Colleges and universities have different ranks to show how much experience one has acquired. Being a professor is one of the highest level one can reach in the field of academics. But do you need a PhD to be a professor?
Yes, you do. All assistant, associate, and full-time professors need a Ph.D. to earn those titles. In addition to that, the professor would also need to have his work published to prove their knowledge.
If you are considering a career as a professor and don’t know how to go about it, then this article is for you. I will be talking about the requirements for being a professor and how to become one.
What are the requirements for being a professor?
If you wish to be a professor, there are requirements and basic qualifications you are expected to possess. Some of these requirements include;
1. A doctorate degree in your field
Many institutions or colleges require you to have a doctorate degree in their field. For example, if you wish to be a professor in economics, then you need to have a Ph.D. in economics.
2. Enough teaching experience
Another major requirement you should have is teaching experience. That is, you must have valid experience leading or instructing classes or students.
This experience can be gained during master’s or doctoral programs. Students under this program are usually encouraged or sometimes even required to handle, lead, or assist with undergraduate classes.
3. A professional certificate
Depending on the field you want to teach in, you are required to have professional certification in that field. Usually in something within your field of study, in addition to getting a doctoral degree.
For example, a nursing teacher is expected to have a certificate showing that he/she is a registered nurse (RN). While an aspiring accounting professor may need to be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
4. A prominent academic presence or publications
Having a prominent academic presence or publication is vital as a professor. This is because the educational sector is usually very competitive, and having many academic publications gives you that edge over the others.
Not just having different articles under your belt, but rather big or well-known publications such as books. Many colleges even require proof of high-quality ground-breaking research from aspirants.
How can you become a professor?
Now that you have been well appraised of the requirements of being a professor, what steps do you need to take to become one?
Below is a step-by-step guide on how to become a professor;
1: Earn a bachelor’s degree
Every professor or educator started out as a student in the first place. For you to become a professor, you must first complete the basic educational requirement.
It is crucial to get a good grade, at least a minimum of 3.0 GPA. This is because most graduate programs require a minimum of a 3.0 undergraduate GPA for admission.
Getting a good grade shows you take education seriously and that you are passionate about learning. This plays a huge role in your path to becoming a professor when you apply for graduate school.
SEE: Is A 3.5 GPA Good?
2: Apply for graduate school
Before standing in front of a classroom, it is important that you undergo training in your discipline. Gaining admission into any top graduate school will boost your chances of becoming a college professor.
Ensure you keep your grades or GPA up, as having a low grade can reduce your chances of graduating. The best practice is to get at least Bs in all your classes.
It would also help your course if you utilize your graduate program and become a teaching assistant. This way, not only will you receive payment, but you will also gain experience as a teacher at the post-secondary level.
3. Pass your comprehensive exams
To earn a Ph.D. at the end of the program, you are expected to take a comprehensive exam. This exam will show your knowledge of your field.
For some students, especially doctoral students, this exam is oral and written in their primary research areas. While for other students, it requires a portfolio, research paper, and sometimes oral defense.
4. Write a groundbreaking dissertation
After passing the graduate exam, you should write a dissertation which is usually a culmination of your research. Earning a Ph.D. usually requires completing a dissertation.
It is critical that you come up with a very unique or groundbreaking dissertation. This is because, when applying for jobs, your dissertation shows that you are innovative and well-disciplined in your field.
5. Go into the job market
After defending your dissertation before the school defense committee, you can go into the academic job market. Or you can apply for postdoctoral positions to help you gain research and teaching experience.
Many educators have found out that postdoctoral positions are key in building a resume against applying for full-term jobs.
Is being a professor worth it?
Yes, it is.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of a professor is estimated at $79,000.
Additionally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the job outlook for professors is very good. The projection shows the growth rate for professors will increase by 15 percent between 2016 and 2026 and is the fastest among all occupations.
Are teachers different from professors?
Yes, they are.
A teacher is one who teaches at pre-school, elementary, middle, and high school levels, while a professor is one who is an expert in a field.
How long does it take to be a professor?
It could take any time between five to eight years for one to attain the level of a professor.
Who is the youngest professor in the world?
The youngest professor in the world is Alia Sabur. She is an American materials scientist born on February 22, 1989.
Which is the easiest Ph.D. to get?
Some of the easiest fields you can get a Ph.D. easily include psychology, counselor education and supervision, and business management.
Conclusion: Do you need a Ph.D. to be a professor?
It is important for you to have a Ph.D. to become a professor. Alongside that, you must possess relevant experience, publications, and certificates in your field.
If you are considering becoming a professor in the nearest future, you should start taking the right step toward that. You can see the steps to becoming a professor in this article, and with the right commitment, you can accomplish that.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article, if you did, you should also see if getting a Ph.D. is worth it.
Thanks for reading.