How to Become a Higher Education Teacher?

Higher Education Teacher

Higher education teaching can be a challenging and rewarding intellectual endeavor. Besides imparting knowledge and skill, and further exploring a subject you're passionate about, you can learn from the inquiries and experiences of your colleagues and students. Communication, critical thinking and instructional skills can help you succeed in higher education teaching. While teaching in higher education institutions, you would likely give lectures and publish original research papers on your subject of expertise. Teaching higher education can also demand that you modify your educational style on a regular basis to accommodate students with little or no experience, as well as those with knowledge of the subject matter, to enable both to advance in a particular area. You'd probably teach university or professional day, evening or weekend courses, as well as hold office hours and research during the academic year and summer. Besides meeting course schedules and administrative meetings, you'd likely have the flexibility of creating your daily schedule.

How to Become a Higher Education Teacher

To engage in higher education teaching at the university level, you would likely need to possess a doctoral degree related to your area of higher education teaching. Professional schools and junior colleges may consider candidates with master's degrees or those in the process of getting doctoral degrees. Teaching higher education subjects in areas such as culinary arts or cosmetology may not require you to possess graduate-level education. However, cooking or cosmetology schools may require you to present evidence of certification and experience in such areas. Teaching in higher education institutions may also require you to have previous instructional experience. You can gain such experience by working as a graduate teaching assistant. Working in a government agency, business, or nonprofit organization can also be a valuable source of practical experience in regards to teaching in higher education institutions.

Potential Career Earnings of a Higher Education Teacher

The median annual wages of higher education teachers depend on their area of expertise. For instance, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2012, postsecondary teachers specializing in law ($99,950), engineering ($92,670), and economics ($87,950) were among those who made higher national median annual wages. Those teaching recreation and fitness ($57,920) and vocational education ($47,990) as well as graduate teaching assistants ($31,270) were among those on the lower end of the national median annual salary scale.

Between 2010 and 2020, the BLS reports that the number of higher education teaching positions is expected to grow 17 percent. As a higher education teacher, you can teach an increasing number of students at for-profit institutions as a part-time or adjunct professor. Of course, finding a position in public colleges and universities is dependent on whether state or local governments can allocate budget monies to cover salaries. Meanwhile, the BLS reports, part-time or adjunct positions are replacing tenure positions, a guarantee that professors cannot be dismissed without just cause.

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Sources:

  1. Education, Training, and Library Occupations, Occupational Employment Statistics May 2012, June 12, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_stru.htm#25-0000
  2. Economics Teachers, Postsecondary, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics May 2012, March 29, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes251063.htm
  3. Engineering Teachers, Postsecondary, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics May 2012, March 29, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes251032.htm
  4. Graduate Teaching Assistants, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics May 2012, March 29, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes251191.htm
  5. Law Teachers, Postsecondary, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics May 2012, March 29, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes251112.htm
  6. Postsecondary Teachers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-2013 Edition), April 10, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm
  7. Recreation and Fitness Studies Teachers, Postsecondary, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics May 2012, March 29, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes251193.htm
  8. Vocational Education Teachers, Postsecondary, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics May 2012, March 29, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes251194.htm

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Associate of Arts: Early Childhood Education
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