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How to Become a College Professor

Suketu Mehta
College professors earn high respect as well as handsome salary throughout their career. One needs to have deep knowledge of a subject and also needs to constantly update it to be a successful professor.
A college professor is well respected and teaching is considered to be a highly noble and satisfying profession. You get to shape and transform young, naive minds into mature, adult ones. You also get to spend your life studying and teaching a subject which you love. Nothing could be more satisfying than that. Becoming a college professor is no mean task and it requires years of hard work, dedication, and patience on your part.


Make Up Your Mind

The most crucial thing is to decide and make your mind regarding your career. It takes tremendous study and extensive research work, for about eight or more years after completion of your bachelor's degree. You need to be sincere towards your study, and only if you feel you can go the distance, take the plunge.

Keep Scores High

Another aspect to keep in mind is that you need to score high grades consistently, throughout your bachelor's program. This will ensure you enter a college of your choice to pursue your master's degree. Maintain excellent grades and complete your bachelors with honors. Also, while pursuing your bachelor's degree, constantly keep on improving your writing skills, as it will only help you to write your research papers and periodicals later on.


You can approach an education counselor who would be able to guide you regarding various teaching credentials that you may need. A counselor can also help you choose the right path to complete your master's degree and Ph. D dissertation in the subject of your choice.

Master's Degree

A master's degree is eseential to become a college professor. You should choose a master's program in your field of specialization and also maintain good grades throughout the course. Keep enhancing your writing skills further and complete any prerequisite courses needed to get your Ph. D.

Ph. D. and Work Experience

Once you have obtained your master's degree, you should start with your Ph. D dissertation. This will take you around 2 to 5 years to complete. During this period, you should try to publish as many research articles as possible in top ranked journals of your field.
Undertake extensive research and come up with a unique research plan on your own. Certain universities provide an option to work while you are pursuing your Ph. D; you can make use of this option to gain vital work experience.

Full-time Teaching

After all this, you will finally be accepted by a university as a full-time professor and earn on a tenure basis. There is a seven yearlong tenure period which you need to successfully serve at a university before you can become a permanent faculty member.
Money is good during the tenure and some institutes may also fund your research work. You should work hard during this period and keep on constantly polishing your teaching skills so that your university retains you.

Professional Tips

  • Decide early which university you want to work for and go through the necessary requirements to get in. In case you get a part-time job there at any stage, do it.
  • Be smart while you choose your subject of specialization. It is wise to go for a discipline which constantly requires good full-time faculty.
  • There would be various conferences taking place which concern your subject. Attend these to widen your range of knowledge and also to stay abreast with the current happenings in your area of interest.
  • Maintain high standards throughout college and work years to stay ahead of your competitors.