How Long Does It Take to Become a Professor?

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To be a professor takes at least 10 years of post high-school education in addition to dedication to a particular field of study. It also takes the willingness to meet the standards of a Ph.D. program.

Universities require their professors to have a bachelor's degree, sometimes a master's degree and usually a Ph.D. to be hired for a tenure-track position, which is generally a position where the university cannot fire the professor unless the professor does something terribly wrong. It takes approximately four years to earn a bachelor's degree, two or three years to earn a master's degree and six or more years to earn a Ph.D. In addition to this level of education, many professors experience a long search for a tenure-track job, during which they work as adjuncts or instructors at various colleges.

According to Academic Invest, careers in universities usually involve two parts: teaching and research. Teaching entails preparing courses for a variety of students and in a variety of formats. Some professors teach small classes, while others prepare courses in which there might be as many as 300 students.

Course formats include lectures where students learn information about a topic, laboratories where students explore aspects of a topic, such as by doing scientific experiments, and field experiences where students apply what they learned to a real-world situation. While teaching is an important part of being a professor, professors advance in their positions (including gaining tenure) through their research and related publications. Professors often find their work to be both challenging and fulfilling.