Teachers at community colleges have a vast impact on the United States educational system. According to the American Association of Community Colleges’ 2011 data, 12.4 million students are enrolled in community colleges across the nation. Additionally, competition for jobs at community colleges is much less steep than it is at 4-year institutions, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Part-time and renewable term jobs at community colleges should be especially lucrative, says the BLS.
Choose several nearby community colleges where you might like to work. Visit their websites to see if they have job openings, and peruse the requirements for those jobs. Some jobs require a Master’s degree or higher, while others may only require technical knowledge or work experience in a certain field.
Return to school to earn a higher degree, if necessary. According to the BLS, most community or two-year colleges require their full-time teachers to have Master’s degrees, while part-time or adjunct professors may only need a bachelor’s degree.
Apply for federal financial aid at FAFSA.ed.gov if you choose to go back to school. The government provides grants for students pursuing their first bachelor’s degree, and for some students in post-baccalaureate teaching certification programs.
Prepare your application package. Most community colleges will have specific requirements for applications, including a list of questions for you, an assigned essay, a list of required transcripts or letters of recommendation and an application deadline.
Develop a Curriculum Vitae, or CV (a resume for teachers), to include in your application package. This document should include your past teaching experience, education, interests, community service and volunteer work and involvement with school committees. When listing your qualifications, the Modern Language Association (MLA) recommends creating a “job match sheet” with one column that lists the school’s job requirements and another column explaining how you meet those qualifications.
Prepare to sit in an initial job interview for one to two hours. The MLA explains that your initial interview will often be in front of a committee, and it may feel very formal due to the committee's obligations to ask uniform questions of all candidates. If you are invited back for a final interview, you may meet alone with the dean or vice president of the college. Expect the hiring process to take some time: often, the school's governing board must meet first to approve your hiring.
It may help to gain some experience working at a community college under a mentor or through an internship. In the event that job competition is high, a candidate with the proper education, credentials and experience will obtain the job before someone with little or no experience.