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Become A Psychology Teacher

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Working As A Psychology Teacher

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

  • $57,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Psychology Teacher 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 Psychology Teacher

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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Do you work as a Psychology Teacher?

Average Yearly Salary
$57,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$33,000
Min 10%
$57,000
Median 50%
$57,000
Median 50%
$57,000
Median 50%
$57,000
Median 50%
$57,000
Median 50%
$57,000
Median 50%
$57,000
Median 50%
$101,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
New York University
Highest Paying City
New York, NY
Highest Paying State
New Jersey
Avg Experience Level
3.1 years
How much does a Psychology Teacher make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Psychology Teacher in the United States is $58,018 per year or $28 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $33,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $101,000.

Real Psychology Teacher Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary The Ohio State University Columbus, OH Mar 08, 2013 $150,000
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary University of Texas at Dallas Dallas, TX Feb 14, 2014 $95,000
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary Leland Stanford Jr, University Stanford, CA May 06, 2014 $95,000
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso, TX Jan 07, 2013 $91,402
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology Boston, MA Oct 24, 2012 $89,450
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary Fordham University New York, NY May 15, 2014 $88,114
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary Claremont McKenna College Claremont, CA Aug 10, 2011 $85,000
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary New York University New York, NY Apr 18, 2014 $85,000
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA Jan 18, 2012 $84,000
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary Boston College MA Sep 12, 2012 $82,000
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary The Pennsylvania State University Parkesburg, PA Jul 27, 2012 $80,028
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA Aug 02, 2012 $80,000
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI Sep 17, 2013 $80,000
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary Arizona State University Scottsdale, AZ Feb 18, 2013 $80,000
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary Purdue University West Lafayette, IN Aug 12, 2013 $70,500
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary Arizona State University Tempe, AZ Jun 11, 2014 $70,380
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary Old Dominion University Norfolk, VA Nov 25, 2013 $70,000
Psychology Teacher, Postsecondary Old Dominion University Norfolk, VA Jul 25, 2012 $70,000
Psychology Teacher Princeton International School of Mathematics and Princeton, NJ Sep 20, 2013 $70,000
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary Depaul University Chicago, IL Mar 20, 2014 $70,000
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary The University of Oklahoma Norman, OK Jun 13, 2013 $70,000
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary Tufts University Medford, MA Aug 26, 2013 $70,000
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary Brooklyn College of The City University of New YOR New York, NY Mar 15, 2012 $64,956
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary Adler School of Professional Psychology Chicago, IL Sep 19, 2012 $64,700
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary Azusa Pacific University Azusa, CA Jul 31, 2014 $64,683
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary University of California Merced Merced, CA Feb 25, 2014 $64,500
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary West Virginia University Morgantown, WV Sep 08, 2014 $64,000
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary Manhattan College New York, NY Aug 15, 2013 $63,000
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary Nova Southeastern University Fort Lauderdale, FL Apr 22, 2013 $62,790
Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary University of Wyoming Casper, WY May 31, 2013 $62,667

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Top Skills for A Psychology Teacher

  1. Psychology Curriculum
  2. Lesson Plans
  3. Special Needs
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Designed weekly lesson plans and monthly curriculum plans focused on age and level-appropriate material.
  • Designed and supervised independent study programs for students with an interest in topics in Psychology or Special Education.
  • Course topics varied: Introduction to Psychology; Prejudice, Stereotypes and Discrimination; Social Identity and Intergroup Relations.
  • Implemented classroom management to maintain a disciplined learning environment.
  • Developed test, quizzes, class activities and outside activities

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Top 10 Best States for Psychology Teachers

  1. Alaska
  2. Connecticut
  3. Massachusetts
  4. New Jersey
  5. New York
  6. Illinois
  7. Michigan
  8. California
  9. Oregon
  10. Rhode Island
  • (25 jobs)
  • (126 jobs)
  • (282 jobs)
  • (351 jobs)
  • (289 jobs)
  • (582 jobs)
  • (338 jobs)
  • (1,406 jobs)
  • (65 jobs)
  • (13 jobs)

Psychology Teacher Demographics

Gender

Female

59.1%

Male

27.1%

Unknown

13.7%
Ethnicity

White

57.1%

Hispanic or Latino

16.5%

Asian

10.8%

Black or African American

10.5%

Unknown

5.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

41.2%

French

14.7%

Arabic

8.8%

German

5.9%

Mandarin

5.9%

Swedish

2.9%

Portuguese

2.9%

Norwegian

2.9%

Hindi

2.9%

Urdu

2.9%

Korean

2.9%

Thai

2.9%

Italian

2.9%
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Psychology Teacher Education

Schools

Walden University

10.7%

Liberty University

7.1%

Capella University

7.1%

Temple University

5.4%

Texas State University

5.4%

Seton Hall University

5.4%

DePaul University

5.4%

Carlos Albizu University

5.4%

Montclair State University

5.4%

Grand Canyon University

5.4%

The Academy

5.4%

University of Memphis

3.6%

University of South Florida

3.6%

Keene State College

3.6%

Southwestern College

3.6%

University of Kentucky

3.6%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

3.6%

University of Central Florida

3.6%

Winthrop University

3.6%

University of Colorado at Boulder

3.6%
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Majors

Psychology

24.0%

Education

11.0%

Elementary Education

7.9%

Counseling Psychology

7.9%

School Counseling

5.9%

Educational Leadership

5.5%

General Education, Specific Areas

4.7%

Clinical Psychology

3.9%

Secondary Education And Teaching

3.9%

Social Work

3.5%

Curriculum And Instruction

3.1%

History

3.1%

Political Science

2.4%

Family Therapy

2.4%

English

2.0%

Mental Health Counseling

2.0%

Business

2.0%

Mathematics

1.6%

Social Sciences

1.6%

Human Development

1.6%
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Degrees

Masters

50.3%

Bachelors

23.9%

Other

11.3%

Doctorate

8.5%

Certificate

3.5%

Associate

0.9%

Diploma

0.9%

License

0.6%
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