Having achieved your Ph.D., and that is a long road to take, you will
finally be eligible to apply for a position as a university professor.
Generally, there are three kinds of teaching positions at this level
that you can apply for: Assistant Professor, Associate
Professor, and Professor. In addition to academic excellence,
other than grades, scientific writing, presenting and networking form a
very important basis for becoming a professor. Criteria for evaluating
the qualifications for being the professor vary from country to country
and from one university to another.
Some universities use a
scoring system as part of their criteria for evaluating one’s
qualifications for each level of professorship. Scores are determined
according to scientific achievements that usually range mainly from
being published in peer-reviewed journal papers, conference
proceedings, books and other kinds of publications, and awards,
etc. Some outstanding students are offered the assistant
professor position shortly after they graduate with their Ph.D.
Others will be offered the same position after they spend two to three
more years for postdoctoral research. Again, depending on universities
and their system, to be qualified one must attain a certain level with
endorsements from those who support you.
An Assistant Professor is the entry level into the four-year university
environment. An Assistant Professor works under the guidance of, and
reports to, a fully tenured professor or an Associate Professor. In
this position, you are not required to write your own curriculum but
will depend on your lead to provide one. At most, you will
teach two classes, but you are required to continue research and
meeting with students for guidance on classes. Promotions are
hard to come-by and Assistant Professor usually teaches about seven
years before being promoted to Associate Professor.
An Associate Professor plans his own curriculum but has a greater
workload and longer hours to teach. He/she must participate in
educational activities and/or committees. Although he/she reports to a
tenured professor, there is more flexibility.
Full professors – considered a faculty member once accepted –
plan, teach, confer with students and manage their time by assigning
parts of their jobs to Assistant Professors. Being a tenured professor
gives them certain rights to hold that position and not be fired
without just cause. In addition, they are expected to be on
staff for life unless some extenuating circumstance causes their
dismissal – usually hard to prove a case against someone who
is tenured. There are also part-time professors and
non-tenured professor positions that are used to “fill
in” for people who are on sabbatical or on some temporary
leave. Those positions should also be considered to gain experience in
teaching and gain entry into a particular university setting.
Below are the requirements you’ll need to meet and some of
which should be highlighted on your Curriculum Vitae (CV) when applying
for these positions.
– You must have had excellent graduate test scores. These are
the result of studying, becoming a subject matter expert on your topic,
and providing an outcome that reflects your knowledge.
– You must have had scientific achievements indicating your interest in
the work. This means initiating research projects or handling those
assigned, making your results public by writing research papers and
getting them published in influential scientific (or appropriate)
journals and publications. They carry a lot of weight in
making your work known and exposing yourself to others in the industry.