College Instructor Teaching Requirements

College Instructor Teaching Requirements
  • Opening Intro -

    While colleges and universities employ full, assistant and associate professors, many schools augment their faculty with part-time or adjunct individuals.


These people typically must hold at least a master’s degree and must have much experience in their respective fields. Although colleges and universities may ultimately determine what qualifies an individual to teach, there are some guidelines for college instructing that is near universally accepted.

Field of Study

Individuals seeking to work as college instructors must have corresponding experience in their intended teaching field. For instance, a certified pubic accountant may meet the requirements to teach finance courses, but she would not qualify to teach science courses.

Universities typically seek Ph.D. candidates to fill open positions, individuals whose research experience meets the university’s needs. For part-time faculty, a master’s degree may be acceptable, provided the candidate has sufficient work or research experience as well.

Degree Quality

Not all like degrees are treated alike by colleges and universities. A Ph.D. may qualify you to teach nearly anywhere, but within academia an unspoken rating system exists. For instance, a degree from Harvard or Stanford carries more weight than one from the University of Idaho or South Carolina State University. Academia places much emphasis on reputation and prestige when weighing candidate applications.

Although special consideration is often given for an Ivy League or other elite institution candidate, those individuals that obtained their degrees with highly valued departments at other schools may be desired as well. For instance, a graduate of Boston College’s Ph.D. in nursing program may be received in the same light as one from Yale University. Both departments are highly regarded in academia.

Academic Setting

The Ph.D. holding job candidate will find many more college instructor opportunities than those without a top degree. Nevertheless, the requirement for adjunct faculty can differ from full-time staff with exceptions allowed for individuals holding a master’s degree.

A master’s degree is acceptable for all colleges and some universities, with smaller institutions more likely to accept candidates with a master’s degree. If you are seeking a teaching position at a community college, a technical college or a junior college, a master’s degree is almost always sufficient.

Hiring Requirements

Holding the right degree may not be enough to teach at many institutions. When applying for a position, your curriculum vitae will be examined carefully. Thus, if you have teaching experience, that information must be included.

Even adjunct faculty must maintain office hours and be accessible to the department chair. Institutions want to provide the same level of teaching regardless of the academic status of faculty members and your ability to complement the team will have a large bearing on whether you are hired or not.

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Categories: Advanced Education