors are considered post-secondary teachers and they can include technical instructors. Community colleges are also called "two year" colleges. The US Community college system is the largest public education system in the world. In the US there are 109 community colleges, teaching 2.5 million students and awarding half a million associate degrees and certificates annually. Their primary role is providing high value, low cost, education and training in a very wide range of subjects, professions and trades.

The associate degrees provide useful entry level qualifications and training for higher tertiary institutions. This role for community colleges is considered their role in future education, meeting the very high levels of demand within the society for access to fundamental levels of education at an affordable level.

Community college instructors and the social role of community college education is receiving a lot of attention in the US. Bureau of Labor Statistics figures indicate that the increase in teaching positions will be 23% in the coming decade. 

The Work Environment

The work is essentially based on state and Federal requirements. Community college teachers are usually graduates, with a Masters degree or higher.

The community college instructor's position is commonly a full time job or combination of jobs. This work may include several part time roles in several subjects. A holder of dual degrees, for example, may teach in both subjects at the same community college. The basic work regime is based on classes and related work. Actual classes may involve teaching up to 18 hours per week in a particular subject. Additional work relates to necessary administration of the classes, student consultation and tests. 

Community college instructors may or may not participate in other organizational roles within the college, depending on their teaching streams and the specific needs of the college in these areas. This work may include active participation in relevant K-12 programs, engagement with college grants issues and other related work.

The average wage is approximately $55,000 per year and the hours vary on class schedule, office hours and other commitments.

The Career Environment                      

An interesting statistic regarding community college instructor's careers is that job satisfaction is reported as exceptionally high. Over 70% of US community college teachers surveyed reported very strong levels of joy in their work and considered their roles meaningful. 

Teaching, training and instructional jobs are traditional academic career roles for advanced education careers. A community college instructor's career path is that the role contains considerable flexibility and opportunities for job mobility. The teaching experience itself is valuable in terms of creating opportunities for higher teaching roles. 

The projected expansion of the community college role in national education is likely to create a large number of opportunities for experienced community college instructors. The need for specialist teachers is therefore expected to be high.