As a teacher, you may aspire to eventually become a tenure track assistant professor in the education department of a university. You do have to complete a Bachelor’s degree and pass the appropriate teaching certification exam for your state, grade and content area that you teach. In most states, you also need to graduate from a teacher-training program. Then you need to work as a teacher, obtain a Master of Education degree and finally a Ph.D in Education.
Once you have your doctorate, you still won’t qualify right away fro a position as a tenure track assistant professor. Most university professors work their way up through the ranks of the university echelon by teaching classes as a lecturer or instructor. One way to do this is to take summer school positions teaching in the Education department. You can also teach night classes during the semesters. This will give you experience teaching at the post – secondary level. Along with the degrees you need for this position, you also need to have quite a bit of teaching experience in the regular school system and at the university level.
A tenure track assistant professor position is not a permanent position at the university. Tenure track means that you are on your way to becoming permanent and this process usually takes six years. First you are hired for an initial contract period of three years, after which time your contract can be renewed for a further three-year period. This is the probationary period. At the end of the sixth year, you may be granted tenure and promoted to the rank of associate professor. Whether or not you receive this tenure and promotion has a lot to do with the policies of the university and the openings for associate professor positions that exist.
If you look at an advertisement for a tenure track assistant professor in the field of education, you will see that you do need to have expertise in one of the main areas – teaching reading, mathematics, a foreign language, science or special education. The responsibilities that come with such a position involve teaching undergraduate classes for student teachers, advising them of what courses they need to take, supervising student teachers in the classroom during their teaching internship and first year of teaching full time.
Another facet of obtaining a job as a tenure track assistant professor is that you will be expected to develop and maintain an active research program within your field of expertise. This is perhaps the most important part of the position if you want tenure and promotion to associate professor. One of the requirements of being promoted to associate professor status is that you publish scholarly writing in your field. The research you do is tantamount for this writing. As an assistant professor, you are also expected to perform service to the university and the teaching profession in general. This means promoting the university at events, speaking engagements and other occasions. You may be called upon to make presentations to school districts and groups of teachers about your research and help them in implementing new methodologies in the classroom.