How to Become a Professor of Education

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college professor speaking with students

Some educators’ primary focus is on bringing others into the profession and training the next generation of teachers. Due to the never-ending need for education professionals at all levels of the school system, instructing others in the best practices of teaching represents a valuable and potentially rewarding career path.

Becoming a professor of education is a way to expand your skill set, performing research that advances the field and passes on information that prepares educators to excel in classrooms. The next generation of students will benefit because their teachers have been trained by experienced and committed professors of education.

In addition to extensive content knowledge and experience in the field, a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) may lead to a college or university faculty position. Students researching how to become a professor of education should know that completing an online Ed.D. program, which features all-digital coursework and asynchronous learning, allows people already working full time in a school setting to prepare for their next career moves. Students will learn about current trends in higher education, best practices for instruction, assessment, curriculum development, and the latest technologies for face-to-face and online learning.

Education Professor Job Duties, Career Path and Salary

A professor of education will ideally model the latest instructional methods and understand best practices in essential areas, such as curriculum development, academic advising and supervision.

Education Professor Job Description

In addition to teaching and guiding aspiring educators, college faculty conduct research that can directly impact how classes are taught in the future. Moving the teaching profession forward requires collecting and analyzing data, creating compelling presentations, and publishing scholarly articles. By combining theoretical problem-solving with practical research and experimentation, faculty may discover new approaches that benefit educators around the world.

To excel in instruction and research, professors should pair fundamental technology and deep discipline knowledge with advanced soft skills. A great professor will be able to communicate effectively in writing and in person. Lifelong learning is fundamental to teaching excellence.

Steps to Become a Professor of Education

The first step toward becoming a professor of education is to earn the necessary degree. Although most professors are required to have a doctorate in the field they plan to teach, some institutions hire candidates who have completed a master’s degree.
In addition to completing an education, aspiring college professors must gain teaching experience. They can do this by applying for graduate-level teaching assistant positions. Teaching assistants help professors in various ways, such as grading papers, leading lab sections and holding office hours when students can request one-on-one assistance.
After graduating and gaining teaching assistant experience, future professors of education can apply for associate professor positions. Most colleges and universities require applicants to have several years of experience working as associate professors before being considered for full professor positions.
Education professor job requirements vary based on the institution. Whereas some schools require applicants to have their work published widely in academic journals and texts, other schools have less stringent publication requirements.

Education Professor Salary and Job Outlook

Higher education faculty salaries vary by discipline, depending on factors such as the job market, area of the country and years of experience, making predicting earning potential difficult. Data from PayScale indicates that the average professor’s salary is approximately $88,400 as of June 2021, with the 10th percentile of higher education professionals earning $55,000 and the 90th percentile earning $166,000.

As for the job outlook of professors, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the number of roles in this field will grow by 9% between 2019 and 2029, much faster than the projected average for all other occupations. Colleges and universities across the country are set to bring more faculty members on staff, though their demand will likely differ by subject and region.

Joining a higher education faculty requires years as a teacher and time earning advanced degrees. Practitioners who are actively engaged in teaching can enter an online Ed.D. program to bolster their credentials for promotion to a professor role. The specialized courses within these degree programs can offer relevant knowledge about education and sharpen soft skills needed to excel.

An Ed.D. as Preparation for a Professor of Education Role

The online Ed.D. program at Bradley University prepares students for roles within higher education. The curriculum is taught by faculty members with a deep, well-connected understanding of today’s academic landscape.

Curriculum Features

Ed.D. courses cover a wide variety of foundational concepts, from the ethics of educational policymaking to technology in the classroom. Data interpretation is one important subject included in the curriculum, as the skill can help faculty conduct meaningful research about education settings and practices.

Classes pertaining to higher education discuss leadership and oversight within colleges and universities. Students also learn about best practices for administering online courses. They’ll likely gain additional expertise for leading effective digital classrooms simply by taking the program’s online courses.

Faculty Expertise

The Bradley University Ed.D. curriculum is relevant and current because experienced educators with years of research and classroom experience design and oversee it. With this background, top faculty members deliver direct insights into content that’ll inform and empower the next generation of faculty

Traits and Goals of an Online Ed.D. Applicant

Becoming a professor of education is one way to shape school systems and influence future generations. Through research and the courses they teach, these professors work for the sake of academic excellence. Professionals who aspire to take on such a role can gain related knowledge and credentials in an online Ed.D. program, taking advantage of flexible course schedules to learn while they serve in their own full-time roles.

Applicants for an Ed.D. should have both professional and educational documentation, with letters from supervisors and a current resume alongside transcripts from undergraduate and previous graduate education. The courses, which use the latest e-learning technology, give students direct access to knowledgeable instructors and current materials relevant to the helpful, potentially rewarding career paths they envision for themselves.

Become a Professor of Education

Students interested in becoming a professor of education must start by developing the right knowledge and skills. The Bradley University Ed.D. program is designed to allow students to pursue their passions within the field of higher education. Graduates gain an inside look into the academic world by studying with the connected and experienced educators on the university’s faculty. Discover how Bradley University’s online Ed.D. program can help you take the next step toward your future.

Recommended Readings

What Is an Ed.D. Degree?

College Professor Requirements: Steps to Become a Professor

Online Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) Program



Association of Teacher Educators, Standards for Teacher Educators

Bradley University, Education Faculty

Bradley University, Online Ed.D. Higher Education Administration Curriculum

CareerExplorer, How to Become a Professor

Indeed, How to Become a College Professor

PayScale, Average Professor, Postsecondary / Higher Education Salary

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Postsecondary Teachers