Each year, millions of people go through the higher education system in order to further their careers as doctors, lawyers, engineers, politicians, or artists. A select few, however, choose to enter a university and plan to stay at the university, pursuing a career working in higher education so that they need not move away from campus as soon as they have graduated. Becoming a university professor is an extremely lengthy process with lots of competition for career spots, but provides some of the greatest job satisfaction in the entire job market. Other jobs at a university, from administrators to sports coaches, offer a friendly environment with people who are passionate about education.
Why Become a Professor?
When students enter college they tend to gain a great amount of respect for their instructors. Since college professors are experts in subjects of study that can be quite compelling (ranging from ancient empires to the study of astronomy to marine ecosystems), their lives and livelihoods may also seem quite compelling. Indeed, college professors enjoy a level of job satisfaction that is nearly unparalleled in the corporate world. Professors at higher-level universities have the freedom to set their own schedules, teach classes of their choosing, and spend their summer months on vacation or pursuing their research interests. Tenured faculty, furthermore, need not worry about losing their job due to budget constraints. The appeal of such a career, however, should be contrasted by the reality of the job market for higher-level education.
The State of Higher Ed
Nearly every university receives government funding for their operations and in nearly every year, a state with a tight budget will slash education first and foremost. This means that the money available to universities is constantly in flux and their operations are never set in stone. While universities can raise tuition to make up losses and while tenured faculty need not worry about their careers in a budget cut, the financial hits do affect the careers market. Each year, there are more job applicants and each year there are fewer jobs. Full-time faculty postings are increasingly becoming replaced by adjunct faculty, who teach part-time and receive no benefits or chance at tenure. Since a university professor requires a Ph.D this uncertainty in career possibilities makes higher education employment a risky venture.
Control the School
Administrative positions at universities are far more prevalent than teaching positions. This is because universities are constantly expanding, with larger student bodies that require more administration and oversight. Working as an administrator in higher education requires education in clerical skills or management. A four-year degree often tends to be enough to get an entry-level position. The higher-level positions, such as university presidents, can make large sums of money but only go to the most experienced candidates.
Play the Game
For nearly every school in Division I, athletics brings in a huge quantity of money for university operations. Whether you enjoy coaching, training, or sports medicine, finding positions with a college team can be a great way to pursue a career. While coaching is reserved for the most experienced persons, each year there are people who work their way up from menial positions to become assistant coaches. Team trainers and physicians may have medical degrees or education in physiology, helping athletes train to increase their performance on the field or court. Other careers in athletics include boosters, who visit with alumni on game days in an attempt to gain donations for the university. Boosters need good salesmanship and have a commitment to developing the university.
Ryan Ayers writes informative articles in the field of education. This article was designed to explain a few beneficial careers available in the university setting, as well as to encourage further study in this are with a Master of Education Curriculum and Instruction.
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