The Route to Becoming a College Professor


Michelle writes:
I have two years of college under my belt and have been taking a break to
make some money and decide what I really want to do. I have decided that
I would really like to go to school to be a college professor but I have no
idea what steps I need to take to get there. I have been trying to look online
for pages that will offer information as to what courses I need to take and
how I go about planning my next college steps but I cannot find any. I would
really appreciate your advice and links to helpful pages!



The Career Doctor responds:
First I have to applaud your decision to take a break and find your career
calling — your career passion. The earlier you can accomplish this feat the
happier you’ll be — even if you end up having several career passions throughout
your life. My career passion is education and whether it comes in the classroom
through this column or through my Website I know that I am making a
difference in people’s lives — and that drives me to excel.
Where do you go from here? Well of course you need to complete your undergraduate
education. If you’re interested in teaching at the community-college level you’ll
need to continue on and obtain at least your master’s degree. If you’re interested
in teaching at the university level then you’ll most likely need your doctorate
degree. There are some exceptions to these generalizations but for the most
part they hold true.
College professors specialize in a specific discipline so I am assuming that besides
knowing you want to teach you also know what you want to teach. My advice is to schedule appointments with professors who teach the subject that you want to teach
and pick their brains about the best schools to complete your education the job outlook
for the discipline and the life of a college professor.
Let me end by getting on my soapbox a minute. Some people perceive that we
college professors have the “easy life” working “part-time” because we only teach three
or four courses and getting lots of time off (including long summers). Part of the perception is true — we do get a fair amount of vacation time but when school is in session our jobs are anything but part-time. Besides teaching (which includes prep time class time grading advising etc.) university professors must conduct research and get published in scholarly proceedings and journals and be active participants in service activities (inside and outside the university).
You can find links to several great articles about attending graduate school as
well as links to great graduate school resources by going to the
Graduate School
Resources
section of Quintessential Careers.
You can also find more information about the steps to becoming a college
professor by visiting eHow Inc.’s
eHow
to Become a College Professor
.
You can learn more about becoming a college professor by reading
some of the resources and reviewing some of the job descriptions found in this
section of Quintessential Careers:
Academic Educator & Teaching Jobs.


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