How to become a Professor

This article provides in-depth information into What is a Professor? What Professors do? Degrees for Professors, Steps to become Professor and much more.

A professor is someone who instructs students in a wide variety of academic and vocational subjects beyond the high school level. They also conduct research and publish scholarly papers and books. They work in public and private colleges and universities, professional schools, junior or community colleges, and career and vocational schools. To become a professor you must meet the qualifications and requirements necessary to land on a high profile job.

What does a Professor do ?

Professors specialize in any of a wide variety of subjects and fields. Some teach academic subjects, such as English or philosophy. Others focus on career-related subjects, such as law, nursing, or culinary arts. Postsecondary teachers typically do the following:

  • Teach courses in their subject area.

  • Work with students who are studying for a degree or a certificate or certification or are taking classes to improve their knowledge or career skills.

  • Develop an instructional plan (known as a course outline or syllabus) for the course(s) they teach and ensure that it meets college and department standards.

  • Plan lessons and assignments.

  • Work with colleagues to develop or modify the curriculum for a degree or certificate program involving a series of courses.

  • Assess students’ progress by grading papers, tests, and other work.

  • Advise students about which classes to take and how to achieve their goals.

  • Stay informed about changes and innovations in their field.

  • Conduct research and experiments to advance knowledge in their field.

  • Supervise graduate students who are working toward doctoral degrees.

  • Publish original research and analysis in books and academic journals.

  • Serve on academic and administrative committees that review and recommend policies, make budget decisions, or advise on hiring and promotions within their department.

Steps for becoming a Professor


Choose An Educational Field

College professors can choose from a huge variety of academic fields in which to specialize and teach since all subjects need to be taught. Mathematics, chemistry, English, and history are just a few of the subjects a student can specialize in. Students can base the choice of the field on several factors including individual preference or the likelihood of obtaining a position in a particular field.


Earn A Bachelor's Degree

A bachelor's degree is the first step on the long educational road to becoming a college professor. Since a bachelor's degree is a prerequisite for entering graduate school, students should keep in mind what's required to graduate from a bachelor's degree program and what's required to qualify for a graduate degree program. For example, a GPA that is acceptable to graduate may not be high enough to enter graduate school. Additionally, a student can begin to get an idea of how professors work and interact with students at the undergraduate level.


Enroll In Graduate School

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, college professors need at least a master's degree, and in many cases, a doctoral degree is required. Popular or prestigious graduate schools may have stringent entrance requirements and many applicants for relatively few openings. Publication is important for individuals who want to become professors. Establishing a publication record during graduate school will make a candidate more competitive when applying for tenure-track teaching positions.


Participate In Employment Opportunities Or Internships

During the entire educational process, a student needs to participate in any available internships or employment opportunities that build your teaching and research experience and aid in advancing your career. This often means holding a graduate assistantship. Maintaining good academic and working relationships with schools and other professors can lead to potential job opportunities.

Professor Salaries


Professor Degree Levels


Students who enter an associate degree program have one of two goals: They want to earn a degree that will allow them to begin working immediately upon graduation, or they aim to build up their educational credits and then transfer to a bachelor’s degree program. Aspiring professors often choose this particular degree if they intend to work with preschool students or if they want to gain the basic knowledge necessary to begin work in the teaching field, with the potential of continuing on to a bachelor’s degree in the future.

Introduction to Curriculum Development
  • Multicultural Education

  • Differentiated Instruction

  • Behavior Objective

  • The relationship between educational theory and practice
  • Major historical developments in educational thought and practice

  • Examine current curriculum theories

Principles and Practices of Teaching
  • Introduction to Course

  • Development of Critical Thinking

  • Learning Theories as Frameworks for Teaching

  • Discuss the role of the teacher in the American educational system

  • Explain the value of differentiated and individualized instruction

  • Explain the value of teaching critical thinking in a democratic society

Teaching in a Diverse Society
  • Multicultural Education

  • Cultural artifacts

  • Acculturation and enculturation 

  • Explain how changing demographics influence public schools

  • Define the concept of multicultural education

  • Identify cultural influences on modes of communication, perception, and world view


For aspiring professors, the bachelor’s degree is the initial step to become a professor. This four-year degree not only offers students the opportunity to specialize their education in order to pursue a particular career path. Graduates of a bachelor’s degree program are prepared to enter the classroom and teach students from kindergarten to high school level. In some cases, a bachelor’s degree is also required to teach at the preschool level.

Methods of Teaching
  • Effective teaching

  • Teaching model

  • Inductive and deductive teaching

  • Theories and principles of classroom management

  • Theories and principles of instructional methodologies

  • Realities and structures of the teaching profession

Education Technologies
  • Communications theory

  • History and impact of technology

  • Future trends in technology

  • Role of technology in the teaching process

  • Gain skills in digital tools used in teaching

  • Basic theories of communication, selection, evaluation, and research

Education of Children With Special Learning Needs
  • Curriculum adjustments

  • Instruction access

  • Accommodation

  • Curriculum changes and appropriate materials for students with learning challenges

  • Ways to increase instructional access and work with parents to devise curriculum plans


The master’s degree is the minimum requirement for a career as a professor. A master’s degree allows those who have already earned their bachelor’s degree to further their education in order to enter a specific area of teaching or administration.

Legal and Ethical Issues
  • Bullying and harassment

  • Regulations

  • Due process hearings and truancy

  • Legal issues and how the proper way to handle them

  • Ethical concerns and how they should be addressed

  • Following the law, in terms of regulations, standards, state, and government concerns

Curriculum Development
  • Development and planning

  • Current research, social factors, and accountability

  • Use of student data and student assessment

  • How to read research and surveys concerning curriculum, student assessments and data gleaned from tests

  • Accountability requirements on the national and state level

  • How to create effective curriculum plans

College finance
  • Income Tax

  • Budget

  • Financial Statements

  • College finances on a national, state, and local level

  • How to access proper funding and grants

  • How to seek out resources that provide for further educational needs


Applicants to doctoral programs must have at least a bachelor's degree to be considered for admission, and some programs require students to hold a master's degree. Standardized test scores are also almost always required. While some programs only require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test, others require a specific GRE subject test as well, like the GRE Literature test. Letters of recommendation and a personal statement are among the other common requirements.

Applied physics
  • Mechanical Systems

  • Electrical Systems

  • Fluid Systems

  • Integrate technology

  • Apply safety in the workplace

  • Think critically and creatively

  • Work, heat, first law

  • Internal energy, expansion work

  • Fundamental equation, absolute S, third law

  • To present a comprehensive treatment of classical thermodynamics

  • To lay  the  groundwork  for studies  in fluid mechanics and heat  transfer

  • To develop an intuitive understanding of thermodynamics

Materials science
  • Mechanical Behavior of Materials

  • Organic and Biomaterials Chemistry

  • Materials Processing

  • Provide science and engineering leadership in academic settings

  • Innovate in a wide variety of technical fields

  • Excel in careers related to the entire lifecycle of materials