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Jan 1991

So, you want to try your hand at teaching? (accounting education)

by Appleton, Robert W.

    Abstract- Accountants who would like to teach can increase their chances of obtaining a teaching position by gaining experience through teaching at a proprietary business school or a junior or community college evening program. Minimum education requirements at proprietary schools are a business degree, while junior and community colleges require a professional certification. Senior colleges or universities will require a master's degree and professional certification, while the better schools will prefer a PhD. Salaries for part-time faculty will range from $700 to $1,500 per course at a proprietary school, $1,000 to $2,000 at a community college, and $2,000 at a senior university. Accountants looking for a part-time teaching position should look for a position in their home town by contacting the chairperson of the accounting department or dean of the local school.

But Wait a Minute...

Where are you going to look for that first teaching job? What type of college or university is the best place to look? Do you have the necessary educational background? Are you looking for part-time or full- time employment? What salary, range can you expect to find? These and many other questions need to be answered before you enter the market place.

The Experience You'll Need

Experience is the best thing to have listed on your resume. The fact that you have been a discussion leader and received high evaluations will go a long wax, if you are seeking your first part-time position, but if you are looking for that first full-time slot it will be helpful to have had experience in an actual classroom setting. Part-time teaching will expose you to the testing and grading process as well as provide references as to your teaching abilities. Researchers have found that it is a lot easier to obtain high performance ratings from a knowledgeable audience than from an inexperienced audience (i.e., students who are seeing and hearing the material for the first time).

The easiest place to obtain classroom experience is at a proprietary business school or in an evening program at a junior or community, college. Generally, the minimum education requirements for accounting faculty at the proprietary school is a bachelor degree in business, although then, would prefer their faculty to also have professional certification. At the junior and community colleges the minimum educational background is a bachelor degree and the professional certificate. if you have either the MBA, the MS or the MPA in addition to your professional certificate you stand a much better chance of obtaining the position. If you plan to look for a position at a senior college or university, a master's degree and professional certification are the very minimum requirements.

Although upper division schools will tell you that the title PhD is the minimum degree requirement, most are willing to consider lesser degrees. This is partially due to the severe shortage of new doctorates in the accounting field. The latest statistics gathered on the supply and demand for accounting faculty indicate a supply shortage in new PhDs that, given the current growth rate, would take 20 years to fill. Although the MBA/CPA is the most widely accepted degree and professional certification combination, the MA and the MPA are gaining acceptance as well as the titles CMA (certified management accountant) and CIA (certified internal auditor). In Hasselback's 1989 Directory of Accounting, 58 faculty members with masters' degrees who do not have the CPA designation are CMAs and three are CIAS. Another five hold both the CMA and the CIA.

Although it is true that there is a 20-year supply shortage of accounting PhDs there are quite a few schools that still will not offer full-time teaching positions to non-PhDs. In our study concerning the status of the MBA/CPA faculty member we found that if you are looking for a position Hasselback's directory only lists senior colleges and universities.

In our survey, the MBA/CPA designation represented any combination of professional certification and a master's degree. For senior college or university employment, your best opportunity is at a private, non-AACSB accredited, four-year institution. Of the 300+ senior I college and university accounting administrators who responded to our survey 3.7% indicated they would hire MBA/CPAS for current or future faculty vacancies. However, this percentage drops to 26.9% for public institutions and 11.3% for AACSB accredited programs. It dips to 4.5% for institutions that offer the doctorate degree.

If you are determined to teach at a senior college or university and you are willing to teach part-time, usually in the evening, your chances for employment are much greater than if you desire full-time employment. In our survey, approximately 30% of all full-time faculty positions were filled by MBA/CPAs, whereas MBA/CPAs comprised 75% of the part-time faculty positions.

What Courses Will You Teach?

This depends on the school. At the proprietary school and the community college, you will be teaching everything from Principles to Auditing to Cost and Managerial. Usually this is true whether you are teaching part-time or full-time. At the senior institutional level, what is taught depends on the individual needs of the institution. In the survey we found that the smaller, non-AACSB accredited programs had non- PhDs teaching just about every course. Whereas the larger schools, the AACSB accredited schools, and the schools with graduate programs usually felt the non-PhDs should only teach at the Principles level.

How Much Will You Make?

The salary that a new non-PhD faculty member might expect is of course also related to the size and location of the institution and whether or not it is state funded or privately funded.

The salary for part-time faculty teaching at proprietary business schools will range from $700 to $1,500 per course. Part-time teaching at community colleges starts around $1,000 and reaches approximately $2000 per course. At senior colleges and universities, the average salary is approximately $2000. Salary for full-time faculty also fluctuates according to the institution. In our study of senior institutions the average salary for currently employed non-PhD faculty was $35,000 to $45,000 for a nine-month academic year. For new, non-PhD faculty, salaries ranged from $16,000 to $50,000, with the average being around $35,000.

So now you know which institutions offer the best opportunities for employment and you know the educational background and experience you will need to start your search. You even know the salary range to expect. But, where are the vacancies?

Location, Location, Location

if you are looking for a part-time position the best place to look is right in your home town. Start by contacting the accounting department chairperson or dean at your local school and request an appointment to discuss the possibility for current part-time employment. Even if they don't have a vacancy let them know you are interested. Volunteer your assistance for special projects the department might offer, or volunteer to give presentations for their NAA student chapter meetings or their Beta Alpha Psi chapter. These organizations are always looking for speakers. These maneuvers will help keep your resume at the top of the stack should a position become available in the future.

If you are looking strictly for a full-time position, and you are willing to relocate, there are several places to look. Among them are: The Chronicle of Higher Education, the Journal of Accountancy, and The Accounting Review.

These publications have a special section for position announcements. They also recommend that you attend one of the regional or national meetings of the American Accounting Association. In addition to the paper presentations and CPE programs, these meetings have a placement service where numerous initial interviews take place. To find out when and where these meetings will be located, contact the AAA's national office at 5717 Bessie Drive, Sarasota, Florida, 34233.

Where Do You Go From Here?

To summarize, if you are thinking of entering the education field, check your education, experience, and certification background first. If you have a bachelor degree and the CPA, CMA, or CIA designation then the best place to start your search is at your local proprietary, business school or community college. If you have a master's degree in addition to your certification then four-year and five-year institutions are possibilities. Remember, part-time positions are much more plentiful than full-time positions, and if you are looking for full-time employment at a college or university your best chance is at a private, non-AACSD accredited, undergraduate institution. And last but not least, don't expect to get rich teaching

The CPA Journal is broadly recognized as an outstanding, technical-refereed publication aimed at public practitioners, management, educators, and other accounting professionals. It is edited by CPAs for CPAs. Our goal is to provide CPAs and other accounting professionals with the information and news to enable them to be successful accountants, managers, and executives in today's practice environments.

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