How to Become a College Math Professor

How to Become a Math College ProfessorCollege mathematics is often a requirement for students of nearly all degree programs. There are many ranges of students involved in these programs, including those students with limited abilities and others with significantly more. It has never been more difficult to be a math teacher than it is today, even at a lower level than college. According to the University of South Carolina, teachers now need to teach higher levels of math at a younger age. This means that at the college level, even more intense math is likely necessary for students to succeed. What does this mean for the student who wishes to become a math college professor? It means there are opportunities but it takes a strong course of study to achieve the recognition necessary to excel in the program.

What Type of Math Specialization Will You Have?
Find Related CareersSOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

At the core of success within any math education is specialization. Though a basic math teacher in elementary education needs only to have a specialization in education to qualify for a position, this is not the case at the college level. In fact, even at the high school level it is more important than ever for students to have more in-depth training and education to work as a teacher. Specialization is the key to this. Math professors often specialize in fields ranging from calculus to advanced trigonometry. Proof-based mathematics is also a prominent type of education to have in this field. Other courses and areas of specialization for college level teachers include the following:

  • Advanced complex analysis
  • Principles of real analysis
  • Complex variables
  • Differential geometry
  • Topology
  • Probability

College level math professors need to have an extensive level of training in each of these areas and many others. Then, many will specialize in a specific area, such as specialization in probability or in topology. Aside from taking numerous courses in these areas, students also have to earn their teaching degree to work in the field.

Becoming a College-Level Math Teacher

Although thorough study of mathematics is a must for any college-level math teacher, it is not enough to allow you to teach at this level. Most often, students who wish to work as a professor will need to have a PhD to do so. Most often this is done by first obtaining a bachelor’s degree and then a master’s degree, both in education. Having a teacher’s certificate is necessary as well. However, it may be possible for other people who have a master’s degree in another field to complete their PhD studies in mathematics and then enter into this field. Nevertheless, most colleges and universities require all assistant professors to have at least a PhD level of education.

It is possible to earn some of these courses (and potentially the necessary educational certificates) from online education. This may be ideal for those people who are already working and want to transition into a teaching career but cannot do so outright through a brick and mortar school.

What Is It Like to Be a College Math Teacher?

When working as a college math professor, individuals have the ability to interact with students on a regular basis. They will teach often times in a large classroom. Many of these teachers will also work on research projects as well as write theories and papers on various topics in the field.

The good news is there is a growing demand for postsecondary teachers, notes the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the organization, a 17 percent rate of growth is likely from 2010 through 2020 in this area of education. That may be the reason you need to begin your education and study to become a college-level math teacher and professor.

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