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What is a Professor

Professors are key academic staff at colleges and universities. They develop in-depth familiarity with their material over extensive years of specialized education and share their knowledge in lectures they prepare, using appropriate textbooks, and keeping up to date with current trends and developments of the topic.

Apart from teaching, they conduct research as well, probing questions that have not been sufficiently dealt with in their area of expertise. They read articles and attend conferences to keep up with the work of fellow researchers and publish their findings and polemics with current results in academic journals.

Providing services at their department is also an important part of their job, such as evaluating students, organizing conferences, writing proposals for grants, and editing journals. They assist with creating course material and supervising postgraduate students as well. Being a professor is a coveted position for many who are attracted to academia. The competition is fierce, and you need a good amount of passion and dedication to rise to this beautiful and fulfilling role.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a Professor. For example, did you know that they make an average of $76.16 an hour? That's $158,407 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 11% and produce 155,000 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Professor Do

There are certain skills that many Professors have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed Interpersonal skills, Speaking skills and Writing skills.

Learn more about what a Professor does

How To Become a Professor

If you're interested in becoming a Professor, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 52.0% of Professors have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 24.9% of Professors have master's degrees. Even though most Professors have a college degree, it's impossible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a Professor. When we researched the most common majors for a Professor, we found that they most commonly earn Bachelor's Degree degrees or Master's Degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on Professor resumes include Doctoral Degree degrees or Associate Degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a Professor. In fact, many Professor jobs require experience in a role such as Internship. Meanwhile, many Professors also have previous career experience in roles such as Teacher or Assistant Professor.

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Average Salary
$158,407
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
11%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
24,630
Job Openings
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Professor Career Paths

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Average Salary for a Professor

Professors in America make an average salary of $158,407 per year or $76 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $290,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $86,000 per year.
Average Salary
$158,407
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How much should you be earning as an Professor? Use Zippia's Salary Calculator to get an estimation of how much you should be earning.
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12 Professor Resume Examples

Learn How To Write a Professor Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Professor resumes and compiled some information about how to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Professor Resume Examples And Templates

Choose From 10+ Customizable Professor Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Professor templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Professor resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

Professor Resume
Professor Resume
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Professor Demographics

Professor Gender Distribution

Male
Male
57%
Female
Female
43%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among Professors, 43.3% of them are women, while 56.7% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among Professors is White, which makes up 67.6% of all Professors.

  • The most common foreign language among Professors is Spanish at 52.0%.

Job Openings

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Professor Education

Professor Majors

12.1 %
9.1 %

Professor Degrees

Bachelors

52.0 %

Masters

24.9 %

Doctorate

14.9 %

Top Colleges for Professors

1. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

2. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,610
Enrollment
40,329

3. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

4. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

5. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,188
Enrollment
15,105

6. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Private

In-State Tuition
$15,262
Enrollment
30,079

7. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

8. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

9. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

10. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216
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Top Skills For a Professor

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 13.9% of Professors listed PHD on their resume, but soft skills such as Interpersonal skills and Speaking skills are important as well.

  • PHD, 13.9%
  • Professional Development, 9.0%
  • Philosophy, 7.5%
  • Undergraduate Courses, 5.4%
  • Topics, 5.3%
  • Other Skills, 58.9%

Best States For a Professor

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a Professor. The best states for people in this position are California, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. Professors make the most in California with an average salary of $180,864. Whereas in New York and Connecticut, they would average $171,370 and $168,319, respectively. While Professors would only make an average of $161,954 in Massachusetts, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Oregon

Total Professor Jobs:
418
Highest 10% Earn:
$218,000
Location Quotient:
2.5
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. California

Total Professor Jobs:
1,108
Highest 10% Earn:
$255,000
Location Quotient:
0.94
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Massachusetts

Total Professor Jobs:
372
Highest 10% Earn:
$244,000
Location Quotient:
1
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Professors

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What are the best companies to work for a History Professor?

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Associate Professor of History, Idaho State University

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Becoming a Professor FAQs

Do you need a Ph.D. to be a professor?

Yes, you do need a Ph.D. to be a professor. While some colleges and universities may not require a Ph.D. to be a professor, the minimum requirement for the position is typically at least to pursue a Ph.D. in their field.

How long does it take to become a professor?

It typically takes about ten to fifteen years to become a professor. The first step to becoming a professor is to become an associate professor. This typically takes five to seven years after gaining a master's degree or completing a doctoral program to become an associate professor.

Is a professor higher than a doctor?

The role of a professor and doctor are equivalent when used to describe a person's educational level. Both a professor and a doctor must possess equivalent advanced degree qualifications. Therefore neither of these roles is above the other. However, they do require different qualifications.

What is the difference between a professor and an assistant professor?

The difference between a professor and an assistant professor lies primarily in their status and salary. While some of the professorial duties are similar, there are several significant differences between the two positions.

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