Becoming a professor is no different from becoming an artist or healthcare professional. It all starts with the education with decent grades and a professional network to avail opportunities. The career is enriching as it adds a variety of options for individuals with the right skills. However, it also requires thorough deliberations to achieve the rank of tenure track professor position. Interested individuals must prepare and expect different things before pursuing a career as a professor. You will need to earn the mastery of the subjects and skills for research and teaching in an engaging manner.
Being a professor is the fastest-growing career worldwide, with a projected growth rate of over 9% in the coming year. That is more than 4% growth in the recent decades. Although these projections are only for part-time positions, landing a college professional can offer satisfying salaries. For that instance, you will need to take part in everything from mentorship, research, advocate, and a teacher. It revolves around the continuous practice to excel your skills and getting on the market for tenure-track jobs. With that said, let’s discuss the complete roadmap for the career as a professor and what you should expect while pursuing one.
- BACHELOR’S DEGREE
It might sound a little strange, but a bachelor’s degree is the prime approach for a head start career as a professor. You will need to pursue specific subjects you plan to teach and research during the professional career. For that instance, you must also narrow down the list for a down major in the field.
Apart from the subjects, the bachelor’s degree will also give you insights into professors’ demands in the educational industry. This way, you can establish your goals precisely and steer yourself in the right direction to achieve them. In short, a bachelor’s degree is the first step to prepare yourself to become a professor for your professional career. However, the educational requirement does not end here. Individuals need to have a doctorate to become skilled and internationally known professors. As discussed earlier, it is essential to learn what you should expect while pursuing a career as a professor. Earning a minimum of master’s will make you eligible to become an associate professor. At the same time, a doctorate will prepare you for a full professional career as a professor. It is the leading educational difference between associate professor vs professor that every interested individual must know while pursuing the career.
- MASTER’S DEGREE
As said earlier, a Master’s is the minimum requirement to enter a career as a professor. Earning a professional master’s degree will allow you to land both part-time and full-time positions in educational institutions. Not just that, but it is also a gateway to build your professional network of professors. Most educational institutional employers seek individuals with masters and relevant experience in the field. In this case, your professional network will help you make different teaching opportunities to gain experience for the career.
The prestigious and international institutions indeed have stringent requirements for the openings. Some institutions prefer doctorate professionals. However, a master’s degree paves the way for the skills and experience required to become a professor. Moreover, you can also participate in the assistantship to gain experience for your career. Many colleges offer assistantship programs to individuals that seek interests in becoming professors. These programs allow them to serve in various roles, including students’ research publications, collecting and analyzing the data while delivering the class lectures.
It is important to note that only a minimum number of students are eligible for these programs. They will be allowed to work certain hours a week with a requirement of GPA. For that instance, you will need to focus on getting good grades for all subjects to achieve your goals of becoming a professor.
- GAINING TEACHING EXPERIENCE
Apart from education, you will also encounter the factor of teaching experience before entering as a professor. It is highly uncommon to find professors without any prior experience in teaching. Since you choose a field where you will utilize the latest information and deliver them to the students for teaching, it is essential to gain teaching experience and education.
You can work as a teaching assistant to gain advanced experience for becoming a professor. Working as a teaching assistant will not only provide you relevant experience, but you can also receive wages to cover educational expenses. You will be responsible for performing administrative tasks for professors, noting students’ questions, and grading their quizzes and assignments.
- PURSUE DOCTORATE
Not many people pursue a doctorate for a career. But to become a professional full-time tenure-based professor, a doctorate is essential. You will be required to pursue a doctorate in the specific subject that you wish to teach in the future. This degree will prepare you with skills to conduct research and deliver education on scientific topics. These subjects include biology, mathematics, physics, chemistry, etc.
- BUILD YOUR NETWORK OF PROFESSORS
Professors are forever learners and great networkers. You must build your professional network of professors to learn new things and gain insights into the market. Your network should not be limited to colleagues and college professors only. But you can also attend seminars and conferences to broaden your professional network. Professionals highly advise building strong relationships with the professors to get suggestions and guidance for your career.
While pursuing a career as a professor, you may come across hurdles and get overwhelmed by working for various roles. You must take advantage of all the resources to gain professional expertise in the field and grow further. Research is the prime component of the career as a professor. It is essential to get your study published and contribute to other projects to secure a professional job as a professor.