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Teaching College Courses with an MBA Degree

written by: John Garger•edited by: Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch•updated: 6/15/2010

Can I teach college classes with an MBA degree? If you have an MBA, you may be able to find a job teaching college courses. However, there are a few caveats to teaching at the university level with only a Master’s degree. Learn about your choices when it comes to teaching college classes with an MBA

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    Have you ever wondered: "can I teach college classes with an MBA degree?" In many countries, provinces, and states, holding a Master’s degree allows you the opportunity to teach classes at a variety of levels including college. However, there are a few problems you may encounter when looking for a teaching job while holding only an MBA

    If you want to teach college courses with an MBA, you need to prepare yourself for a few hurdles. These hurdles include the difficulty of finding a teaching job at a major university and finding a permanent teaching job at other institutions of higher learning, such as a community college or online university. Read on to learn about your prospects of finding a college teaching job with an MBA.

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    Where Can You Teach College Classes with an MBA?

    Most teaching positions in major universities go to people who hold a PhD. This is for two reasons. First, in order to maintain both national and regional accreditations, universities must maintain certain ratios between the number of professors holding a PhD and the number of students attending the university. Every time a university adds a non-PhD holding member to its faculty, the ratios change for the worse. Second, professors with PhDs are expected to publish scholarly manuscripts in scientific and peer-reviewed journals. Typically, only someone who went through a PhD program can do this.

    With an MBA, you are better off looking for a teaching job at either a community college or an online university. These colleges tend to have fewer restrictions of who can get hired. The pay is less but at least you have the opportunity to find permanent employment with these colleges. In a major university, you will typically only be hired as an adjunct, an instructor, or some other temporary teaching position while the university searches for a permanent person to hold the position.

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    Problems Finding Teaching Jobs with an MBA

    Besides the issues discussed above, there are a few other problems you will encounter when looking to teach college courses with an MBA. First, any college is likely to give teaching jobs to someone with experience teaching at the college level. Although an MBA gives you the right to teach, it doesn’t mean a college will actually hire you.

    Second, holding an MBA is not the only criterion you need to teach college courses. Most universities, community colleges, and online institutions of higher learning will require that you have extensive real world experience. Consequently, a newly graduated MBA is extremely unlikely to find work teaching at the college level. Without a PhD, you will need something extraordinary on your resume that justifies your skills and abilities to teach college courses. Simply holding an MBA degree does not automatically make someone a teacher.

    Finally, in a university full of mostly PhD teachers, your students may resent the fact that they are being taught by someone without a doctoral degree. Extensive life experience in the business world can help you combat this perception, but at least some of the students will feel that they are being shortchanged. If you do get a teaching job with your MBA, you may wish to establish with your students why you are qualified to teach the course.

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    It is possible to teach with an MBA but there are some barriers and glass ceilings that exist if you don’t hold a PhD. Community and online colleges are a great place to get some teaching experience before you attempt to obtain an adjunct or instructor status position at a major university. However, with only an MBA, almost no major university will hire you as a tenure track professor. Consequently, there is always a chance with each passing semester that you won’t be asked to return during the next term to teach more classes.