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Educational requirements vary with the subject taught and the type of educational institution. Most commonly, postsecondary teachers must have a Ph.D. However, a master's degree may be enough for some postsecondary teachers at community colleges. In career and technical schools, work experience may be important for getting a postsecondary teaching job.Education
Postsecondary teachers who work for 4-year colleges and universities typically need a doctoral degree in their field. Some schools may hire those with a master’s degree or those who are doctoral degree candidates for some specialties, such as fine arts, or for some part-time positions.
Doctoral programs generally take multiple years after the completion of a bachelor’s degree program. They spend time completing a master’s degree and then writing a doctoral dissertation, which is a paper presenting original research in the student’s field of study. Candidates usually specialize in a subfield, such as organic chemistry or European history.
Community colleges or career and technical schools also may hire those with a master’s degree. However, in some fields, there are more applicants than available positions. In these situations, institutions can be more selective, and they frequently choose applicants who have a Ph.D. over those with a master’s degree.
Postsecondary teachers who teach career and technical education courses, such as culinary arts or cosmetology, may not be required to have graduate-level education. At a minimum they must hold the degree of the program in which they are teaching. For example, the teacher must hold an associate’s degree if they teach a program that is at the associate’s degree level. In addition, work experience or certification may be just as important as education for getting a postsecondary teaching job at a career or technical school.Other Experience
Some institutions may prefer to hire those with teaching or other work experience, but this is not a requirement for all fields or for all employers.
In health specialties, art, or education fields, hands-on work experience in the industry can be important. Postsecondary teachers in these fields often gain experience by working in an occupation related to their field of expertise.
In fields such as biological science, physics, and chemistry, some postsecondary teachers have postdoctoral research experience. These short-term jobs, sometimes called “post-docs,” usually involve working for 2 to 3 years as a research associate or in a similar position, often at a college or university.
Some postsecondary teachers gain teaching experience by working as graduate teaching assistants—students who are enrolled in a graduate program and teach classes in the institution in which they are enrolled.
Some postsecondary teachers, especially adjunct professors, have another job in addition to teaching.Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Postsecondary teachers who prepare students for an occupation that requires a license, certification, or registration, may need to have—or they may benefit from having—the same credential. For example, a postsecondary nursing teacher might need a nursing license or a postsecondary education teacher might need a teaching license.Advancement
A major goal for postsecondary teachers with a doctoral degree is attaining a tenure—a guarantee that a professor cannot be fired without just cause. It can take up to 7 years of moving up the ranks in tenure-track positions. The ranks are assistant professor, associate professor, and professor. Tenure is granted through a review of the candidate’s research, contribution to the institution, and teaching.
Tenure and tenure track positions are declining as institutions are relying more heavily on part-time faculty.
Some tenured professors advance to administrative positions, such as dean or president. For information on deans and other administrative positions, see the profile on postsecondary education administrators. For more information about college and university presidents, see the profile on top executives.Important Qualities
Critical-thinking skills. To challenge established theories and beliefs, conduct original research, and design experiments, postsecondary teachers need good critical-thinking skills.
Interpersonal skills. Most postsecondary teachers need to be able to work well with others and must have good communication skills to serve on committees and give lectures.
Resourcefulness. Postsecondary teachers need to be able to present information in a way that students will understand. They need to adapt to the different learning styles of their students and teach students who have little or no experience with the subject.
Speaking skills. Postsecondary teachers need good communication skills to give lectures.
Writing skills. Most postsecondary teachers need to be skilled writers to publish original research and analysis.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Art Instructor
Top Careers After Art Instructor
Hispanic or Latino10.9%
Black or African American0.6%
Unfortunately we don’t have enough data for this section.
Savannah College of Art and Design11.6%
School of the Art Institute of Chicago6.3%
School of Visual Arts6.1%
Florida State University5.8%
Academy of Art University5.3%
Virginia Commonwealth University5.3%
University of Phoenix5.1%
University of Iowa4.8%
Montclair State University4.5%
New York University4.3%
San Francisco State University4.3%
University of Houston4.3%
Fashion Institute of Technology4.3%
Georgia State University4.0%
Northern Illinois University4.0%
Wayne State University3.8%
Columbia College Chicago3.8%
Texas State University3.8%
Unfortunately we don’t have enough data for this section.
|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Temporary Art Instructor||National Academy of Design||New York, NY||Apr 18, 2016||$104,350|
|ART/Instructional Director||YPI Charter Schools, Inc.||Los Angeles, CA||Oct 01, 2011||$80,000|
|ART/Instructional Director||Youth Policy Institute Charter Schools||Los Angeles, CA||Oct 01, 2011||$80,000|
|Temporary Art Instructor||National Academy of Design||New York, NY||Jan 02, 2016||$68,871 -
|Temporaty Art Instructor||National Academy of Design||New York, NY||Apr 21, 2016||$68,871 -
|Curriculum & Instruction Arts Initiative/Vapa Coor||Twin Rivers Unified School District||McClellan Park, CA||Jan 30, 2012||$64,293 -
|Game Art Instructor-Maya||Academy of Interactive Entertainment||Lafayette, LA||Aug 01, 2012||$62,610|
|Art Instructor||The Imagine Bus Project||San Francisco, CA||Nov 03, 2009||$62,610|
|Art Instructor||In Art, Inc.||Los Angeles, CA||Jul 19, 2012||$61,776|
|Art Instructor||Dream Catcher Art Studio, Inc.||Los Angeles, CA||Aug 09, 2012||$61,776|
|Art Instructor||San Jose Art Academy||Santa Clara, CA||Aug 31, 2012||$60,700|
|Animation and Media Arts Instructor||Inner-City Arts||Los Angeles, CA||Aug 31, 2013||$46,010|
|Ad-Interim Instructor of Art Foundation||Texas A&M University-Commerce||Commerce, TX||Dec 17, 2013||$45,000|
|Art Instructor||San Jose Art Academy||Santa Clara, CA||Sep 02, 2015||$44,800|
|Instructor of Art||Gainesville State College||Oakwood, GA||Nov 10, 2011||$44,686|
|Art Instructor||The Victoria College||Victoria, TX||Jul 10, 2010||$43,543|
|ART/Instructional Director||YPI Charter Schools, Inc.||Los Angeles, CA||Oct 01, 2011||$43,500|
|Art Instructor||Long Island Conservatory, Ltd.||Albertson, NY||Oct 01, 2011||$43,300|
|Bakery/Pastry Arts Instructor||Culinary Institute Inc.||Houston, TX||Sep 11, 2013||$37,000|
|Performing Art Instructor||Kon Wah Inc.||NY||Feb 10, 2015||$36,858|
|Animation and Media Arts Instructor||Inner-City Arts Foundation||Los Angeles, CA||Sep 01, 2010||$36,480|
|Art Instructor||Boston Higashi School, Inc.||Randolph, MA||Dec 18, 2012||$36,400 -
|Art Instructor||San Jose Art Academy||Santa Clara, CA||Feb 07, 2014||$35,479|
|Art Instructor||Monkey Tiger Art & Design Inc.||Chino Hills, CA||Oct 01, 2012||$34,456|
|Visiting Faculty-Art Instructor||Minneapolis College of Art and Design||Minneapolis, MN||Aug 25, 2016||$34,380|
|Art Instructor||Museuem of Art/Ft Lauderdale Nova Se University||Fort Lauderdale, FL||Jun 11, 2011||$34,000|
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