Job prospects for college and university teachers are good. Overall, employment in this area is expected to increase 27 percent or more through 2014. A significant proportion of these new jobs will be part-time positions, and opportunities will vary somewhat from field to field, as numerous openings for all types of postsecondary teachers result from retirements of current teachers and continued increases in student enrollments.
The projected growth in college and university enrollment over the next decade stems mainly from an increase in the population of eighteen- to twenty-four-year-olds and from the increasing number of high school graduates who choose to attend these institutions. Adults returning to college to enhance their career prospects or to update their skills also will continue to create new opportunities for teachers, particularly at community colleges and for-profit institutions that cater to working adults.
However, many postsecondary educational institutions receive a significant portion of their funding from state and local governments, so expansion of public higher education will be limited by budgetary restrictions. Nevertheless, in addition to growth in enrollments, the need to replace the large numbers of teachers who are likely to retire over the next decade will also create a significant number of openings.Many of the postsecondary teachers hired in the late 1960s and the 1970s to teach baby boomers are expected to retire in growing numbers in the years ahead.
The outlook is favorable for Ph.D. recipients seeking jobs over the next decade. Although competition will remain tight for tenure-track positions at four-year colleges and universities, a considerable number of part-time or renewable term appointments at these institutions and positions at community colleges should be available. Opportunities for master’s degree holders are also expected to be favorable, as community colleges and other institutions, such as professional career education programs, are expected to experience considerable growth.
Opportunities for graduate teaching assistants are expected to be very good due to prospects for much higher undergraduate enrollments coupled with more modest graduate enrollment increases. Constituting almost 9 percent of all postsecondary teachers, graduate teaching assistants play an integral role in the postsecondary education system, and they are expected to continue to do so in the future.
Since one of the main reasons why students attend postsecondary institutions is to prepare themselves for careers, the
best job prospects for postsecondary teachers are likely to be in fields where job growth is expected to be strong over the next decade. These include fields such as business, health specialties, nursing, and biological sciences. Community colleges and other institutions offering career and technical education have been among the most rapidly growing, and these institutions are expected to offer some of the best opportunities for postsecondary teachers.