Dear Prospective Community College Music Instructor,
As you may or may not be aware, these are lean times for
music instructors (and the performing arts in general). Due to the
current budget situation, almost all community colleges are either in, or just
coming out of, a hiring freeze. Although the current hiring situation is
not very hopeful, the outlook is that in the next 3-10 years, music positions
will start to open up due to retirements and increased enrollment. My advice
for you, if you are committed to teaching, is:
I hope that this is helpful for you (and not completely discouraging).
Obviously I do not know any of your specific circumstances
(age, desires, etc.), but this is a good time to really examine how committed
you are to education. I have learned that to be a good teacher, you must
love to teach. Make sure this isn't just a back-up plan for a music
career. I've been there and done that, and it doesn't work well.
- Make sure you have a Master's degree in music. If you don't, go get one.
- Consider moving to another state. (I have
considered this myself, but for a variety of reasons this is not an option for
me right now.)
- If you're not willing to move, then identify the
colleges at which you would like to, or are willing to, teach.
In other words, figure out how far you are willing to drive! Many of my
friends teach at 3-4 colleges to make ends meet.
- Research the schedules of the colleges you have
identified and see if what they offer fits with what you want to teach.
Don't research the catalogs, as they list all possible classes, but may not
accurately reflect the current course offerings at each school. All
of this information can be found on the websites for each college.
- Once you have identified the colleges that fit your
particular area of expertise, send (or personally deliver) your resume to the
Chair of the music department.
- Be patient (and keep following up)!
- Be aware the although part-time hiring tends to come up
in the couple of months before each semester (but could happen at any time
during the year), full-time hiring generally takes place in the Spring of each
year (from February to May). Here are some links to help you out:
- Consider getting a Ph.D./D.M.A. If you do decide to
get one, by the time you're done, the situation should be much improved (and
you would even be eligible to teach at the university level)!
Hang in there!
Shane W. Cadman
Program Facilitator, Performing Arts
Santiago Canyon College