Professional Professor: How to Start a Career in Higher Education
Getting a career in higher education may seem like a daunting task. Higher education includes everyone from the PhD professor that students encounter on a daily basis to the workers in the library. Although there is no one specific way in which to start a career in higher education there are many different components of the higher education career that must be met.
Earn Advanced Degrees
While a bachelor’s degree will open the doors for those interested in working in higher education, it is important to earn higher degrees in the field of adult learning, higher education, or post secondary education. By earning an advanced degree, employees will gain an understanding of andragogy, the science of how adults learn, and will be prepared to deal with students on a regular basis in a positive and productive way.
Schools like Abilene Christian University have online higher education degrees dedicated to assist in obtaining higher education careers. Programs like these can be accessed in a traditional or online setting.
Earn Teaching Credentials
Universities require advanced degrees from their faculty so that they are able to teach as an instructor or adjunct. A master’s degree is suitable as long as there are at least 18 credit hours of course work in the teaching field. The more credit hours the degree has in any particular category, the more valuable the employee will be to the school.
Full professorships are generally only offered to instructors who have earned a PhD in the subject area they teach. Most higher education institutions will also require publications on a regular basis in order to ensure that professors continue to research and keep up-to-date and contributing within their field.
Those wanting to work in higher education should take every opportunity they are presented with to learn about the functions and tasks performed in various departments. This can be done through self-study, volunteering for committees, working alongside others, and attending training opportunities. The more you know about any individual department within a university or higher education institution, the more valuable you are as an employee. This experience can lead to promotions and other opportunities.
Earning tenure should be a goal of an employee in higher education. Tenure is awarded to professors and other faculty who have demonstrated responsibility, quality, and competence in their profession. Tenure ensures that a faculty member cannot be dismissed or fired from their job without just cause.
Tenure tracks are common place in the university system, with various stages set at different pay rates. Common stages include lecturer, associate professor, and professor.
All of these steps will aid in obtaining a higher education career, but there are many ways that these steps can be met. Research and dedication will go a long way in providing opportunities for advancement.
About the author: A recent college graduate from University of San Francisco, Anica loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.