What does a Community College Professor do?

Daniel Liden

A community college professor is a professor who teaches at a community college. Community colleges are also referred to as junior colleges, city colleges, or technical colleges and usually focus on lower-level post-secondary level education. Most community colleges also offer programs that allow students who did not finish high school to become certified in high school level academics, allowing them to pursue higher education. A community college professor is usually focused exclusively on course planning and instruction, as community colleges are not focused on research.

Community college professors must grade homework, papers, and exams.
Community college professors must grade homework, papers, and exams.

A community college professor generally has a higher teaching load than professors at other universities and colleges that grant higher degrees. Teaching is typically the exclusive focus of the community college professor, which results in more work with students and less time for private academic pursuits. Another factor that leads to the increase in workload is the absence of graduate students, who often work as teaching assistants at other institutes of higher learning. A community college professor, then, will usually be responsible for grading the homework, papers, and exams done by his class without outside assistance.

A community college professor generally has a higher teaching load than professors at other universities and colleges that grant higher degrees.
A community college professor generally has a higher teaching load than professors at other universities and colleges that grant higher degrees.

The volume of students that passes through a community college also offers unique challenges and opportunities to the community college professor. Professors often need to teach many classes during the week and need to be able to work with a very diverse student body. It is usually not difficult for students to get into community college, so the professors must be able to instruct students at all different academic levels. Some community college professors find the work incredibly fulfilling because of the amount of influence that they have on the lives of their students. Other professors, however, prefer to exclusively instruct higher-level students.

Community college professors may work with older students who have returned to school.
Community college professors may work with older students who have returned to school.

The salary of a community college professor is sometimes slightly less than that of a professor at a four-year college, and some community colleges may have slightly lower hiring standards. This is because the focus is usually exclusively on teaching.

Community college professors need to be able to work with a very diverse student body.
Community college professors need to be able to work with a very diverse student body.

There are many opportunities for advancement at community colleges, and some professors will eventually find themselves in administrative roles. The salary of a community college professor tends to increase with time, and community college professors typically become distinguished by good teaching. Some community college professors can even become tenured professors, but not all colleges offer this option.

A community college professor may serve as a mentor to students.
A community college professor may serve as a mentor to students.

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Discussion Comments

anon327383

I have found, as a full-time community college teacher, that classroom teaching tends to be only about half the job.

Other duties include curriculum development and updating, committee work, helping to orient and evaluate part-time instructors, assessment activities and conducting staff development.

Most job descriptions like the one above do not fully depict the weight or the variety of work involved.

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