Candidates with terminal master’s degrees are often in a strange position in academia; you’re overqualified for most entry-level jobs outside of the higher education system, and yet you’re underqualified for full professorships. That situation gets even more complicated if you’re trying to get some experience and stay connected to the academic world while deciding if you’d like to continue on for a Ph.D. But there are still some options that may meet your needs. Here are three suggestions of higher education jobs for master’s students stuck in the middle:
- Adjunct Teaching Jobs
Most four-year colleges accept candidates with master’s degrees (or occasionally even bachelor’s degrees, depending on the field) for adjunct faculty jobs. Working as an adjunct is the perfect way to ease into the academic lifestyle and discover if working toward tenured professorship is the best track for you. Adjuncts make less money, of course, but they also have fewer administrative responsibilities and greater flexibility than traditional professors.
- Online Adjunct Teaching Jobs
Working online adjunct teaching jobs provides many of the same benefits as doing so on campus, but with even greater flexibility (and potentially a larger job pool, since you may not need to be located in the same area as the school’s physical buildings). Some people work well online and some don’t, so you’ll need to assess your personality before taking on this challenge.
- Community College Teaching Jobs
Community colleges (also called junior colleges or two-year colleges, though the former term has fallen out of fashion) generally have a mix of professors with doctoral degrees and professors with master’s degrees, which is a great arrangement if you’re hoping to be more a part of the department than you would be as an adjunct. Community colleges also offer their teachers the opportunity to spend more time homing in on the needs of their students, with the primary focus being on classroom teaching rather than research and publication — expectations that professors at universities are constantly attempting to balance.
Which of these positions do you think would best suit you? Share your thoughts in the comments.