I have a Masters Degree in Computer Science from India. I have been working in IT sector from last 10 years From last 5 years I am working in US I am very much interested in Teaching Undergrads(Bachelors Degree) at College. I am not aware of Education /Degree/Credentials needed to teach at College Level in US. Can someone kindly let me know how to go about this.

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    With very few exceptions, you need a PhD in a relevant field. The exceptions are usually community colleges.
    – Potato
    Commented Apr 27, 2015 at 6:30
  • @Potato That is highly course-dependent. Especially for non-tenure-track teaching-oriented positions, it's not uncommon to have people who have relevant experience outside academia (e.g. an author teaching a writing course, or a practicing lawyer teaching a law-related course [by which I don't mean law school courses, but rather undergrad courses]).
    – cpast
    Commented Apr 27, 2015 at 7:29
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    @cpast Considered as a percentage of the undergraduate courses being taught, those do seem quite rare to me. Besides, the question seems to be about computer science.
    – Potato
    Commented Apr 27, 2015 at 7:35
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    @cpast but those are usually adjunct/part time positions.
    – StrongBad
    Commented Apr 27, 2015 at 12:47
  • You will also need to work on the finer points of writing in English. At college level, it is not enough to be understood, you will be expected to use correct grammar, capitalization, and punctuation.
    – Ben Voigt
    Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 5:48

2 Answers 2


I am not aware of any officially required qualifications for teaching higher education. While often universities "require" supervisors, committee members, and examiners of PhD students to have a PhD, these can often be waived if the person in question holds another comparable degree (e.g., ScD or MFA) or has sufficient experience.

From a practical standpoint, to be competitive for a full time teaching positions in the US, you will likely need a PhD, or the equivalent terminal degree in your field. Individuals without a terminal degree and lots of work experience can sometimes teach individual classes in their area of speciality. Even at community colleges, a PhD is a desirable qualification that improves your chances of getting a job.

  • Even "comparable degree" and "sufficient experience" can be waived. At the end of the day, the only must-have requirement is that you have sufficient mastery of the material you are going to be teaching. For illustration, Saul Kripke's wikipedia page says that "during his sophomore year at Harvard, he taught a graduate-level logic course at nearby MIT".
    – Koldito
    Commented Apr 28, 2015 at 9:12

It seems like with your qualifications you could get a job teaching an adjunct class, and possibly get a full time job at a community college. I personally have seen many professors without PHD's at my college, but they are generally in charge of teaching courses like Microsoft office or beginner level Networking and Hardware repair. It depends on what you want to teach, if you're looking for a career as a professor at a 4 year university in Computer Science / Computer Engineering you will probably need a PHD to be competitive.

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