What is a College Professor?

What is a college professor? The answer will vary somewhat depending on the field of study that one focuses on. There are college professors who teach literature, sciences, law, and a host of other topics. A college professor is employed by a state or private college, university, or community college to teach students who are enrolled in their classes. Some professors are known as adjunct professors, which essentially means they are employed part-time and do not usually receive health of pension benefits. Other professors are heads of their departments, which means they have a more administrative role within the university as well as a teaching one.

Degrees, Training and Experience

It takes at least a master’s degree to teach any subject at the college level. A Phd. will bring in a higher salary, as it means the degree holder has a high level of expertise in their field. Simply having a degree, however, is not usually enough to be employed as a professor. Internships taken throughout one’s education can prove that the hopeful teacher has real-world experience in their field. The same can be said for relevant work experience. For example, a law professor is much more likely to be seen as a higher valued employee if they have experience working as a lawyer. While good marks throughout their higher education are important as well, students are more likely to respond to one’s experience in the real world.

How much does a College Professor make?

The average salary for a college professor hovers around eighty to ninety thousand dollars a year. There is, however, a great deal of variability, depending on experience, alma mater, and the field of study. As previous stated, Phd. holders make the most, followed by those with master’s degrees. Previous teaching experience or relevant job experience will almost always garner a higher salary upon hire. Community college professors make the least, while professors at state school’s make wages generally higher than the average median salary in their area. Private school professors who have high levels of experience and expertise can commonly make above six figures. The exception to these rules, however, is the adjunct professor. While adjuncts work in public and private colleges, they oftentimes only make two thousand dollars per course. Teaching five courses a year (which is the general course load for a full-time professor) means they only make ten thousand dollars per semester.

Future Prospects

There is huge job growth for college professors outside of the western world. Colleges in Asia and the Middle East are opening at a rapid pace, and are constantly looking for well-qualified teachers to fill their positions. In the United States, there is less stability. While professors of sciences can usually find work if they are well-qualified and have a strong desire to teach, students of the arts and humanities are having difficulty finding work, especially if they did not graduate from an elite school. Regardless, there will never come a day when the market truly crashes, as higher education is a necessary part of an educated population. In short, no one really needs to ask “What is a college professor?” so long as there are educated individuals to teach them.