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Become A History Professor

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Working As A History Professor

  • Training and Teaching Others
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Make Decisions

  • $77,000

    Average Salary

What Does A History Professor 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.

Duties

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 A History Professor

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.

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History Professor Demographics

Gender

Male

58.6%

Female

31.5%

Unknown

9.9%
Ethnicity

White

59.7%

Hispanic or Latino

18.9%

Black or African American

12.4%

Asian

5.4%

Unknown

3.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

27.8%

French

16.7%

German

13.9%

Portuguese

5.6%

Telugu

2.8%

Norwegian

2.8%

Japanese

2.8%

Sinhala

2.8%

Gujarati

2.8%

Hindi

2.8%

Dutch

2.8%

Russian

2.8%

Arabic

2.8%

Mandarin

2.8%

Tamil

2.8%

Korean

2.8%

Ukrainian

2.8%
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History Professor Education

Schools

George Washington University

8.5%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

6.4%

University of North Texas

6.4%

West Virginia University

6.4%

Michigan State University

6.4%

Jackson State University

6.4%

University of Houston

4.3%

Temple University

4.3%

University of Colorado at Boulder

4.3%

Boston College

4.3%

Sam Houston State University

4.3%

University of Texas at Dallas

4.3%

Columbia University

4.3%

Florida International University

4.3%

Texas A&M University

4.3%

Case Western Reserve University

4.3%

University of Cincinnati

4.3%

California State University - Stanislaus

4.3%

Delaware State University

4.3%

California State University - Northridge

4.3%
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Majors

History

60.6%

Education

4.8%

Area Studies

3.4%

Law

3.4%

Elementary Education

3.4%

Liberal Arts

2.9%

Music

2.4%

Business

2.4%

Political Science

1.9%

Fine Arts

1.9%

Historic Preservation And Conservation

1.4%

General Education, Specific Areas

1.4%

Social Sciences

1.4%

Philosophy

1.4%

International Relations

1.4%

Theology

1.4%

English

1.4%

Ethnic, Gender And Minority Studies

1.0%

Management

1.0%

Public Health

1.0%
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Degrees

Masters

43.9%

Doctorate

28.3%

Bachelors

12.7%

Other

9.4%

Certificate

4.9%

Associate

0.4%

Diploma

0.4%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$77,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$45,000
Min 10%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$131,000
Max 90%
Highest Paying City
New York, NY
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
4.8 years
How much does a History Professor make at top companies?
The national average salary for a History Professor in the United States is $77,587 per year or $37 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $45,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $131,000.

Real History Professor Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Professor of Classics and History Brown University Providence, RI Jan 09, 2016 $125,000
Carroll Amundson Professor of British History University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA Aug 01, 2011 $120,000
Professor of British History Appalachian State University Boone, NC Jul 01, 2011 $104,000
Professor of History Trustees of The University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA Jan 01, 2012 $98,041
Professor of History Bucknell University Lewisburg, PA Aug 01, 2014 $85,000
History Professor Bucknell University Lewisburg, PA Aug 26, 2014 $69,540
History Professor Houghton College Houghton, NY Aug 01, 2010 $63,388
Associate History Professor University of Wyoming Laramie, WY May 01, 2011 $62,688
Professor of History and Geography Monroe College Ltd. New York, NY Aug 28, 2010 $59,046
History Professor Bucknell University Lewisburg, PA Aug 01, 2014 $52,530
History Professor University of Denver Denver, CO Feb 25, 2010 $52,500
Professor of Latin and Ancient History La Scuola D'Italia New York, NY Aug 13, 2012 $52,020

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Top Skills for A History Professor

  1. Undergraduate Courses
  2. Classroom Management
  3. Class Activities
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Maintained a teaching load of three undergraduate courses each semester.
  • Prepared and delivered lectures to undergraduate students on topics related to United States history and world history.
  • Tailored lesson plans for students with cognitive disabilities.
  • Introduced new methods of using audio and video in class lectures to improve student learning and comprehension.
  • Compile, administer, and grade examinations, or assign this work to others.

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Top 10 Best States for History Professors

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Pennsylvania
  3. Michigan
  4. Iowa
  5. California
  6. New Hampshire
  7. Rhode Island
  8. Idaho
  9. Utah
  10. Massachusetts
  • (33 jobs)
  • (80 jobs)
  • (124 jobs)
  • (42 jobs)
  • (88 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (1 jobs)
  • (75 jobs)
  • (59 jobs)

Top History Professor Employers

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