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Community College Jobs in the United States

Recap about University Jobs

I am continuing my series of blog posts covering the English language teaching job market in the United States with this post on community college jobs.  Last week, I discussed the job market for teaching English in American universities and colleges.  Since a month has past, it seems that the downward trend in job announcements is continuing.  This past January had the lowest number of job announcements for university jobs since 2012.  Of the many contributing factors, I believe the strongest one is the strong US dollar, which makes traveling to and living in the United States more expensive for international students.

Community College Jobs

Generally, community college ELT jobs are not announced as frequently as university ELT jobs.  Since October 2009, there have been 287 job announcements from community colleges compared to 795 from universities.  Just because there are more university ELT job announcements does not mean it's easier to get a job at a university.  From my experience and observations, I believe that, in the more populous states, there are more ELT jobs at community colleges.

From my experience in Maryland and Iowa, it seems that the ELT hiring practices and processes at community colleges differ from those at the universities.  Community colleges have a larger pool of adjunct ELTs, many who are graduate students in TESOL or a related field at a nearby university.  When a full-time position is advertised (the only ones I keep track of), I have found that it almost always go to an adjunct ELT who is already working there.  When I applied to a full-time community college position in Montgomery County, Maryland, I was told that this was part of the hiring process.  Some adjuncts only need to wait a year whereas others may need to wait 5+ years to get promoted to a full-time community college position.  My observations as an employee of Kirkwood Community College are similar to what I was told in Maryland eight years earlier, so it seems to me that outside hires for full-time ELT positions are rare.

However I don't know about California.

California has announced by far and away the most full-time community college ELT jobs.  I've counted 70 so far in the last 6 years.  Compare that to second place Texas, which announced 27 in the same time period.  Out of the 287 full-time community college job postings, California has posted nearly one-quarter of those jobs nationally.  Because I have very little information about the California ELT job market, I have no idea why there are so many job postings.  Are they required by law to advertise nationally?  Do they have a hard time finding adjuncts to take full-time positions?  I strongly doubt that one.  Are the immigrant and refugee populations growing so quickly in California that they can't keep up with providing enough faculty?

Other states

Enough about California.  There are 30 other states that have community colleges posting full-time ELT jobs.  That's not as many states compared to university ELT jobs, which cover almost every state in the Union.  Let me share the top 10 states and the number of job announcements:
  1. California - 70
  2. Texas - 27
  3. New York - 25
  4. Washington - 25
  5. Maryland - 16
  6. Illinois - 15
  7. Pennsylvania- 14
  8. Massachusetts - 11
  9. Oregon - 11
  10. New Jersey - 10
Incidentally, these top 10 states are the only jobs to post 10 or more full-time job announcements in since I've been keeping track in 2009.  Over 6 years, that's not very many job announcements, except for California of course. 

If you're curious about the remaining 20 states with job announcements, they are as follows:
  • Florida - 8
  • Iowa - 7
  • Connecticut & Arizona - 6
  • Ohio - 4
  • North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin, & Minnesota - 3
  • Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Indiana, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, & Utah - 2
  • Rhode Island, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Marianas Islands - 1
OK, so the Marianas Islands are a territory and not a state, but you get the picture.

When is a good time to look for community college jobs?

Figure 1 - Full-time Community College ELT Job Announcements by month

Almost all community college job announcements are for starting dates just a few months later; sometimes even one month later.  If you've been an English language teacher for a while in the United States, you'd understand that jobs are very dependent on student enrollments, which can rise and fall dramatically at any given time. 

According to my chart, the peak job announcement season seems to be winter, December through March.  Some of the December announcements are for jobs starting in January, but most of the February and March announcements are for start dates in the summer or fall.   The market slows down until July, when some programs have an unanticipated increase in enrollment for the fall semester.  Overall, the pattern is similar but less predictable than the university ELT jobs with the slowest time for job postings in spring and early summer.

Do you want more information?

You can access my database of all jobs at The Job Market Archive by clicking on the tab above.  To view the list of jobs at community colleges, click here.  Stay tuned for my next ELT jobs report on English language program administrative jobs, including directorships.


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