Watching a professor in the thick of it, deciphering complex concepts you are interested in, and dropping the occasional dad joke can be a joy to behold for the intellectually curious.
However, it doesn’t take long before you begin to wonder what hoops you have to jump through to get the chance to do the professing yourself. If you are wondering whether you can teach at a university with a Master’s degree, here are the facts.
Can You Teach at a University with a Masters Degree?
The short answer is yes, but it depends.
Sure, you can teach at a university with only a Master’s degree. Still, the acceptance of this certification and the opportunities you can access can vary significantly from school to school.
Typically, at most US schools, the minimum educational requirement for college professors is a master’s degree. However, many college departments set intra-departmental rules that mandate a doctorate for all full-time professors.
Hence, as a Master’s holder, you may be restricted to opportunities where you work as a temporary assistant professor or as a graduate assistant.
Nevertheless, the roles available you depend on the school, as for more prestigious colleges, you will be restricted to lower positions. In contrast, at a community college, a master’s degree may be enough to become a full-time professor.
Fields with a Higher Chance of Teaching with a Master’s Degree
In many areas of study, other requirements like real-world practical experience and research experience hold as much weight as advanced qualifications. Here, a Master’s degree can easily be sufficient to get you hired as a professor if you have years of experience to boost your application.
Furthermore, the constitution of the university goes a long way, as a research-focused institution is more likely to higher someone with 15 years of world-class research experience in a related field even if they only have a Master’s degree.
It also helps if you have plenty of teaching experience in other academic settings or outside of academia.
Some popular fields were extensive practical experience can often warrant Teaching with a Master’s Degree include:
How to Increase your Chances of Being Hired
Apply to Smaller Universities
One of the best ways to significantly boost your chances of being hired is to apply to smaller universities and colleges that are more likely to have a shortage of Ph.D. professors.
Niche Down on Your Field
Since you are working with a lower educational qualification than what most schools get, you should make your job-seeking efforts extremely targeted. For example, if your specialization is in composition, you should apply to related jobs instead of aiming at everything in the literature department.
Start with Continuing Education Courses
Universities are more likely to take a chance by higher you for their continuing education courses as these courses are non-credit and do not hold as much weight as the regular curriculum. Starting here can also provide you with the teaching experience you need in aiding your pursuit of more gainful permanent employment.
Apply for Adjunct Positions First
Your chances of getting the job rise significantly if you opt to apply for temporary positions, from where you can work your way up to full-time employment. At some schools, you can even pair your adjunct employment with enrollment in one of their Ph.D. programs.
Highlight Practical Experience and Teaching-related Skills
One of the best ways to boost your portfolio and increase your chances is to convey any relevant skills on your resume. Any experience related to teaching, whether in academia or not, is a big plus.
Who you Know Matters
If you have contacts or referrals at a particular college, they could serve as your way to get in on an adjunct or permanent position
Other Options for Teaching with a Master’s Degree
A Master’s degree is often sufficient for teaching jobs, especially part-time, at most community colleges. Hence, a community college is often the quickest way to get your foot in the door and get some teaching experience.
Two-year colleges offer an excellent platform for aspiring professors with a master’s degree to hone their craft and get some experience under their belt. These schools typically have a lower bar set for employment, and for many two-year colleges, a master’s degree will do.
Many undergraduate teach-from-home courses have a lower bar of entry for employment than a typical university. Hence, these platforms can be an excellent starting point for people with a Master’s degree.