How to Become a University Professor


Becoming a professor is no easy feat. Unlike most professions, there is no school that will teach you on how to become a college professor and this is usually a title that is earned.

If it is your lifelong dream to hold this title, the best place to begin is by earning a bachelor’s degree in the field that you desire to teach. You need to uphold high grades so as to get honors. Colleges and universities do not hire people who simply got by in college. Since the job is all about educating and research, your papers need to be brilliant. This calls for people who have a burning desire to learn more.

Qualifications Needed

In order to be eligible to teach a two year college, you need to have a master’s degree. It typically takes about two years to obtain a master’s degree. However this does not qualify you at the university level. Universities require that you have advanced education levels and that is only achievable with PhDs, also known as doctor of philosophy. To earn your Ph.D., you need about four to six years depending on your area of study. This means that you truly must have a thirst for knowledge. You will also need to have a considerable amount of scholarly and research work and have completed your dissertation successfully.

How to Become a University Professor

As you can see, it takes you about a decade before you can reach the highest posts in this profession. Just like any other profession, it is a gradual process and you need to start from somewhere. It is therefore encouraged that you begin as early as possible. As a graduate student, it is advisable that you jumpstart your career by applying for a teaching assistant position working under an actual professor. As a teaching assistant, you get first-hand experience on what the profession is truly about. Your duties will be to aid in all areas of the position. This includes class work preparation, grading of assignments and tests, data entry, student communication and more. This is a great position since you also earn a great referee.

You also might want to consider an adjunct position. For those who are still unsure on how to become an adjunct professor, here’s how. Some colleges will require that you at least hold a master’s degree though most insist on a Ph.D. This is not a full time position and you may still have a job outside the institution. Generally, adjuncts do not get involved in administrative tasks. This is an excellent position and if you are good at your job you could land a fully-fledged position. Once you get a full-time professor position, aim for tenure. Most universities and colleges will give you a chance to earn tenure by working full time for a specified duration. During this time, you will have to demonstrate that you can get funding to improve the facilities and also have a record of strong research work and publications.

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February 12, 2013 by

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