Solving the Credentials Puzzle

Much of my e-mail this time of year comes from people thinking about going on the community-college job market in the fall — or going on it again, given that this year's round of hiring has just about ended.

Their questions often have to do with the issue of credentials: Am I qualified to teach such-and-such at a two-year college? Is a degree in X better than a degree in Y? Do I need more graduate hours in Z?

I answer those e-mail messages personally, but I believe