Postsecondary teachers teach students beyond the high school level. They work with adults to instruct them in many different academic subjects as well as career and technical areas. They may also publish scholarly books and papers and conduct research. They work in a variety of places such as junior or community colleges, professional schools, private colleges and universities, or career and technical schools. Their hours are flexible outside of class time and may spend available time in student advising, research, or administrative activities.
How to Become a Postsecondary Teacher
Postsecondary teachers require a doctoral degree if employed by a 4-year college or university. Some schools may consider a candidate with a master’s degree or those still earning a doctoral degree, however these positions are teaching lower level courses to freshmen or working as an adjunct which is only a part-time position. Community colleges, technical programs, and career schools may also consider hiring one with a master’s degree, however competition is strong because of the numbers of applicants wanting to work there. Holding a Ph.D may give you an edge when applying.
In rare cases, postsecondary teachers who instruct students in career and technical courses such as cosmetology or culinary arts may not require graduate-level education. However, they must have the degree in the program that they are teaching. Experience as well as education in the subject matter you are teaching will assist in securing a job at a career or technical school.
Job Description of a Postsecondary Teacher
Postsecondary teachers have the duties of teaching courses in their subject area and working with students that are taking classes to help improve their knowledge or career skills. They ensure their courses meet department and college standards by developing instructional plans. He or she works with other colleagues to notify or develop the curriculum for a certificate or degree program that involves a series of courses.
A postsecondary teacher grades papers, exams, and assignments and advise students on course selections to achieve their goals. He or she remains current in any innovations or changes in their field and perform experiments and research in their field to advance their own knowledge. They may supervise graduate students who are working toward doctoral degrees. A postsecondary teacher publishes original analysis and research in academic journals and books. They serve on administration and academic committees that review and recommend policies, promotions and hiring in their departments, and make budget decisions.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Postsecondary Teachers.
National Center for O*NET Development. 25-1194.00. O*NET OnLine.