Careers (MP) The advancement of education is increasing exponentially, and colleges and universities are the driving force behind the charge. These schools are in need of very specialized online, targeted college professors to teach courses in their studied subject. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for postsecondary instructors were expected to grow at a faster-than-average rate of 13% from 2014 through 2024. The best job prospects were projected for those with Ph.D.s who were willing to work part-time or on short-term contracts.
Professors teach undergraduate or graduate students in community and 4-year colleges and universities. Most full-time professors at 4-year colleges and universities hold doctoral degrees. Part-time professors may have master’s degrees and work on their doctorate while teaching undergraduate courses. Arts professors typically hold a Master of Fine Arts (MFA), which is the terminal degree for artistic fields such as painting or creative writing.
What Are College Professor Duties?
Full-time faculty members at 4-year colleges and universities normally teach about 3-4 different courses per semester, serve on academic committees and advise students. In research-oriented institutions, they are required to engage in independent, original scholarship.
The traditional mode for hiring professors is based on a tenure system. Newly minted Ph.D.s start their professional careers with the understanding that their work will be carefully scrutinized at the end of a specified time period. They are then reviewed by a committee. If the committee grants tenure, they are given a much higher level of job security and, in some cases, a lighter teaching load. The tenure system is meant to encourage academic freedom and original research, in part by shielding professors from unfair or arbitrary dismissal.
Each semester, a full-time college professor may teach only one course closely related to his or her special interests. Other courses may be lower-division and more general. Professors may teach small groups or lecture in large halls. Each course requires devising a syllabus, presenting material in class, responding to students as a class and as individuals, grading exams and papers and evaluating student performance. At the same time, professors must keep current in their fields by reading new publications, attending and presenting papers at conferences and publishing their work.
Earnings for college s vary widely, depending on their specialty, but as of May 2015, the median annual earnings of all types of postsecondary teachers were $72,470, according to the BLS.
|Required Education*||Ph.D., master’s degree; some 2-year schools may only require a master’s degree as well.|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||13%*|
|Average Annual Salary (2015)||$72,470 *|
College professors who work for 4-year colleges and universities typically need a doctoral degree in their field. Some schools may hire those with a master’s degree or those who are doctoral degree candidates for some specialties, such as fine arts, or for some part-time positions.
Doctoral programs generally take multiple years after the completion of a bachelor’s degree program. They spend time completing a master’s degree and then writing a doctoral dissertation, which is a paper presenting original research in the student’s field of study. Candidates usually specialize in a subfield, such as organic chemistry or European history.