How to Become a College History Professor

How to Become a College History ProfessorBecoming a college history professor can be one of the best opportunities for those people who are passionate about this field and teaching others about it. Though history may seem like a basic course of education for many, those people who wish to become true history professors will find passion in teaching others about what happened, why it happened, and what it means for today. There is a demand for these professionals today, but to become a college history professor, a great deal of hard work must go into the process.

Is It Possible to Be a Professor?
Find Related CareersSOURCE: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

There are hundreds of colleges and universities in the United States. There are community colleges as well as both private and public schools from which these individuals can participate. However, looking long term, realize that the process of becoming a tenured professor takes time and a lot of hard work. The reason is that so few teachers make it to this point in their careers. According to some studies, as posted by The Atlantic, only 53 percent of PhD’s who intended to become professors were able to do so. At ten to 14 years in, 33 percent were no longer in academia. So, how do you ensure you can become a professor and teach your love of history to college students?

There Is Demand

The first thing to realize is that there is true demand in the field. Postgraduate teachers in general are likely to grow in demand looking long term. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a division of the US Department of Labor, postsecondary teachers will grow in demand by about 17 percent from 2010 to 2020. The 2010 median pay for these individuals was $62,050 per year. With demand present, the ultimate goal will be to obtain the necessary training and education to ensure you meet the needs of the colleges and universities that may hire you.

Basic Educational Requirements

Students who wish to become a college history professor will need to first obtain a basic bachelor’s degree in education and obtain the state required teaching certificate. This process requires four years of study with a focus in history and/or the humanities. The teaching certificate requires student teaching and sitting for the state required exam. Most states also require ongoing continuing education for teachers. With a bachelor’s degree, students may teach at the elementary and high school level.

Most teacher enter into the teaching field at this point and work to complete their master’s degree. This can take between two and four years to complete. To speed up the process, many students will enroll in online educational programs. This is an exceptional way to get the flexibility to earn a master’s degree while working in the field.

However, to become a college professor, teachers must continue their education. A specialization in history, often in the focus or specialty area, is necessary. Most often, universities and colleges will not bring in assistant professors without the individual having at least a PhD. Some community colleges will hire at a masters degree, but these are difficult positions to obtain. Again, obtaining this advanced education, which can take an additional six years in some cases, is often easier to do by using online resources. Educational programs are available from accredited universities online.

Colleges and universities often hire assistant professors who then move up to associate professors before finally becoming tenured professors. However, in the history field, students must have a specialization and often need to be a part of historic research and work to write papers or books on their area of expertise. To become a college history professor, many students need to focus on working upwards towards this goal. It may be one of the most rewarding experiences though, once this is achieved.

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