How Do I Become an Associate Professor?

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  • Written By: Jessica F. Black
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 19 January 2020
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Education is the most important requirement to become an associate professor, and you will need to spend additional time teaching to acquire the necessary experience. Subject matter is usually based on your field of expertise and the area that you focus on during college. This is a decision that you should make early in your education to ensure that you complete all necessary coursework to become an associate professor. Most jobs will require that you have a certain amount of experience teaching in your field, and you can begin to work on this while you are taking classes.

A bachelor's of science (B.S.) or bachelor's of arts degree is almost always required to become an associate professor, and you will most likely teach subjects that are covered by your major. Once you have chosen a major, you should find a school that has a variety of programs that suit your career intentions. You will need to complete any general coursework before taking advanced courses in your field. At this point, you may want to consider discussing teaching opportunities in your field with an education adviser. Most schools offer various education courses that are accompanied by field practicums, which will allow you to gain hands-on training while in school.


After completion of a bachelor's degree program, you will need to enroll in a master's or doctorate program. A doctorate program may take at least six years and will equip you with the course credits and experience needed to become an associate professor. The completion of this degree will enable you to begin seeking employment as a lecturer. Excellence in this profession will significantly increase your chances to become an associate professor because it displays competency in your particular field. Some people choose to teach younger students during school to build their experience.

All of these steps will lead to a position as an associate professor, which is a profession that has a variety of career advancement opportunities. You will need to be extremely organized to be able to perform the duties involved in this profession, including lesson plans, grading, conferences, advising, and preparing exams. Communication skills are essential for this position because you are continuously conversing with students, colleagues, and other education professionals. Many people choose this as a permanent career, which can be an extremely lucrative and rewarding position. Before accepting a job, you should research several positions and job descriptions to ensure that you receive a position that is suitable.



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