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The Professor: A Job Profile

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A professor is a post secondary level educator who works at a university, college, or community college. Education requirements for this job vary a great deal depending on several factors. In addition, the exact working duties and requirements may also vary from one learning institution to the next, though the primary responsibility of a professor is to educate his or her students.

Working as a Professor

The main work environment for a career as a professor is within the classroom, interacting with students. As such, the majority of a professor's work time is spent instructing students and dealing with student problems and concerns. Classes often last from an hour to an hour and a half and usually meet every other day. Most professors teach three to four classes each year, however, which means they usually spend a few hours in the classroom each day.

In addition to providing classroom instruction, a professor is required to grade papers and exams while also taking time to prepare lessons. Professors are also usually called upon to conduct research, and to have their research published in professional journals.

Since professors must work in classrooms, they should also be good at dealing with students and teaching. At the same time, having past teaching experience is not usually a requirement for most colleges when it comes to hiring a professor. Rather, the primary concern is the individual's level of education and knowledge of the field he or she will be teaching.

Professors may also be called upon to organize and manage the students they supervise, and may have them help teach courses or help with research. Advancement is also possible for professors, with many deans and administrators having previously been professors. The main goal for a professor, however, is usually to gain a tenure position. In this way, the professor is guaranteed his or her position each year and has the freedom to teach ideas and to research new fields that might be considered controversial. Being a professor is a rewarding job and has a great potential to provide stability and the chance to work in many different areas.

Educational Requirements for a Professor

Professors are expected to be experts in their subject matter. Therefore, someone who wishes to have a job as a professor must achieve a certain educational level within the specific field he or she wishes to teach. In most cases, a professor is required to have a doctorate in order to hold a tenure track position, although some schools, depending on available faculty, may hire individuals who only have a master's degree. These are usually temporary or part time jobs and are referred to as adjunct positions.

It can take several years of full time study after obtaining a bachelor's degree in order to obtain a doctorate. To gain a doctorate that can help one earn a career as professor, a dissertation and research must also be completed.

With two-year colleges, most positions are filled by individuals with master's degrees. Some teaching can be done at the post secondary level with only a bachelor's degree, but these positions are generally filled by enrolled students who are working toward obtaining higher level degrees.
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