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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.Education
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.Advancement
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.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Assistant Professor Of Sociology
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Hispanic or Latino6.7%
Black or African American1.0%
Assistant Professor Of Sociology
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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University10.4%
Pennsylvania State University6.3%
University of Georgia6.3%
State University of New York Albany6.3%
University of Connecticut4.2%
University of Notre Dame4.2%
University of North Texas4.2%
Louisiana State University and A&M College4.2%
Ohio State University4.2%
New York University4.2%
University of Texas at Austin4.2%
Bowling Green State University4.2%
University of Chicago4.2%
Florida State University4.2%
Texas A&M University4.2%
Grambling State University4.2%
University of Cincinnati4.2%
Assistant Professor Of Sociology
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|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 Sociology||Trustees of Amherst College||Amherst, MA||Aug 01, 2014||$77,000|
|Assistant Professor of Sociology||Trustees of Amherst College||Amherst, MA||Oct 28, 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, Dept. of Sociology||The George Washington University||Washington, DC||Sep 01, 2011||$69,187|
|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||Jun 01, 2013||$60,000|
|Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology||Manhattanville College||NY||May 13, 2013||$60,000|
|Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology||Haverford College||Haverford, PA||Sep 03, 2013||$54,470 -
|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 of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology||University of Northern Iowa||Cedar Falls, IA||Dec 16, 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|
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