An associate professor works at a university or college. To obtain such a position at a university, you must possess a doctorate degree. This is a mid-level position on the faculty and the appointment is usually made only after you have published works within your area of expertise. You can also work as an assistant professor until you are awarded tenure, at which time you automatically receive a promotion to the associate status. Significant teaching experience is also a prerequisite for obtaining such a position.
In a typical situation, assistant professors get only one chance to become an associate professor. This is at the end of their probationary period. They are evaluated and if they have met or exceeded the expectations for the promotion and tenure, they will be awarded a promotion to the higher rank in the university faculty. The next promotion one can receive is that of a full professor. Each rank carries a raise in salary as well as elevation is status.
You will occasionally see job postings for the position of associate professor. Most of the time, the promotion usually comes from within the faculty and one has to work up to this rank. However, there are openings for this type of position, but in order to be eligible one has to have held that rank already at a university. Some professors like to move about from one area to another to increase their experience or move to a university where work is being carried out that they have an interest in being part of.
While working as an assistant, a professor can work on the scholarly research and writing that is needed for such a promotion and to be awarded tenure at the university. When one receives tenure, he/she is then a permanent member of the faculty. Until that time, the professor is hired on a temporary or probationary basis, usually for a specified period of time.
Some of the responsibilities involved in the position of associate professor include teaching classes to undergraduate and graduate students. The number of courses a professor will teach in any one term depends on how much the person wants to take on, the demand for the courses and the number of students registering for the course. The professor may also be involved in supervising field experiences or different types of research projects. Collaboration with other faculty members is also an expectation in this position.
A person looking for a promotion to the rank of associate professor needs to be cognizant of the qualifications the hiring committee looks at when deciding to offer tenure. These include:
- The educational qualifications, such as transcripts of earned degrees
- Demonstration of effective teaching experience
- Published works and related research
- Ability and willingness to help out with faculty gatherings and meetings
- Concern for the well-being of the institution
- Effective practice in the faculty discipline
- Professional development activities that this person engaged in during the time working at the university