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How To Become a College Professor?

how to become a college professor

Becoming a college professor is not an easy task.

There is a long list of qualifications that need to be met in order to apply for the position, and even more experience is required before getting the job. Becoming a college professor is considered one of the most prestigious professions because of its high salary and the high level of education needed to qualify for the position.

So, let’s find out exactly How To Become a College Professor and what it takes!

how to become a college professor

What is a College Professor?

A college professor is an educator who works in a post-secondary institution, such as a university or college. They are responsible for teaching undergraduate and/or graduate students in a variety of courses, such as humanities, sciences, and business. College professors must possess a great deal of knowledge in their respective fields, as well as teaching experience.

Read more: What Is an Adjunct Professor?

how to become college professor

How To Become A College Professor?

To become a college professor, certain qualifications must be met. Firstly, applicants must have completed both an undergraduate and a graduate degree from an accredited institution. Secondly, they must have several years of teaching experience in post-secondary institutions. Finally, they must demonstrate excellence in their field of study through research and publication.

These three factors are typically assessed through the submission of a resume, cover letter, transcripts, and writing samples. The best way to determine if you meet the qualifications for becoming a college professor is to speak with someone at your desired institution about what is required for their positions.

Qualifications Needed

To teach at a post-secondary level, applicants must possess an undergraduate and a graduate degree from an accredited institution. Usually, a Ph.D. is required, but some institutes will accept applicants with Master’s only degrees.

This is typically the minimum requirement for most teaching positions in colleges and universities. However, some institutions may require more qualifications; therefore, it is important to research the requirements.

Experience Needed

To become a college professor, you must have several years of teaching experience. This experience can be gained through working as a teaching assistant or instructor at a post-secondary institution. This is imperative to your career as a college professor, so it may be beneficial to you if you decide to acquire a few years of experience before applying for the position.

How long does it take to be a College Professor?

While it is a rewarding position, getting to your goal of college professor can be an uphill struggle. On average, it can take around five to seven years to meet all the qualifications for the position. On top of this, you also need to gain work experience, which can take two to three years. So you can easily spend over ten years working your way up to the position of a college professor.

How Much Do College Professors Make?

The salary of a college professor can vary depending on several factors, such as their level of experience, institution type, and province or state. However, according to The American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the average salary of a college professor is $73,207.

This means that college professors typically make between $40,000 and $120,000 a year. This is definitely one of the most lucrative professions in today’s job market. If you are publishing high-impact research or bringing in additional funding to the university, your salary will reflect this.

It doesn’t come cheap!

However, the degrees needed to get you there are not cheap! According to The College Board, the average cost of an undergraduate degree is $12,768 for public colleges and $34,232 for private colleges. If you want to be a college professor, you must do well in high school and get into an accredited institution!

A Day In The Life Of A College Professor

Now that you know a bit more about what it takes to become a college professor, let’s take a look at what the average day is like for these professionals. Typically, a college professor arrives at work around early in the morning and begins preparing for their classes.

This may include reviewing course materials, designing assignments, or meeting with students. The professor will then teach their class for around 50 minutes, followed by a ten-minute break. They will then repeat this process for three to five more classes.

The days can be very long…

To finish the day, they will typically grade their students’ work or meet with more students to help them with any questions. They may also be required to attend department meetings and faculty senate meetings throughout the week.

On top of this, they may be required to produce their research, so the days can be quite long. A college professor’s work week is usually very busy because many different tasks need to be completed for their classes to go smoothly.

Do College Professors Work Full-time?

One of the main requirements to become a college professor is the ability to teach multiple courses in one semester. Therefore, most of these professionals work full-time schedules during their time on the job. The normal workweek for a college professor is Monday to Friday, with classes taking place usually from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

This means that they are typically teaching around fifteen classes a week. Despite this schedule, it’s reported that most college professors work more than a 40 hours week, with hours ranging from 35-75 hours per week! However, this schedule varies depending on the institution type and hours of their contracted courses.

For example, an adjunct professor may only work part-time hours or teach a course during the summer semester.

how to become college professors

Tips For Becoming A College Professor

Now that you know a bit more about what it takes to become a college professor, here are some tips to help you on your journey.

  • Start by getting a degree from an accredited institution. This is imperative to your career as a college professor, so it may be beneficial to you if you decide to specialize in a certain area of study. You should also pick an institution that has a good track record in your field, whether it be through networking or high-impact publications.
  • Next, gain experience by working as a teaching assistant or lecturer at different institutions. This will allow you to develop your teaching skills and gain the respect of your colleagues.
  • Publish in your field to increase your chances of becoming a college professor. If you are successful, the published article will open doors for future employment opportunities and can act as extra credentials.
  • Network with your peers and other professors to advance in your career as a college professor! This will allow you to learn about new job opportunities, teaching techniques, and more.
  • Lastly, be active in professional organizations and attend conferences related to higher education. This will help you stay up-to-date on the latest trends in academia and showcase your knowledge to potential employers.

With these tips in mind, you should be able to become a college professor!

Where To Find College Professor Jobs?

One of the best ways to find a college professor job is through networking. Talk with your professors and current colleagues about opportunities they may know about. You can also visit organizations related to higher education. Attend conferences and check with your school’s career center for openings.

If you are an international applicant, it may also be beneficial to search for jobs on websites like Higher Education Jobs or Academic Keys.

Read more: How to Cancel Interview Email Samples?

The Downsides To Being A College Professor?

Despite the many benefits of being a college professor, there are a few downsides that should be considered. For one, these professionals typically have to work long hours, especially during the semester.

They may also be required to travel for work or attend meetings outside of their campus. Additionally, they may be required to participate in research projects or be pressured to publish frequently. Being a college professor has many advantages, but it is still important to consider what your day-to-day life might be like on the job.

How To Be The Best College Professor!

Want to make sure you reach your full teaching potential? Then take a look at The Adjunct Professor’s Complete Guide to Teaching College, and The Essential College Professor: A Practical Guide to an Academic Career, or how about Teaching at Its Best: A Research-Based Resource for College Instructors, and Teaching College: The Ultimate Guide to Lecturing, Presenting, and Engaging Students all available online in 2023.

In addition, we also recommend reading Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom, or The Empowered Professor: Breaking the Unspoken Codes of Inequity in Academia, as well as The Pocket Instructor: Literature: 101 Exercises for the College Classroom.

For a giggle at work, we found a few humorous teaching gifts, check out the Wampumtuk Student Tears Funny Coffee Mug, the PhD. Taking your BS to a new level – Coffee Mug, the Professor Mug Professor Nutrition Facts, the Funny Teacher Student Tears Travel Tumbler Mug, and the Funny College Professor T-Shirt also available online today.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, becoming a college professor is a difficult task. However, if you do manage to gain the experience and qualifications necessary for a position as a college professor, it will certainly be worth your while!

You now know how to become a college-level professor. What kind of salary you can expect to make and some downsides. If this is the career field for you, be sure to follow the tips mentioned and start your journey today!

All the very best teaching as a College Professor!

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About Calvin Miller

Calvin has over 20 years of experience in a leading employment agency in Tucson, Arizona, and is passionate about finding the perfect position for everyone who uses the company’s services.

He lives with his wife, Annette, and their two sons Jake and Joseph.

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