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 educational 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 may lead to a college or university faculty position. An online Ed.D. program, featuring 100 percent 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.

Professor of education duties, salary and career path

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.

Advancing the state of the discipline

In addition to teaching and guiding aspiring educators, college faculty conduct research that may have a direct impact on the way classes are taught in the future. Moving the teaching profession forward requires data collection and creation of compelling presentations and published 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.

Following an academic career path

Higher education faculty salaries vary by discipline, depending on factors such as the job market, area of the country and years of experience. Therefore, it’s difficult to predict earning potential. PayScale indicates that the average professor’s salary is $86,456, but that number is calculated from a wide range of numbers, with the 10th percentile of higher education professionals earning $51,000 and the 90th percentile making $155,000.

As for the professor job outlook, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the number of roles in this field will grow by 15 percent over the next decade. This is more than double the growth expected for all fields. 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. O*Net places the growth of education professor positions between 10 percent and 14 percent in the next decade, which demonstrates there will be significant demand for teacher educators in the near future.

Entering a higher education faculty means 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 professorial 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 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.

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

Faculty expertise

The Bradley Ed.D. curriculum is relevant and current because it is designed and overseen by experienced educators with years of research and classroom experience. With this background, top faculty members deliver direct insights into content that will 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.

The Bradley University Ed.D. program is designed to allow students to pursue their passions within the field of higher education. They gain an inside look into the academic world by studying with the connected and experienced educators on Bradley’s faculty.


Recommended Readings

What is an Ed.D. Degree?

College Professor Requirements: Steps to Become a Professor

Online Doctor of Education Program, Bradley University



Association of Teacher Educators – Standards for Teacher Educators

O*NET OnLine – Summary Report for: 25-1081.00 – Education Teachers, Postsecondary

Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education – Educator Preparation

Bradley University – Doctorate of Education Faculty

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

PayScale – Average Professor, Postsecondary / Higher Education Salary