In order to become visiting assistant professor, you must be a senior faculty member at a university. This program functions as a post-doctoral program in that you do need to have a Ph.D in order to participate in the program. Such a position provides you with opportunities to work in universities all over the world as just about all universities welcome visiting professors. During the time you spend at the university, you can gain the experience you need in conducting research and in teaching in order to apply for a tenure track position as an assistant or associate professor.
As a visiting assistant professor, you must teach at least one course per semester. You are also required to present one or more research papers to the faculty in a series of workshops throughout the semester or the academic year. The number of such positions that are available at universities varies from year to year. The decisions regarding the number of visiting professors a university can accommodate is made during the spring and summer, but the deadline for receipt of applications is much earlier. Therefore you will rarely see advertisements for exact positions, just that the university will be hiring. You should select the universities that you would like to work at and submit applications. You should be aware that there may not be openings for your area of expertise at a specific university.
The information package you send to a university when you apply for the position of visiting assistant professor should include your curriculum vitae, the title of the position you are applying for, a list of your credentials, a copy of a current research paper published by you and the names of two references who can attest to your skills and qualifications. The faculty, the dean, the University Chancellor and the Board of Trustees all make separate decisions as to whether your application is successful and if you will be hired.
The time you spend as a visiting assistant professor will well prepare you for obtaining a tenure track position at a university. It is important that you spend your time on original research and prepare a published document at the end of your research project. You should choose the university that can best support your research needs and will give you the support and guidance that you need. You can also take part in roundtable discussions with other members of the faculty to find out about other professors are working on. These people can also give you valuable advice about your career as a professor. You are also strongly encouraged to take an active part in the university life by participating in all staff meetings and events.
It is also possible to have a term appointment to the position of visiting assistant professor. The term can vary from one to three years as teaching appointments or post-research appointments. This does not constitute a permanent position with the university and at the end of your contract, the university does not have any obligation to offer you another contract.