How to Become a College Professor: a Complete Guide

You must have had a favorite professor or a teacher in your college or school. Did you look up to them and want to become like them? Good teachers make others feel like they should try their hand at teaching, too. 

However, if you are seriously determined to become a college professor, this article I have written would be of great help. ✍️

College professors can earn up to $97,815 per year, which means there isn’t going to be any financial strain if you pursue this profession. All the rest of the information you would want to know is given below. ?

Who is a College Professor? 

I think everyone knows who a college professor is and what they do. Let’s refresh it again, though. College professors are teachers who have the caliber to teach at the university/college level. 

These are professionals who have most probably completed at least a master’s in their preferred subject so that they can become a professor in that field. Although professors with doctoral degrees are preferred. ?‍? 

You will find college professors everywhere because education is available almost everywhere as well. In recent years, due to the recent Covid pandemic, we saw teaching getting shifted to online platforms as well. This just shows how easily adaptable this profession is. ? 

How much can a College Professor earn?

Working in the education field is something that won’t ever go out of the market. No matter how useful AI becomes, there is something about the human trait that it cannot replicate no matter what. ? You should have a basic idea about the latest salary trends. 

All of this data has been proven statistically. It is up-to-date as well. Becoming a College Professor reaps the most profit in Sacramento, Columbus, and Atlanta. You can get up to $65 while working here.?

The base pay is what you are paid directly by the person or company who has employed you. The average base pay for a College Professor in July 2023 was $97,815. This is the part of the salary which you are promised when you join the job and makes up the majority portion of it.

The other part is additional wages you might get paid or not. These look like tips, commissions, etc. In terms of hourly wages, this comes down to $38.78 per hour. ?

How to Become a College Professor? (Tips)

Becoming a college professor is not something that is going to be a very difficult or outlandish job. You just need to make sure that you follow the right steps and don’t let time or opportunities go to waste.  

Do make sure that you jot down the steps I tell you about below. ⬇️

Choose the subject for yourself

There are a variety of courses available during the schooling process. But which one do you have to take is the question? The first step to becoming a college professor is all about selecting the field you would want to work in. 

Do you want to teach biology or physics? Or something else? This will require you to sieve through the courses carefully and make sure that you don’t take up any unwanted ones instead. 

As soon as you are sure about your chosen subject, start doing courses in that subject. Doing so would ensure that you have enough information required as prerequisites for your bachelor’s degree later. ✅

Which degrees to complete?

If you want to become a College Professor, the first thing you need is a bachelor’s degree. This is the basic requirement. You can choose any field you want, but it is going to be one you want to teach about. 

In the US, you can get a bachelor’s degree in about 3 to 4 years. You have lots of choices. There is no need to worry, as you will find an abundance of courses and programs for yourself. 

What comes next is your master’s degree, which you can start after you are done with your bachelor’s. And after getting your master’s, you can strive for a Ph.D. Getting a Ph.D. is super important if you want to be employed without any hitch and have a higher position in this profession.?‍?

Start networking

Networking is something that people often forget about, but it’s a very important skill to master. Having other skills and knowledge is great for your career, but what use is it if no one knows about it? And if no one knows about them, why will they give you a job? Hence, by merely talking to other teachers or people in the same field as you from different schools, they’ll get to know you and see that you’re ready for a job. ?

Gain experience

What you should do next is start working in internships or projects set up by other individuals. Start teaching in schools. Ask for such opportunities around your locality. You can also try to become a home tutor. 

Any teaching gig will give you lots of experience. This is because the age level doesn’t matter. Teaching a kid of any age would help you understand this profession and pedagogy methods more. ?

Try to publish your work

Publishing your work should also remain a priority. Don’t lose sight of this goal no matter how busy you get. When your work gets published, you get to interact with more individuals and also get some more reputation in the field of your choice. ?️

Tips to Improve Your College Professor Career 

There are a lot of skills and extra things that you need to keep in mind to gain expertise in your career. You must try to work for these, too, because getting a degree doesn’t mean you are sure to learn soft skills as well. ⤵️

Don’t stop studying

When you start to teach so many other people a subject, your concepts should be as clear as the day. If you want to teach precisely and accurately, never stop studying. This will also help with publishing your work. 

If you have sufficient knowledge to help answer the questions your students might ask, then your credibility as a teacher will only increase. ?

Take care of your classroom environment

The job of a College Professor or anyone else in their work environment isn’t easy. You have to interact with so many different kinds of people. There might be some very intelligent students who question everything you teach them. 

There might be some who don’t understand, no matter how many times you teach them. And let’s not forget the class clowns. This can be very stressful, and you can feel overworked. 

When something like this happens, what you should do is not get discouraged, stay optimistic, and try to work out your differences. Never make them feel bad, ashamed, discouraged, or even frightened by your presence. ?

Learn more about pedagogy

Pedagogy is how you teach your students. And it’s a fact that the method that might be useful for one student might not be very helpful for any other one. This means that you have to be on the lookout for different pedagogies at all times. 

This is to ensure that your students are learning properly and come to you if they have any problems instead of shying away. ?‍?

Top Courses in the United States to Become a College Professor

With the invention and advent of online learning platforms, there’s a lot of increase in the amount of resources you can find online. ?

Classroom Management – Fundamentals of Teaching & Education

Udemy offers this course on ‘Classroom Management – Fundamentals of Teaching & Education’ completely designed as per the needs of teachers; your instructor is Scott Graham, who is a national trainer and instructor. 

When you access the course, you will find four sections that have 23 lectures in them. The total duration of this course is only 2 hours, which makes it a quick and credible course. ⌚

The course is all about teaching students who want to learn to teach. It includes topics such as strategic planning for class management, impacting education, and more. 

Foundations of Teaching for Learning: Introduction

Other than Udemy, there is one more platform that offers a plethora of courses is Coursera. It offers this course, which is taught by Professor John Macbeath, who is a professor at the University of Cambridge. 

You will find that it is divided into four modules with content. It is a part of a specialization program on Coursera, and you will find more parts of this specialization program attached to this one.

You will have to give 8 hours to this course if you want to learn it leisurely and properly. It is a very good course for beginners who are just beginning to get interested in teaching.

It is about how you can find if your class is interested in what you are teaching and how teaching is a very privileged profession. ?

Exploring Gender Equality in Education

One more platform we will bring into this list is FutureLearn, which has collaborated with a lot of organizations such as the British Council, Durham University, and more. Though it offers a premium plan for learners that provides them premium access to all of the resources on this site, it also has a lot of free certifications as well. 

This course provides a free certificate upon completion. It has been divided into three modules for learning. Each module will take 4 hours per week to finish this course. 

The instructors of this course are professionals from the British Council who have studied and researched gender, teaching, and topics related to these. ?

Strategies for Online Teaching and Learning

Offered by edX, this course is taught by Donata Bonassisa, who is an instructor at the University of British Columbia. This course is divided into audio and video content. These resources have been scheduled for three weeks. 

You would have to devote at least 5 to 7 hours per week to finish this course in three weeks. This course is an important one because of the increase in online teaching. We saw how teaching had to be shifted to the online mode entirely in the recent Covid pandemic. 

It was a hard time for both teachers as well as the students. This course tries to tackle and provide solutions for every problem we faced back then. ⌨️

University Teaching

Another course that you find on Coursera is this one about teaching in universities. This one is taught by Dr. Lily Min Zeng, who is an associate professor at the University of Hong Kong. 

The course has resources which have been divided into a schedule of 6 weeks. Each week requires a few hours out of your time to complete this course on time. The total duration after adding up the time for all these weeks comes out to be approximately 17 hours. ☁️

The course has been reviewed and praised by many and includes topics such as pedagogical methods, encouraging students to become better, designing good assignments, and researching.

Top Schools in the World that can help you become a College Professor 

There are a lot of offline schools and universities where you can find your ideal degree. You wouldn’t find any degree that makes you a college professor directly. You would have to get a degree in the field you want to teach about. 

Then, you would have to keep getting more and more specialized in these fields to become able to get on the level of a teaching professional. The topmost ones are listed below. ?

Stanford University

Stanford University was founded in 1885 and is a very well-known university in Stanford, US. It offers undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral degrees in a lot of subjects. To name a few, there are athletics, physical education, engineering, business, biophysics, gender studies, and so many more. 

These are all very diverse and address the core concepts, and the faculty is also known for being very accurate and good at teaching. ?

University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge is one of the oldest educational institutions in the UK and one of the largest as well. It operates 31 colleges under it. The university holds one of the highest ranks on the global university rankings. It operates ten schools and colleges under it. 

It has a plethora of courses and programs and holds a reputation for being one of the best in all the courses it offers. Founded in 1209, the university’s education plan boasts excellence and credibility.

It offers an undergraduate program in computer science only. ?

Harvard University 

Harvard University is a private Ivy League university. It is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Founded in 1636, the university operates the main college as well as the Harvard Medical School, which is located in Boston. It also operates Harvard Law School, which is very well-reputed as well. ?

It holds high ranks in almost all of the lists marked by subjects. The university is a very good option because of the research-based programs you will find there. 

University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is located in London, UK, and was founded in the 11th century, making it the oldest educational institution in the UK. It offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in a plethora of subjects. 

You can also choose to do a four-year integrated master’s program in any of these subjects. The university does have a main campus and is divided/scattered in the city center. About 40% of the student population comprises international students. ?

Imperial College

Imperial College is located in London, UK, and was founded in 1907. The main campus of this science-based university lies in South Kensington in Central London. The college has a diverse range of subjects which attracts students from all over the world to come and study its premises. ?

Here, other very important institutions, such as the Natural History Museum and more, are also located. The university has four major subdivisions based on subject matter – engineering, business, medicine, and natural sciences. 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Among the options I have listed up till now, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is most definitely one of the best. It is highly recommended that you pursue a degree here. MIT, which was founded in 1861, has a vast array of science programs, and the resources that you get along the way are no joke either.

MIT also has the highest employment rate in the world, which means that if you get into MIT, your employment opportunities will be max.?‍? 

Where to find College Professor opportunities online?

The internet has many benefits – one of these benefits is how easy it has made the whole job hunting process. But since being a College Professor is more of a field job, the sources on the net might be that much. ?


LinkedIn is a bit different from all other job sites. What’s a bit different about LinkedIn as compared to the other sources I list here is that it is a better and more popular source for making connections and networking. We have discussed how networking is a necessity. It would be very beneficial as a College Professor as you would be able to keep track of your achievements and connections on the site. ?

A lot of employees and job hunters become able to reach out to each other on this platform because of these features. Anyone can view others’ profiles and then reach out to them if they match the preferences for the job. ?


Indeed is one of the largest online job hunting portals available on the internet. Adhering to its popularity, Indeed has millions of jobs to choose from all over the world. You can easily search for any type of job you want with the help of the preferences option you’d find on it. It was launched in November 2004.

Whether remote jobs, work-from-home, part-time, or full-time jobs, all you need to do is enter your list of preferences, and Indeed will help you find the best option possible for yourself. In the current age of tech advancement, Indeed helps you find the best virtual matches for yourself quite easily. 

All you would have to do is make an account for yourself and input the features for your dream job, and it will provide you with the most viable options from the net. ?


This source is another good source on the net that helps in job hunting by just fulfilling a few requirements. The requirements are the same as the other two platforms we talked about Make an account and get access. 

On such platforms, it becomes important that you make full use of the filters and do so properly because these can help you with making your search more precise and easier. ?

Other options

A lot of job opportunities will come your way through these sites, but there is one more method. People who want to become college professors can apply directly to universities and colleges. 

This can be done by opening their sites and looking thoroughly for job positions. This is not a one-time process or even a regular one. Job openings may be posted at any time of the year when the university wants to. 

So, you should make a list of all the colleges you would want to work at and then look out for any job openings in them regularly. ?


Teaching is a very noble profession. You help so many students throughout your life as a teacher. You help them understand their weak points, their strengths, and so much more. These students are then the ones who shape the future of the community. 

Granted, there are certain highs and lows in this job as well, but it still fills one with immense gratification. ?‍?

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