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Become A Professor Of Practice

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Working As A Professor Of Practice

  • Training and Teaching Others
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others
  • Getting Information
  • Deal with People

  • Make Decisions

  • $87,600

    Average Salary

What Does A Professor Of Practice 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 A Professor Of Practice

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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Professor Of Practice jobs


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Professor Of Practice Demographics












Hispanic or Latino




Black or African American

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Languages Spoken







Professor Of Practice Education


Syracuse University


Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Kansas State University


Oklahoma State University


University of Southern Mississippi


University of Georgia


New York University


Southern California Seminary


Texas Southern University


Babson College


Southeastern University


Clark Atlanta University


Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences


Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine


Harvard University


Tulane University


University of Texas at Austin


Pace University - New York


North Carolina State University


Emerson College

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Counseling Psychology








Political Science










Public Administration


Educational Leadership




Communication Disorders Sciences


Physiology And Anatomy


Public Health


Health Sciences And Services


Computer Information Systems


Legal Research And Advanced Professional Studies

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Real Professor Of Practice Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Professor of Management Practice Harvard University Boston, MA Jan 07, 2016 $337,572
Professor of Practice Harvard University Boston, MA Jul 17, 2010 $295,000
Professor of Management Practice Harvard University Boston, MA Jul 01, 2014 $278,800
Professor of Management Practice Harvard University Boston, MA Jul 01, 2013 $272,000
Professor of Management Pratice Harvard University Boston, MA Jul 01, 2013 $272,000
Professor of Management Practice Harvard University Boston, MA Jan 01, 2016 $269,100
Professor of Management Practice Harvard University Boston, MA Jan 07, 2016 $263,900
Professor of Professional Practice Columbia University New York, NY Jan 07, 2016 $225,146
Professor of The Practice/Director Crdr The Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD Jan 07, 2016 $220,000
Professor of Practice Columbia University New York, NY May 08, 2013 $212,747
Professor of Management Practice Harvard University Boston, MA Jul 01, 2013 $210,100
Professor of Professional Practice Columbia University New York, NY Jul 01, 2013 $208,000
Professor In Practice Harvard University Cambridge, MA Jul 01, 2014 $152,789
Professor of The Practice, Education Boston College MA Sep 01, 2015 $150,000
Professor of The Practice In Environmental Enginee University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC Jun 01, 2012 $150,000
Professor In The Practice Yale University New Haven, CT Aug 01, 2014 $150,000
Social Justice Scholar-Professor of Practice University of San Diego San Diego, CA Jan 12, 2016 $144,483
Professor of Practice Tufts University Medford, MA Jul 01, 2015 $137,596
Practice Professor, Architecture Trustees of The University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA Jan 09, 2016 $129,025
Professor In Practice The University of Texas at Dallas Richardson, TX Jan 03, 2016 $126,000
Professor of Practice Texas A&M University College Station, TX Jun 01, 2015 $90,000
Professor In Practice The University of Texas at Arlington Arlington, TX Sep 01, 2015 $90,000
Professor In The Practice of Romanian Studies Georgetown University Washington, DC Jan 07, 2016 $85,197
Professor of Practice Syracuse University Syracuse, NY May 16, 2016 $85,000
Professor of Practice Texas A&M University-Kingsville Kingsville, TX Apr 01, 2016 $83,250
Professor of Practice Clemson University Clemson, SC Aug 15, 2016 $82,000

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Top Skills for A Professor Of Practice


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Top Professor Of Practice Skills

  1. Curriculum Development
  2. Undergraduate Course
  3. Pharmacy
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Recruited, mentored, assisted in curriculum development, and evaluated faculty teaching Leadership courses.
  • Teach senior and masters classes in Innovation Management, Supply Chain Management, Marketing Strategy and Project Management.
  • Advise over 130 Marketing majors on career options.
  • Guide and teach a graduate seminar, provide oversight for research projects, and advise and mentor rising senior leaders.
  • Edited and updated new edition of professor's evidence textbook and researched changes in law of evidence

Top Professor Of Practice Employers