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How Do I Become a Physics Professor?

A phyiscs professor may or may not work as a lecturer.
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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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To become a physics professor you should start by receiving a degree in physics or a related field. You should begin with a bachelor’s degree in physics or a similar scientific area, then work on your master’s degree and perhaps your doctorate of philosophy (PhD) as well. Depending on the level at which you would like to teach and how competitive you would like to be, a master’s degree is typically required though some schools also call for a PhD to become a physics professor. You should then look for different teaching opportunities aimed at the career track you would like to ultimately achieve, and apply for such positions.

Typically, a physics professor is someone who teaches physics or physical sciences at a college or university level. In order for you to become a physics professor at most colleges and universities, you may need a minimum of a master’s degree in physics or a similar field of science. If your degree is not in physics, then you will likely have to show that a certain number of your credits toward your degree were from physics classes, depending on the requirements of the college.

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As long as you have the required educational background, then you should be ready to start looking for colleges or universities at which you can become a physics professor. Many schools post opportunities and open positions on the website for the school, and there are a number of websites that specialize as job boards for educational fields. You should look at the requirements for these positions, as well as consider the specifics of the position such as pay scale, number of classes, and tenure opportunities.

Many schools bring on potential candidates to become a physics professor as an assistant professor who works with established educators at the university. These are typically career-oriented positions with a potential for tenure-track professorships to follow the initial time as an assistant. In order to become a physics professor you may also be expected to do a fair amount of research, and publication in one or more peer-reviewed journals is often mandatory to maintain a position at a major university. There could also be opportunities for you to lecture at a school, though these are rarely tenure-track positions and may be short term.

You might also want to consider opportunities to become a physics professor at a community college or even a technical school. Many community colleges offer competitive wages and benefits, while creating an atmosphere that may be less competitive than at a major university. Some technical schools also have needs for physics instructors, and you may find the less rigorous environment of such institutions more attractive. Even schools that teach computer animation or video game design could potentially have need for someone to instruct students in the scientific aspects of the physical world they are representing in their games.

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