How to Become a Professor
Professor Job Duties
Skills and Qualities of a Professorq
Professor Salary
Influential Professors
Leading Organizations for Professors
Top Cities for Professor Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become a Professor

At the university level, most full-time professor positions are held by those who have a doctoral degree. Doctoral degree programs usually take on average about 6 years of study after completing a Bachelor's degree program. This time also includes writing and defending a dissertation. Of course, some programs such as humanity programs may take longer than six years while other programs such as engineering programs can take less time. Usually when completing a doctoral program, candidates select a subspecialty.

Positions that are either part-time, temporary, for specific disciplines, or at a two year college may only require that candidates hold a Master's degree. Obtaining a Master's degree can on average take about four years to complete depending on the program. Master's degree programs are not as involved as doctoral programs but are more difficult than bachelor programs. Some people earn dual Master's degrees and colleges/universities often give preference to these people because they can teach more than one subject. In addition to holding either a Master's or doctoral degree, many institutions are requiring that applicants have some form of teaching experience.

What does a Professor do?

The main job of a professor is to teach students. The type of degree held will usually dictate the subject matter that is taught. This of course includes lecture preparation, actual class time, and grading assignments/tests. In addition to teaching, professors will hold office hours in which students can resolve issues or receive extra help if it is needed. Some professors may be required by their employer to complete so many research projects per year. This is often difficult to achieve as some professors find it hard to manage their classes and research.

What skills or qualities do I need to become a Professor?

Many professors find that spreading their knowledge is the most rewarding part of the job. Those who like to teach others are comfortable speaking in front of crowd, and confident should find a professor position to be a good fit.

The ability to manage time well is also an important factor. Professor schedules are often flexible as they are only required to attend class, hold office hours, and attend faculty meetings. Outside of these three things, it is the professor's responsibility to find the time to research projects and supervise graduate students. Some professors, especially those just starting out, will have the greatest difficulty with this as there is a lot of pressure on young professors to become published and to perform research.

Class times will vary as the university decides which classes to offer each semester so a professor's schedule is always changing. The changing class times will also affect office hours. Adaption to schedule changes should be taken into account prior to becoming a professor.

The ability to separate one's self from students is also essential. Professors should be able to help and assist students without becoming too involved. Emotional distance is vitally important and professors should always take precautions to avoid any behavior that could be construed as inappropriate.

How much does a Professor make?

The average income level of professors during 2006 was $56,120. The middle 50% of professors earned between $39,610 and $80,390. Only the bottom 10% made less than $27,590 while the top ten percent made more than $113,450. One thing to keep in mind about professor salaries is that it varies depending on the institution, area, subject type, and title.

During 2006, full-time professors made on average $73,207 while associate professors or part-time professors made $69,911. Assistant professors made slightly less earning $58,662. Those who work for a four-year institution made more in 2006 than those who worked for two-year colleges. Private institutions paid more in 2006 than public institutions who paid on average $71,362 per year. Religious-affiliated schools paid the least of the three at $66,118 per year.

Institutions that had programs in non-academic alternatives such as medicine, law, and engineering paid a higher salary to professors and these salaries well exceeded the average. Institutions that mainly concentrated in humanities, education, and other similar fields paid less.

Who are some influential professionals in this field?

Cary Nelson is the current President of the Executive Committee for The American Association of University Professors (AAUP). He is a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Since taking office with the AAUP, Nelson has worked tirelessly to protect the academic-freedom act as well as increase the membership of the AAUP. Nelson has also worked with a number of other professors to face the issue of reorganization of the AAUP and the effect of technology on the academic-freedom act. His first term as President took place during 2007. He is currently up for re-election for the 2008 term.

Jeffery A. Butts is a current professor at Appalachian State University and has been a member of the AAUP since 1977. He has served a number of years on committees for the AAPU and is the current First Vice-President. He is committed to taking a more active role in lobbying on behalf of professors, the reorganization effort of the AAUP, and establishing a charitable foundation to help with grants as well as endowment funds. Butts was elected in 2007 and is up for re-election in 2008.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

The American Association of University Professors in a leading organization in the field of post-secondary teaching. The Association was founded in 1915 with the mission to ensure "academic freedom" or the right to teach a subject while interjecting one's own thoughts without the fear of being reprimanded.

Today the Association works with professors from across the nation with the same mission in mind. Through lobbying efforts, briefs, support, and advice the AAUP offers professors a great deal of support in their chosen field. In addition to this, the AAUP offers a number of publications to its members as well as continually keeping members informed of legal happenings.

What are the top cities for Professor jobs?

Cities with large universities will have a larger number of professor positions than smaller cities. Presently Princeton, Philadelphia, Lewisburg, Kansas City, and New York top the list of the highest number of jobs for professors.

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