I am studying a PhD in Psychology in a UK university and am currently looking at career options. Rather than a career primarily focused on research, I think I would like something more heavily focused on teaching. As a result, I believe a job teaching psychology at a community college could be an ideal fit for me. There are thousands of these types of colleges in the United States and I would happily move wherever I was offered a job. However, do you think it is possible for someone with a PhD from the UK to get a teaching job in a community college in the US? Does anyone know if this is common? I am worried that US colleges only hire people from the US or that they wouldn't want to go through the hassle of getting a working visa for an international applicant. Do you guys think this is a possible career option?
Many many British academics teach here in the States. The salaries here are much higher though the workload is higher
One problem might be recognition of the university you attend and the differences that exist in the educational systems.. Even yanks in academe tend to classify British Universities into two groups: Oxbridge, London (don't expect anyone to know the difference between Goldsmiths and Royal Holloway) and maybe Edinburgh in one category and then everything else in another category. For example, Durham is one of the finest universities in Britain and in my opinion on a par with Oxbridge. Few people in the States will have even heard of it. The distinctions so near and dear to the heart of the British academic such as membership in the Russell Group versus the Red Brick Unis versus Plate Glass Unis mean utterly and absolutely nothing here. Few here will even know about the Russell Group. Here in the States, a Polytechnic has a very different meaning and connotation than in Britain. Even the concept of academic "league tables" has absolutely no meaning here. We don't rank schools in than manner. Even the RAE ... which is a very good thing for universities to go through .....is unknown and has absolutely no parallel here. So if you mention these things in a cover letter or in an interview, folks on this side of the pond won't know to what you are refering..
The other issue you may run into is something we call "credit hours." American Ph.D. programs typically involve classroom work/modules while many British Ph.D. programs are research only degrees. Here there is no distinction between "taught" degree schemes and "research" degree schemes. All postgraduate courses here are "taught."If you went directly from an honours degree to being an M.Phil student and then were upgraded to D.Phil or Ph.D. status, you may have very few postgraduate classes/modules on your academic record and this may cause some confusion on this side of the pond. A hiring committee might wonder where all your postgraduate coursework is and not understand that the system in the UK is structured very differently. Here on SDN a few years ago I tried to explain the concept of a typical British research-based Ph.D. with minimal classroom instruction and it really really really confused a lot of people. They simply could not "get" the idea of awarding a doctoral degree based on a research programme culminating in a thesis rather than 5 years of classwork. If you are enrolled in one of those "new route" Ph.D. programs you will look more like an American candidate.
But with these caveats in mind, there are many people from the UK and Commonwealth who come here and have fine fulfilling careers. If you do make it here, be sure to send me some clotted cream from Devon or Cornwall. It also does not exist here.