What Credentials Are Required to Call Yourself “Professor?â€

Robert writes:
I know somebody who is posing as a professor at a university. At least I think
he is. All he has is a B.S. degree in English but he is lecturing at a class and
the local news covered it. He portrayed himself as a “professor” but I have serious
doubts since he posts no education to indicate any doctorates or other teaching
credentials to prove it.
What are the correct or minimal credentials needed for someone to call themselves
a “professor”? I don’t want to take a class and either do any of my friends who
think some of their “professors” aren’t actually qualified to teach. This problem
seems to be larger than anyone thinks.
The rumor is that colleges are hiring people of limited skill for less money and allowing
themselves to call themselves “professors”. How can a student know for sure that the
person teaching them is qualified as a professor?
Thank you so much for your answer. I just want to know what to look for to decide if
my “teacher” is a “professor” or just a fake.

The Career Doctor responds:
Yours is certainly an unusual question.
As for what it takes to be called a professor? It takes someone with the heart mind
and passion to tackle the awesome responsibility of educating the future leaders of
our society. I have always seen my career as a professor as a calling and I know
many of my colleagues feel the same way.
At most four-year schools full-time faculty hold terminal degrees — doctoral degrees.
However in certain situations — usually with part-time faculty — colleges and universities
make exceptions and hire faculty who may not have a graduate degree but who have
certifications and much experience in their field.
Who has the right to call themselves a professor? Anyone who teaches at the college
level — whether as lecturer instructor part-time or full-time PhD or otherwise.

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