In order to work in most universities as a professor, you are going to need much more than a bachelor’s degree. Tenured professors almost always have a doctorate in their field. In fact, some of the top professors in the country have multiple degrees in related fields. However, if you want to get your foot in the university door, you’ll need only a master’s degree in the field in which you would like to teach or a different master’s degree with a good amount of hours in the field you plan to teach.
Of course, just having a master’s degree will not be sufficient in most cases. Most universities are seeking more from their professors. You stand a better chance of getting hired if you have a strong history of publication in your field. As you already know, all academic fields have their own professional journals. If you write papers for these journals and have them published, this achievement will give you an advantage. The same is true if you present papers at academic conferences during your graduate studies and beyond. All of this academic work is going to look impressive on your curriculum vitae (CV) and will help you land a position.
Contrary to what you might believe, most universities do not necessarily require professors to have past teaching experience. However, it can help. If you worked in assistant teaching jobs while in graduate school, for example, these experiences can also give you an advantage because you will have had hands-on experience working with students and managing a classroom environment. Sometimes you can obtain some teaching experience at community or vocational colleges which have less strenuous education requirements.
Finding Education Jobs at Universities
One of the most common ways to locate available positions is to go directly to the universities and their human resources’ pages. Generally, you’ll be able to find out which faculty jobs are open and how you can apply. If you happen to be located in the vicinity of a university, you may find that their search committee will place ads in newspapers and other sources in order to find a wealth of potential candidates who might meet their needs.
The problem with the above method is that you have to know which colleges you want to work for. That’s not always practical because there are so many universities around the country. Instead, you should think about using a more practical approach. There are some web sites, for example, that specialize in helping potential professors connect with available positions at some of the country’s best colleges around the country. Like more general job search sites, these allow you to search for the specific types of jobs you would want and you can find available positions throughout the country without having to visit multiple web sites.
As you are looking for available positions, you need to know exactly which types of professor jobs you are interested in. You’ll find that some are known as tenure-track positions while others are not. Tenure is basically a point in your career at the university when you cannot be fired. After around six or seven years teaching, you will be given a permanent job contract that cannot be revoked except in extraordinary cases. In addition to staying at the university for that length of time, you would also need to continue publishing articles and studies and doing research or field work.
However, not all professor jobs at universities are designed to reach tenure levels. Many today are considered less permanent and are responses to fluctuations in enrollment as well as to changes in staffing, especially as many tenured professors begin to leave their academic positions or drop to part-time levels. Because tenure professors tend to earn more, some universities are beginning to look for employees who will cost them less over time.
Before you apply for any higher education jobs, you should look at the benefits provided by the university as well. You should receive key benefits, including health care and life insurance, as well as other perks. Remember once you are offered the job you can continue to negotiate if you are unhappy with what is offered but starting off with a package that is going to be satisfactory could safe you the trouble.
Generally, don’t expect to get a university position at the same school where you received your degrees. While that may happen in some cases, most universities want their professors to offer more diversity in terms of background, education, and experience. You would probably be better off relocating to find a position you want. And keep in mind that some universities will assist you with your relocation efforts.