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Become An Assistant Professor Of Sociology

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Working As An Assistant Professor Of Sociology

  • Training and Teaching Others
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Getting Information
  • Coaching and Developing Others
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others
  • Make Decisions

  • $73,930

    Average Salary

What Does An Assistant Professor Of Sociology Do

Postsecondary teachers instruct students in a wide variety of academic and career and technical subjects beyond the high school level. They also conduct research and publish scholarly papers and books.


Postsecondary teachers typically do the following:

  • Teach courses in their subject area
  • Work with students who 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 assignments, papers, exams, 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

Postsecondary teachers, often referred to as professors or faculty, specialize in a 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.

At colleges and universities, professors are organized into departments that specialize in a subject, such as history, science, business, or music. A professor may teach one or more courses within that department. For example, a mathematics professor may teach calculus, statistics, and a graduate seminar in a very specific area of mathematics.

Postsecondary teachers’ duties vary with their positions in a university or college. In large colleges or universities, they may spend their time teaching, conducting research or experiments, applying for grants to fund their research, or supervising graduate teaching assistants who are teaching classes.

Postsecondary teachers who work in small colleges and universities or in community colleges often spend more time teaching classes and working with students. They may spend some time conducting research, but they do not have as much time to devote to it.

Full-time professors, particularly those who have tenure (a professor who cannot be fired without just cause), often are expected to spend more time on their research. They also may be expected to serve on more college and university committees.

Part-time professors, often known as adjunct professors, spend most of their time teaching students.

Professors may teach large classes of several hundred students (often with the help of graduate teaching assistants), smaller classes of about 40 to 50 students, seminars with just a few students, or laboratories where students practice the subject matter. They work with an increasingly varied student population as more part-time, older, and culturally diverse students are going to postsecondary schools.

Professors need to keep up with developments in their field by reading scholarly articles, talking with colleagues, and participating in professional conferences. A tenured professor must do original research, such as experiments, document analysis, or critical reviews, and publish their findings.

Some postsecondary teachers work for online universities or teach online classes. They use websites to present lessons and information, to assign and accept students’ work, and to participate in course discussions. Online professors communicate with students by email and by phone and might never meet their students in person.

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How To Become An Assistant Professor Of Sociology

Educational requirements vary with the subject taught and the type of educational institution. Most commonly, postsecondary teachers must have a Ph.D. However, a master's degree may be enough for some postsecondary teachers at community colleges. In career and technical schools, work experience may be important for getting a postsecondary teaching job.


Postsecondary teachers who work for 4-year colleges and universities typically need a doctoral degree in their field. Some schools may hire those with a master’s degree or those who are doctoral degree candidates for some specialties, such as fine arts, or for some part-time positions.

Doctoral programs generally take multiple years after the completion of a bachelor’s degree program. They spend time completing a master’s degree and then writing a doctoral dissertation, which is a paper presenting original research in the student’s field of study. Candidates usually specialize in a subfield, such as organic chemistry or European history.

Community colleges or career and technical schools also may hire those with a master’s degree. However, in some fields, there are more applicants than available positions. In these situations, institutions can be more selective, and they frequently choose applicants who have a Ph.D. over those with a master’s degree.

Postsecondary teachers who teach career and technical education courses, such as culinary arts or cosmetology, may not be required to have graduate-level education. At a minimum they must hold the degree of the program in which they are teaching. For example, the teacher must hold an associate’s degree if they teach a program that is at the associate’s degree level. In addition, work experience or certification may be just as important as education for getting a postsecondary teaching job at a career or technical school.

Other Experience

Some institutions may prefer to hire those with teaching or other work experience, but this is not a requirement for all fields or for all employers.

In health specialties, art, or education fields, hands-on work experience in the industry can be important. Postsecondary teachers in these fields often gain experience by working in an occupation related to their field of expertise.

In fields such as biological science, physics, and chemistry, some postsecondary teachers have postdoctoral research experience. These short-term jobs, sometimes called “post-docs,” usually involve working for 2 to 3 years as a research associate or in a similar position, often at a college or university.

Some postsecondary teachers gain teaching experience by working as graduate teaching assistants—students who are enrolled in a graduate program and teach classes in the institution in which they are enrolled.

Some postsecondary teachers, especially adjunct professors, have another job in addition to teaching.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Postsecondary teachers who prepare students for an occupation that requires a license, certification, or registration, may need to have—or they may benefit from having—the same credential. For example, a postsecondary nursing teacher might need a nursing license or a postsecondary education teacher might need a teaching license.


A major goal for postsecondary teachers with a doctoral degree is attaining a tenure—a guarantee that a professor cannot be fired without just cause. It can take up to 7 years of moving up the ranks in tenure-track positions. The ranks are assistant professor, associate professor, and professor. Tenure is granted through a review of the candidate’s research, contribution to the institution, and teaching.

Tenure and tenure track positions are declining as institutions are relying more heavily on part-time faculty.

Some tenured professors advance to administrative positions, such as dean or president. For information on deans and other administrative positions, see the profile on postsecondary education administrators. For more information about college and university presidents, see the profile on top executives.

Important Qualities

Critical-thinking skills. To challenge established theories and beliefs, conduct original research, and design experiments, postsecondary teachers need good critical-thinking skills.

Interpersonal skills. Most postsecondary teachers need to be able to work well with others and must have good communication skills to serve on committees and give lectures.

Resourcefulness. Postsecondary teachers need to be able to present information in a way that students will understand. They need to adapt to the different learning styles of their students and teach students who have little or no experience with the subject.

Speaking skills. Postsecondary teachers need good communication skills to give lectures.

Writing skills. Most postsecondary teachers need to be skilled writers to publish original research and analysis.

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Assistant Professor Of Sociology Education


Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Syracuse University


Purdue University


Pennsylvania State University


University of Georgia


State University of New York Albany


Brown University


University of Connecticut


University of Notre Dame


University of North Texas


Louisiana State University and A&M College


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University of Texas at Austin


Bowling Green State University


University of Chicago


Florida State University


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University of Cincinnati

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Real Assistant Professor Of Sociology Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Assistant Professor/Sociology Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey New Brunswick, NJ Jan 01, 2012 $80,000
Assistant Professor of Sociololgy Winston-Salem State University Winston-Salem, NC May 16, 2011 $77,850 -
Assistant Professor of Sociology Trustees of Amherst College Amherst, MA Oct 28, 2014 $77,000
Assistant Professor of Sociology Trustees of Amherst College Amherst, MA Aug 01, 2014 $77,000
Assistant Professor of Sociology Trustees of The Smith College Northampton, MA Aug 11, 2012 $76,950
Assistant Professor of Sociology Trustees of The Smith College Northampton, MA Jul 01, 2012 $75,910
Assistant Professor, Sociology Washington State University Pullman, WA Sep 28, 2015 $75,000
Asst Professor Sociology and Rural Studies South Dakota State University Brookings, SD Jun 01, 2015 $75,000
Assistant Professor of Sociology California State University Channel Islands Camarillo, CA Jan 22, 2016 $74,340
Assistant Professor, Sociology Brooklyn College of The City University of New York New York, NY Mar 16, 2016 $74,133
Assistant Professor of Sociology John Jay College of Criminal Justice New York, NY Aug 15, 2012 $74,133
Assistant Professor, Sociology Fordham University New York, NY Apr 01, 2014 $72,600
Assistant Professor-Sociology/Criminology Suny Polytechnic Institute Utica, NY Sep 01, 2015 $72,000
Asst Professor of Sociology, Dept of Sociology The George Washington University Washington, DC Jun 01, 2013 $70,743
Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology & ANT St. John's University NY Jul 01, 2012 $63,000
Asst. Professor of Sociology Seattle Pacific University Seattle, WA Aug 01, 2015 $61,790
Assistant Professor of Sociology Seattle Pacific University Seattle, WA Oct 12, 2015 $61,790
Assistant Professor of Sociology Stevens Institute of Technology Hoboken, NJ May 01, 2013 $61,782
Assistant Professor Sociology and Anthropology Manhattanville College NY Apr 20, 2015 $61,733
Assistant Professor of Sociology Siena College NY Jan 09, 2016 $61,000
Assistant Professor of Sociology Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania Shippensburg, PA Aug 29, 2011 $60,034
Assistant Professor of Sociology Central Connecticut State University New Britain, CT Aug 26, 2014 $60,000
Assistant Professor of Sociology Loyola University New Orleans New Orleans, LA Aug 01, 2011 $54,711
Assistant Professor of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls, IA Dec 16, 2015 $54,000
Assistant Professor of Sociology University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls, IA Aug 18, 2014 $54,000
Assistant Professor of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls, IA Dec 15, 2015 $54,000
Assistant Professor Sociology Worcester State University Worcester, MA Aug 11, 2011 $53,911
Assistant Professor-Sociology Suny College at Fredonia Fredonia, NY Sep 18, 2016 $53,815
Assistant Professor-Sociology Suny College at Fredonia Fredonia, NY Aug 19, 2016 $53,815
Asst. Professor of Sociology Seattle Pacific University Seattle, WA Aug 01, 2012 $53,134

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Top Skills for An Assistant Professor Of Sociology


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Top Assistant Professor Of Sociology Skills

  1. Sociology Curriculum
  2. Research Methods
  3. Ethnic/Culture Studies
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Enacted curricular overhaul that updated the departmental structure and added 18 new courses to the sociology curriculum.
  • Supervised primary research projects of undergraduates in research methods course.
  • Analyzed nationally representative General Social Survey data with descriptive statistics and negative binomial models.
  • Served as faculty advisor for the Social Work Club and master academic advisor within the department.
  • Teach a full spectrum of sociology courses and a diverse range of psychology courses on both main and satellite locations.

Top Assistant Professor Of Sociology Employers