As San Jose continues to prosper, so does demand for educators at all levels. In fact, Glassdoor currently lists hundreds of open teaching positions and more than 1,300 positions within 25 miles. People seeking advice on a career in education will be interested to know what Kelly Cooper Ed.D., an information technology instructor at West Valley College and author, has to say. Here are her thoughts on what it takes to become a quality educator in San Jose.

(Photo Courtesy of Kelly Cooper Ed.D.)

(Photo Courtesy of Kelly Cooper Ed.D.)

What is your background and education?

“I attended local schools and then USF for three degrees, including a doctorate in organizational development with an emphasis on Pacific Rim Studies.”

What do you love about your career as an educator in the San Jose?

“I enjoy traveling, researching and sharing transnational ideas related to education, culture and technology. I see the private sector is now seeking to improve and quicken education and I believe it’s necessary; significant change needs to happen. As it does, however, teachers continue to make a difference and education serves to change lives.”

What academic standards are necessary to complete in order to become an educator?

“In the California Community College system, most disciplines require a master’s degree. There is a document available online that lists minimum qualifications. Community colleges serve as the best option for finding part and full-time employment as educators due to the number of positions available. In California, there are 112 community colleges with 2.1 million students. One interesting note is that community college instructors earn similar salaries as CSU or UC professors. Although master’s degrees are a common requirement, many applicants hold doctoral degrees. The best way to earn a full-time position is to teach part-time, often at more than one college.”

As an expert in the field, what advice can you share for individuals seeking a career as an educator?

“The ‘prestige’ or ‘tradition’ of higher education cannot be your motivator. Education desperately needs people who are willing to serve students in a way that contributes toward what our society, economy and culture need. In the end, we all exist in relationships. And the relationship between teacher and student is perhaps one of the greatest callings of all time.”

Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on


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