Becoming A College Professor

December 13, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Becoming A College Professor

How to become a college professor?

AdmissionSight has prepared things to be considered on how to become a college professor. At the post-secondary level, college professors instruct students in a range of various subjects. They conduct research, write scholarly publications, and impart knowledge. Since they are typically passionate about the field of study they have chosen, many college professors find their employment to be fulfilling.

Most full-time university teachers strive to be given tenure. This makes it possible for professors to keep their jobs without worrying about being fired for unfair reasons.

Qualities of a College Professor

Excellent language and communication abilities, a high degree of knowledge, and organizational skills are required of anyone aspiring to the position of a college professor. College teachers should have a lot of passion, a lot of self-confidence, and a strong desire to help their students.

View of students working on a painting together.

While some part-time jobs or community and vocational institutions only require a master’s degree, most four-year colleges and universities require a professor to hold a Ph.D. in their area of specialization.

After high school, you should plan on six to nine years of academic study before becoming a college professor. The following considerations should be kept in mind at each stage of your journey:

High School

Step 1: Achieve high grades and test scores.

When you are submitting an application for admission or a scholarship, your high school transcripts and placement tests will be considered. For success, be sure to concentrate on achieving good grades and performing well on your standardized test.

Step 2: Prepare for college

As early as your junior year of high school, you should begin to consider your college applications. You should submit your college applications as early as possible because many colleges and universities have a cap on the number of new students they can accept each semester. WGU has no limits on how many students it can accept, and enrollment starts on the first of every month.

Bachelor’s Degree

Step 3: Get a degree in the teaching subject of your choice.

At the bachelor’s level, your expertise as a professor begins, so it’s critical to consider the subject or industry you’re most passionate about. For instance, majoring in English will give you a solid foundation if your long-term goal is to become a professor of poetry.

Step 4: Perform well and make use of your connections.

It can be difficult to maintain good grades while pursuing a bachelor’s degree to become a college professor, but your undergraduate performance can help determine if you qualify for graduate school scholarships or grants. When looking for recommendations or internship chances, your college instructors’ positive relationships are also crucial.

Step 5: Apply to graduate school and take the GRE

Many schools and universities demand the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), a standardized test, for applicants to graduate programs. A minimum of six months prior to the start of the fall semester is required to apply for graduate school and find out if a particular GRE score is required by the institution. Fortunately, WGU does not need the GRE for entrance to its graduate programs, and because all coursework is completed online, students can work at their own pace.

Master’s Degree

Step 6: Have a strong thesis and excellent grades

It’s crucial to maintain good marks throughout your graduate program. In order to remain in good academic standing in many graduate programs, students must keep their average GPA at 3.0. A master’s thesis, a lengthy academic work, is also typically required as the final requirement for master’s degrees in most programs.

View of group of people talking in a room.

Similar to this, WGU’s competency-based curriculum emphasizes a capstone project, which many students feel is more relevant to their chosen sector of employment.

Step 7: Gain experience by working as a TA

Teaching assistant (TA) experience in the classroom will aid in your comprehension of the day-to-day obligations of lecturing, grading, and time management as a professor. And the more time you spend working with students as a TA, the more at ease you’ll feel guiding their learning.

Doctoral Degree

Step 8: Create connections and produce a great dissertation

Your doctoral program’s top priorities are expanding your knowledge in your profession, forming connections, and conducting research for and writing your dissertation (a more in-depth version of a thesis). The dissertation will serve as the cornerstone for how you position yourself in the job market once your PhD program is over.

Step 9: Submit a Post-Doctoral position application

When your doctoral program is complete, you should start applying for teaching employment at the colleges and institutions of your choice. Before being hired full-time inside a department, many professors start out as adjunct or contract-based teachers to gather experience.


Step 10: Continue applying and accept an offer.

Given the great demand for a college professors, you should anticipate a delay before receiving an offer. While going through the interview process, it’s always a good idea to broaden your teaching experience as an adjunct professor or guest speaker.

How long does it take to become a college professor?

Let’s take a look at how long it takes to become a college professor. Most university and college professors possess doctoral degrees, which, after earning an undergraduate degree and a master’s degree, take a total of around 10–15 years to finish, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). 50% of candidates with doctoral degrees in a science-related field find employment in college or university settings, according to the Princeton Review.

However, not all universities and colleges will demand that instructors hold Ph.D. degrees. For consideration of employment as a professor, certain community colleges may need a master’s degree or even a bachelor’s degree. Professors without doctoral degrees may also be employed by career and technical colleges.

Naturally, how long it takes to become a professor also depends on the area of choice; for scientific and health courses, additional licensure can be necessary. Nursing professors may need to have a nursing license in order to teach, which adds at least a year to the time it takes to get an education.

How much does a college professor make?

How much does a college professor make? Your days as a college professor are never the same, whether you’re giving a lecture on the finer points of underwater basket weaving or doing an experiment to find out how many licks it takes to get to the core of a lollipop. This job is both tremendously rewarding and quite difficult due to the intellectual stimulation provided by the academic atmosphere and the satisfaction of influencing young brains. When the office door closes, you concentrate on writing academic journal articles and papers to share your insight with colleagues nearby and abroad. Sharing your knowledge on a particular subject during class fills your class time.

What is the typical university professor’s salary?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2016, a university professor made an average yearly salary of $75,430. Of all university professors, the lowest-paid earn less than $38,290 annually, while the highest-paid earn more than $168,270.

A professor assisting a student in a computer lab.

The size and location of the college or university, the subject taught, and whether the facility is private or public all affect the average compensation of a university professor. For instance, a university professor who teaches in the medical, veterinary, or nursing fields makes an average salary of $99,360 per year. In comparison, a university professor who teaches education earns an annual salary of $62,520.

According to the American Association of University Professors, full-time faculty at private colleges and universities make an average salary of $105,323, compared to $103,019 for those working at public institutions. Also, professors at four-year colleges are paid more than their counterparts at two-year colleges, whether they work for a private or public university.

You might now be considering a career as a college professor, especially if you have the patience to learn, and a passion for teaching. Keep in mind that it’s crucial to have a solid educational background. It is vital to make the most of all your resources to be academically competitive if you want to become a college professor.

The excellent academic advice provided by AdmissionSight will help you organize your thoughts and get ready to accomplish your objectives. Although nothing worthwhile ever comes easily, it is best to take things slowly if your goal is to one day teach at a college. You can always start by arranging a no-obligation consultation with us right now.




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