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By: Restaurant Voice Staff

Teaching Food Service at a College or University

Your duties will include; teaching between one and four classes each semester, having office hours so that your students can meet with you, being on several committees, and advising students. If you're in a university, you must also write and do research which must lead to publication in academic journals.

Typical career path
In a junior college or vocational college you will need a minimum of a Bachelor's degree to begin teaching, but a Master's degree might be necessary to be competitive.

At the university level, if you are in the right place at the right time to start as a full-time instructor, a Master's degree might be enough. More realistically, a Ph.D. will be necessary to teach at the university level full-time.

Best advice for those who want to break into teaching would be to get a course guide and identify courses that you would be interested in teaching; There are probably more than you realize. If you have the education and experience, contact the Department Head of the Hospitality program to inquire if they use any part-time (called adjunct) instructors.

Many colleges and universities need adjunct instructors to supplement their full-time instructors. You will probably feel fairly comfortable teaching several of the courses, especially with some coaching from the department chair. One caution... Just because you know it doesn't guarantee that you can teach it.

There's a feeling of freedom and flexibility because there is really no direct supervision like you are used to in management. Classes can be day or evening, depending on the needs of the students. Note that the lifestyle of an instructor is deceptive. Even though your physical hours in the classroom appear to be few, you will work much more than you think; even with few classes to teach, you could be working 40-50 hours and more each week.

Best Parts

  • No one is looking over your shoulder; there's no real supervisor monitoring your every move.
  • You can have a positive impact on students.
  • You can stay connected to the foodservice industry, while not being directly in it.
  • Typical semester courses run 15 weeks.

Worst Parts
Students can be very apathetic which can lead to frustration. (Remember, you can't fire them...) Also, you can forget about that nice bonus that you're used to.

Pay, Perks and Benefits
At most colleges and universities, you will work 9 months per year, but your pay will be spread over 12 months. You'll be free to work or pursue other activities during the summer. Often you and your children can take classes either free of charge or for drastically reduced tuition. Being part of campus life is stimulating and it is very rewarding to see your students graduate. Finally, the campus environment is exciting, refreshing and rewarding.

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