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Is It Worth Becoming a Professor?

 
By Jacob Kubik. Updated: January 16, 2017
Is It Worth Becoming a Professor?

Teaching is a huge job market in today's world. There always seems to be more schools popping up everywhere you look. However there are only so many universities and becoming a professor is a little challenging. Plus it must take a lot of skill and knowledge to become a professor at a renowned college. All these things almost seem to make you question if it's worth it.

In this article I'll discuss the topic: Is It Worth Becoming a Professor?

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What's Involved With Becomng a Professor?

To be a professor you must go through an above average amount of schooling. This is to say that you must achieve greater than a bachelor's degree in a field of study to be able to teach it at a university. A university will usually require a professor to have a doctorate degree in the field they wish to study, but there are some exceptions. For example, some colleges accept some professors with a master's degree, but some do not. However, some universities do allow those with bachelor degrees and masters degree to teach , but they aren't considered to be an actual professor. They are usually referred to as an instructor rather than a professor. A doctorate degree takes around 6 years of study compared to jobs that only require a bachelor's degree which takes 4 years of full-time study.

Some universities will also require that the professor in question has made important contributions to their field. These contributions can be things such as extensive research, experiments, or published scientific findings. A professor may also be required to have some amount of experience in the field they wish to teach. For example, business professors may need to have experience in investments to be able to teach finance, or have experience in an accounting firm in order to teach accounting classes. It all just depends on the specific college, but for any college, becoming a professor is no simple task.

Is It Worth the Trouble?

The real question here: is it worth it? This could definitely be an opinionated question, but we can still go over the pros and cons of being a professor to try to derive an answer to this question.

The Cons:

  • You must study for 6 years to earn your doctorate degree (in most cases).
  • College is very expensive, especially for 6 years of schooling.
  • The average salary for professors is not as good as the average salary for other advanced degree positions.
  • There have been budget cuts to education meaning bigger classes, lower pay, less positions, and it's less likely to achieve tenure.
  • Summers off are unpaid and usually are not completely work free as preparation for the upcoming semester takes place.
  • Professors at most universities are required to do research along with their teachings. This means a lot of work during the school year.

The Pros:

  • Tenure and a secure job after 10 years of working for a university (although some schools do not provide tenure).
  • Summers off or lightened load during summer. There are far less classes being taught during the summer, and some professors will not teach during the summer making it a much lighter work load than during the school term.
  • Some fields actually do make a decent amount of money such as those in the business field. Most professors hired in the business field will be sure to make six-figure salaries as they are in more demand than some other fields.
  • The satisfaction of teaching and the enrichment of a new generation.
  • Professors provide an essential service to the world that will not disappear in the near future, so jobs in education will live on for many years to come.

There are both pros and cons that make one question becoming a professor, but it is not a career that should be considered lightly. If you have dreamed of becoming a professor your entire life, by all means get your doctorate, but it is a risky field to try to enter into to be sure. Plus, if there will not be career stability and salary stability then it definitely should be considered not worth the extra time and expense from extended schooling. For those who wish to teach consider teaching during your bachelor's degree or master's degree as an instructor or teaching assistant instead.

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