How to Become a College Professor

If you want to teach your favorite subject while researching and learning more about that subject, as well as writing studies and papers, then a career as a college professor is just the thing for you. However, you should know that getting there isn't easy [source: teacherdegrees].

Let's see what it takes to become a college professor:


  1. Do well in high school. You'll need a high grade point average and SAT scores, as well as an extensive extracurricular record in order to start your educational climb toward professorship at a good college.
  2. Complete your education. Professors must earn a bachelor's degree and a master's degree. Set your goal to graduate with honors with a high Graduate Record Exam (GRE) score.
  3. Apply to doctorate programs. Remember, depending on your area of study, it can take up to eight years to earn a doctorate. Most accredited universities require their professors to have a doctorate. However, college requirements vary. Find out the exact academic requirements for a professor at universities or colleges in your field of study. In any case, having a doctorate will help you advance more rapidly.
  4. Apply to the university or college you've chosen.
  5. Choose a sub-specialty in your field after you've been accepted.
  6. Connect with professors and fellow students during your studies. They will become an important professional network after you graduate and start your new career. This kind of networking is an invaluable resource when you start your job search.
  7. Ask your professors and faculty advisors for guidance on how to find work as a college professor.
  8. Prepare material for your dissertation, which you'll eventually deliver before a special committee. You need to do this in order to earn your doctorate.
  9. Publish your dissertation in a journal. You can do this while you're still in the graduate program.
  10. Write and publish a post-doctoral work.
  11. Look for a position teaching at a college or university. This is the first step toward becoming a college professor. Once you're teaching in a college, you'll advance until you become a tenured professor [source: howtodothings].