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Postsecondary and College Teacher

Career Highlights

  • Surrounded by other faculty with similar interests
  • Research your field extensively, occasionally publish findings
  • Work with students, inspire learning
  • Flexible scheduling, decide when and where to work
  • Goal is to achieve tenure status

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Career Summary

To the right person, teaching in a postsecondary environment – i.e. at colleges, universities and trade schools – can be one of the most rewarding careers. Postsecondary teachers not only educate and work with over 15 million students nationally, but they also provide a substantial portion of the nation’s research in a variety of fields. The demands of the job are considerable, often requiring extensive education and personal experience in one’s field of expertise.

Vocational or trade-school teachers may hold a bachelor or master’s degree, but at least three years of personal experience in their field of instruction is the most important qualification. At the college and university level, full-time, tenure-track professors usually hold a doctoral degree, while part-time or temporary teachers may hold a master’s. Teachers at all levels spend a great deal of time working with students, as well as researching on their own. Thus, communication and time-management skills are valuable, as are self-motivation and an inquisitive, analytical mind.

Being able to set one’s own hours, including usually around 12-16 classroom and 3-6 office hours per week, plus having three months out of the year to pursue other teachings, research, or leisure activities, also makes university and trade school teaching one of the most flexible occupations.

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2-year institution: requires BA or MA and experience in field of expertise

4-year institution: requires MA or PhD and experience in field of expertise

Career Skills

Communication, both written and verbal

Public speaking ability

Enjoy working with students

Inquiring, analytical mind

Self-motivated under little supervision

Experience in field of expertise

Researching skills

Willingness to work evenings, weekends, in some fields

Time management skills

Additional Information

Find Educator Training Near You

State & Federal Prison Teacher Career Profile

Secondary Education Teacher

Up and Coming Careers in the Next 10 Years -- All About Your College Professor

wikiHow – How to Become a College Professor


Labor Bureau Occupational Handbook - Postsecondary Teachers – Postsecondary Teachers


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*Salary ranges based on location, experience, and demand. This number represents a rough nation-wide average.