Do I Need a Certification to Be a College Professor?

Unlike elementary and high school teachers, college professors typically do not require a teaching certification. Academic professors within colleges and universities are required to complete postsecondary education and training. However, depending on your specific subject, you may need an occupational certification. Schools offering Adult Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Postsecondary Educators

Postsecondary educators are employed within public and private colleges and universities, as well as technical and vocational schools. They have expertise in a specific subject area. They might hold titles such as instructor, assistant professor or professor, and they are hired on a part-time or full-time basis. The title a postsecondary educator carries depends on several factors, such as degree level, work experience and other professional designations, such as certification. Some college professors obtain tenure, or a full-time contract, following a probationary period of several years. Instructors are frequently part-time educators within technical, vocational and community colleges.

Important Facts About Postsecondary Teachers

Salary (2014) $74,040
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 13%
Key Skills Critical thinking skills, interpersonal skills, communication skills, resourcefulness
Similar Occupations Postsecondary administrators, career and technical education teachers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Requirements for a College Professor

Teaching within a postsecondary educational institution commonly requires holding a minimum of a graduate degree in your area of expertise. The degree requirement can vary depending on the institution, subject or position. For example, some technical or vocational schools might only require a bachelor's or master's degree with related work experience to obtain a part-time instructor position. However, a full-time professorship at a university frequently requires a doctoral degree, stated the BLS.

Certification Options

Holding a postsecondary teaching position doesn't require you to obtain teaching certification, such as you would need to be an elementary or high school teacher. College professors and instructors might, however, be required to hold professional certification in their area of expertise, but this can vary depending upon the subject and institution.

If you need professional certification to work in a specific industry or field, a postsecondary institution might prefer you to have that certification. For instance, accounting professors or instructors might need a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation, or individuals wanting to teach aspiring elementary or high school teachers may need teaching certification and state licensure. You might also find that certification is mandatory for positions within technical or vocational schools, such as maintenance technology or refrigeration technology.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • The George Washington University

    The George Washington University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at The George Washington University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

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    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

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    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado State University Global

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    Popular programs at Colorado State University Global:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Concordia University Portland

    Concordia University Portland responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Concordia University Portland:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint Joseph's University

    Saint Joseph's University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Joseph's University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Christian University

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    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

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  • Penn Foster High School

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  • Northcentral University

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