Teaching primary or secondary school is a common career choice for many. However, becoming a college professor requires immense dedication, and only highly ambitious candidates may be suitable for this role. People who truly enjoy imparting knowledge should consider applying for this post. However, do not forget that it also demands special skills, qualifications, and knowledge. The job responsibilities of a college professor include designing a curriculum and teaching a specific higher education course. You must also conduct research, publish articles, develop books, and more, to advance in your career.
Since this job post is demanding, it also has high requirements. Any college hiring a professor expects them to be skilled and fully knowledgeable in their field.
Furthermore, they must have ample experience and excellent lecture delivery ability. If you are considering applying for the post, first refine your personal profile by; making yourself stand out among the crowd of candidates for the job. Here are a few steps you can follow:
1. Complete your education
Before you can teach others at college, you need to be qualified enough to get a firm grasp on your subject. The first step is to complete your bachelor’s, but that usually isn’t enough. Most high-rank college professors have at least a Ph.D. or doctorate in their subject. There is an increasing preference for candidates with advanced degrees over those with a bachelor’s only. For most colleges or universities, a doctorate is essential for joining as a professor at the institute. Even if an institute accepts a minimum masters’ degree as its basic requirement, candidates with a doctorate will certainly be given preference. For instance, an Online Doctorate Program in Educational Leadership prepares you for master’s and post-master’s professional positions. You can ultimately aim for higher leadership roles in your educational institute with such degrees.
2. Gain teaching experience
Yes, not all institutes require years of prior teaching experience, but in many cases, your work experience has a major impact on hiring decisions. Often, some prior teaching experience relevant to your field is expected or mandatory. Especially in the United States, experience counts a lot, and prior student satisfaction is considered when evaluating your teaching quality. This requirement, however, may vary between countries. Germany, for example, places less importance on teaching experience than research when considering candidates for college professor roles. So before you search for ways to shape your profile, take into account the preference of the country and institute where you wish to apply. Prior experience in research is sometimes a necessity when applying for the post of professor for subjects like biology, chemistry, or physics.
Many universities allow their graduate students to get teaching experience by assisting their professors in undergraduate classes. Teaching Assistants (TAs), Teachers Aids, and Graduate student instructors are some posts that graduate students can apply for at their university.
3. Get certified or licensed
Some teaching posts demand certification or license; a doctoral degree may not be enough. Vocational and technical fields like accounting and health require such licenses because these professors need to prepare students for earning the same license. While not all college teaching jobs require certification, you may need one when applying to certain institutes. A teaching license is a credential that legalizes you to teach in a given area. Most international schools that hire professors from abroad demand a teaching license. A US or Canadian teaching license is a requirement for many institutes abroad.
4. Publish work and earn yourself a name in the academic world
The market is extremely competitive today. To secure a position as a college professor, you will be competing against many top-qualified and experienced candidates. Published work is likely to make you stand out among the crowd. Especially for top-ranked jobs like a tenure-rank position, published work is all the more important. A few scholarly articles are not enough; you often need popular publications like books.
5. Construct a network
The academic arena, like other professions, relies on networks constructed through mentoring, attending workshops, giving talks etc. Whenever you get time, attend conferences and insert yourself in this academic network to build your reputation. You can participate in debates, join projects, attend relevant seminars, and get to know reputable people in academia. This way, you might land yourself a job when some respected individual recognizes you and can verify your strengths.
You can also get to know new job opportunities before others and familiarize yourself with the hiring staff. At the same time, networking opens you to a host of new experiences and advice that you cannot get anywhere else. Guidance and instruction from experienced professionals can open up new opportunities and polish your skills further. Networking doesn’t necessarily have to begin after completing your education; even in college, you can benefit greatly from interacting with renowned professors.
6. Come forth in the market!
Now that you have worked on developing a well-rounded profile, it is time you come into the market and compete against the best. If you wish to apply to a teaching job before having plausible research experience, you can apply for postdoctoral positions. These posts employ people for the short term to help them gain teaching and research experience before applying for long-term teaching opportunities.
With most institutes, the hiring committee will conduct initial screening interviews and call top candidates for further discussion. After that, they might call you for a campus visit where you meet with the faculty, students, and administrators and give a lecture. The campus department will then vote among the applicants, and if deemed suitable, you will receive a job offer. Your academic research, publications, experience, and postdoctoral research will be important considerations in the job selection.
College professor jobs are demanding, and the market is highly competitive. Only with true dedication, experience, advanced education, and strong networks can you stand out. When you have decided to apply for this job post, you need to start building your resume by publishing work, engaging in research, and getting certified if required. The education field demands strong academic credentials and practical teaching and research experience. To impress the hiring committee, you need to be strong in both areas and should have a strong knowledge base.