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Professor

 

The word “profession” has more than one meaning: it can imply occupation, as most know it to, or it can mean a declaration or avowal of a belief (Profession). When it comes to one's choice in career, it should imply both. One's profession should be more than a paycheck; it should involve one's interests and passions. When choosing to dedicate one's life to teaching, one declares a love of knowledge and dedicates themselves to passing it on to others. Becoming a professor requires years of rigorous study and dedication; but, if it's where one's passion lies, the prospect of teaching others while continuing to discover new knowledge makes it well worth it.

The two most obvious and possibly most important characteristics needed to make a good professor are a love of knowledge and the desire to share it. A professor must be patient and cooperative when working with their students. They should be creative in their lesson planning in order to keep their students' needs. Time management and organization is required to keep track with students' progress and keep up with one's own deadlines. They must have the intellectual capacity to fully comprehend their subject and the methods needed in order to teach it to others, as well as be able to express themselves clearly through speaking and writing (University). The other major quality a professor must possess is dedication. “You have to love the whole package... it's too competitive to not give it your all.” (Mehler 3).

For those who truly wish to attain a teaching position in a university, the work that goes into receiving a doctorate degree is well worth it. While two year colleges may accept a master's degree, a doctorate is required to attain a position at a four year university, which makes up 80% of the postsecondary positions (Career). Earning a doctorate degree requires years of dedication. One must've earned a B or higher in all of their undergraduate classes. Once accepted into graduate school, six to eight more years of rigorous study lay ahead. One must also complete a doctoral dissertation or “an original work that contributes to the candidate's field of study” (Faculty 10). The work that goes into attaining the PhD. Helps one greatly in the long run. Employment rats for all postsecondary educators is increasing, the outlook for those with their doctorate is expected to exceed past years' numbers (Teacher). A doctorate is also a prerequisite for the much-desired tenure positions (Faculty).

While many Washington Universities offer the master's degrees needed to teach in two year colleges, finding a doctorate in teaching program is a little tougher. One may receive their associates degree at a community college, such as Clark Community College, for about $2,212 or go to a four year university and pay about $3,491-$4,416 (Tuition). From there on their school will most likely be spent at four year universities, such as Washington State University, which offers master's in teaching and education programs (WSU). TeachWashington.org lists 32 Washington institutions offering Bachelor's degrees in education and 29 universities or institutions offering master's degrees (Teacher). Seattle Pacific University offers a doctorate in education program, and there is an opportunity to take some of the courses on line (School).

While some two-year colleges may require teacher certification in their state, most do not, especially considering many are privately owned. Colleges and universities look instead to see that one has had the proper training and has, at the minimum, a master's degree in their field (Faculty).

Professors are expected to complete tasks beyond simply lecturing classes. They must, obviously, grade work done by their students. Teaching assistants may receive work experience by aiding professors in this task. Professors must keep up with the current advances in their field of study, and often times they are expected to publish their own contributions (Faculty).

The working conditions of a postsecondary educator are varying and flexible. Classes vary in size and the style of teaching. They may be lecture-based, involving a large amount of students, sometimes in the hundreds. Seminar style classes are smaller and centered more on conversation (University). Professors spend an average of 9-10 hours a week spent in the classroom, and anywhere form 30-65 hours preparing for class and grading work. Class times are flexible, often allowing professors to have some say in their work hours. Professors may end up teaching odd hours when teaching evening or weekend classes. They spend the majority of their time lecturing classes inside, yet the occasional field trip may allow them to conduct class outside. Full-time professors are rarely given their own office: they usually end up sharing a space with their peers (Faculty).

Personal Societies interested in the advancement of knowledge in specific fields of postsecondary study and also the influence faculties have within their own institutions are found nation-wide. The larges, The American Association of University Professors, has approximately 45,000 members. Other major unions include the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association of the United States (Faculty).

Advancement in postsecondary teaching lays in the road to tenure positions. When starting out, one is called an “instructor”. At this level one has the least amount of experience, usually one begins here right after finishing school. Associate professors are those who have acquired their PhD. and have had at least two to three years of teaching experience. Full professors are the one's eligible for tenure. They have had “extensive teaching background” and have most likely published some sort of original work as a contribution to their field (Faculty).

Once a professor reaches a full-time, tenured position they receive a good salary and great benefits. Their annual salaries range from $46,370 to $90,209, averaging at about $58,350. Benefits include the usual: sick leave, health insurance, and a retirement plan. Professors are privileged to a few unique benefits as well, including payed sabbaticals, the usage of campus facilities (University).

May professors make extra earnings by getting involved in their field of study in a professional level (Faculty). Mathematics professors may act as financial consultants. Biology professors may take part in scientific studies or clinical trials. English or History professors may publish studies or write books on their areas of expertise.

Related occupations range from primary and secondary education to administration positions to education in many other fields. Those who would rather work with young children may become K-8 teachers after receiving their bachelor's degree and certification. Those who wish to really get into their subject of interest while still teaching younger students can work as secondary teachers, preparing their students for college. Teachers can work in the Military, especially in the field of science and technology. Administration roles range from primary and secondary principals to academic deans and admissions directors for colleges and universities. Other careers include professional tutors, teaching assistants, preschool teachers, and financial aid administrators (Faculty).

Postsecondary education positions are expected to increase more than most occupations in the coming years, due in great part to the rise of the college-aged population, 18-24 year olds, and the amount of teachers who are expected to retire. The majority of these new openings, however, will be only part-time or assistant professor positions (Teachers). Related occupations range from primary and secondary education to administration positions to education in many other fields. Those who would rather work with young children may become K-8 teachers after receiving their bachelor's degree and certification. Those who wish to really get into their subject of interest while still teaching younger students can work as secondary teachers, preparing their students for college. Teachers can work in the Military, especially in the field of science and technology. Administration roles range from primary and secondary principals to academic deans and admissions directors for colleges and universities. Other careers include professional tutors, teaching assistants, preschool teachers, and financial aid administrators (Faculty).

With so many teenagers dying to finish high school and get through college, it's hard for many to understand why anyone be willing to continue there education so many years past what's needed. Even then, these people work to receive their PhD., only to continue studying for the duration of their career. “I love working with the students... It remains always fresh and satisfying. And to excite people's curiosity is very rewarding. To have the luxury of thinking hard about issues not only because they interest you, but because you feel they are important, is a gift and a great freedom.” (Mehler 3). This is what drives one to dedicate years of their life to this profession.

 

Works Cited

“Career Profiles: Professor.” The Princeton Review. 2004. 12 Feb. 2005. <http://www.princetonreveiw.com/cte/profiles/dayInLife.asp?careerID=127>

“Faculty Members, College and University.” Chronicle Guidance Publications. Nov. 2001: 8-11.

Mehler, Lauren. “What It Really Takes To Be a Professor.” CollegeJournal. 8 Mar. 2004.

“Profession.” Dictionary.com. 2005. 14 Feb. 2005. <http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=profession>

“School of Education.” Seattle Pacific University. 2005. 14 Feb. 2005. <http://www.spu.edu/depts/soe/>

“Teacher Certification Programs.” TeachWashington.org. 2005. 13 Feb. 2005. <http://www.teachwashington.org/programs.php>

“Teachers- Postsecondary.” Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2004- 2005 Edition. 27 Feb. 2004. 12 Feb. 2005. <http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos066.htm>

“Tuition and Fees.” Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board. 12 Feb. 2005. <http://www.hecb.wa.gov/research/issues/tuition.asp>

“University and College Teachers [100477].” WOIS/ The Career Information Source. 2004. 9 Feb. 2005. <http://www.wois.org/online/leased/description/occs/100477.cfm>

“WSU Vancouver Course Catalog: Graduate Programs.” Washington State University Vancouver. 2004. 14 Feb 2005. <http://www.vancouver.wsu.edu/pc/gradprograms.htm>



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