My name is Stephen and I am a college student thinking about becoming a
college professor; I have a couple of questions to ask you. My first question
is what is the minimum requirements for an entry level to become a
college professor. As a follow-up I would like to know what type of college
I could go to in order to become a college professor in criminal justice. That
is what I am going to school for; I would greatly appreciate any help you
could give me. My other question would be what would be a good job that
I could have in order to enhance my chances of looking for a job as an
associate or assistant professor in a college?
The Career Doctor responds:
A career as a college professor is a good choice as experts predict a major shortage of professors as many Baby Boom (and older)
professors retire over the next decade or so.
Why do you want to be a college professor? I hope you have been positively
influenced by one or more of your current professors and thus you want to
continue the tradition of educating future generations. My greatest satisfaction
as a professor came from seeing a student empowered by his or her new
knowledge — and sometimes that happens in the classroom but sometimes
it happens years later as the learning finally sinks in.
You are correct in assuming you need at least a minimum of a master’s degree to teach at the college level. You could teach at many smaller
schools and community colleges with a master’s degree — and you might also be
able to find part-time work at larger colleges. However the better jobs with
the better colleges require a doctorate. When you earn a doctorate you
also learn how to conduct research in your field and one of your obligations
as a professor — besides teaching of course — is to expand the knowledge
base of your field by publishing articles in academic journals.
You can best prepare for your future career by being the best student you
can and by gaining teaching experience perhaps starting with tutoring and
moving up from there. I would also recommend talking with some of your
current professors in the criminal justice field and ask them about the best
choices for gaining an advanced degree in your field.