How to become an english literature professor

How to become an english literature professor

Postsecondary English Language and Literature Teachers

teach courses in English language and literature, including linguistics and comparative literature. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

Last updated: December 14, 2020

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Job description

Postsecondary English Language and Literature Teachers teach courses in English language and literature, including linguistics and comparative literature. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

  • Teach writing or communication classes.
  • Evaluate and grade students’ class work, assignments, and papers.
  • Prepare course materials, such as syllabi, homework assignments, and handouts.
  • Initiate, facilitate, and moderate classroom discussions.

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English Literature Professors with little to no experience tend to make between $37180 and $48860 while the more experienced ones can earn over $94790 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
DC $- $115,590
CA $- $114,110
RI $- $93,470
NY $- $92,170
NJ $- $86,360

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as a Postsecondary English Language and Literature Teacher is to move to a higher paying state like DC. Right now, the highest paying states for English Literature Professors are DC, CA, RI, NY and NJ.

However, a higher pay at DC doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at DC might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as a Postsecondary English Language and Literature Teacher is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


We asked other English Literature Professors what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a PhD followed by a Master’s Degree.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

English/Language Arts Teacher Education
Comparative Literature
English Language and Literature, General
Writing, General
Creative Writing

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being a Postsecondary English Language and Literature Teacher .

How to become an english literature professor

Professors teach students at colleges and universities. They take on a number of courses each semester or quarter and develop a syllabus, or outline, for each course. Each professor has their own teaching style, and some teach in a lecture format, while others with smaller classes prefer to teach in a workshop or seminar format. In addition to leading class time, professors develop assignments, assist students with questions, advise students in their department, work with teaching assistants, serve on committees, and assign grades.

Professors are highly educated, and while a large part of their job is teaching, most professors conduct research and publish scholarly articles or literature as well.

What kind of training is required to become a professor?

In most cases, professors at colleges and universities hold a doctoral degree in their field. Completing a doctoral degree involves taking high-level courses in one’s area of study, but it may also require conducting and publishing research, working as a graduate teaching assistant, or completing fieldwork or clinical experiences.

Doctoral students contribute to the body of knowledge in their field by writing a dissertation. With the guidance of a faculty advisor, students choose a thesis, conduct research, and write a dissertation exploring the results of their research. The final step to earning a doctoral degree is successfully defending one’s dissertation in front of a faculty committee.

While some professors earn faculty positions after completing their doctoral degree, others spend time working in their field before entering higher education. Some, especially those in the sciences, pursue postdoctoral education, which is often heavily focused on research.

Are there any certification or licensure requirements?

In general, there are no licensure or certification requirements for faculty at colleges and universities. In some departments, however, professors may be required to be currently licensed or certified in their profession. A professor who wants to teach at a nursing or medical school, for example, may be required to hold a current nurse or physician license.

How long does it take to become a professor?

It can take at least eight years of college education to become a professor. Completing postdoctoral education or gaining working experience in one’s field can add to the time it takes to earn a faculty position.

What does a professor earn?

The median yearly pay for professors in the United States was $68,970 in 2012. Faculty salaries vary across subject areas. Law professors, for example, earned a median salary of $99,950 in 2012, while English language and literature professors earned a median salary of $60,040 that year.

What are the job prospects?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of postsecondary teachers in the United States will grow by 19 percent between 2012 and 2020, faster than the average growth for all occupations. The BLS predicts that enrollment in colleges and universities will grow over the next several years, and that additional professors will be needed to meet student demand.

The BLS also predicts that employment growth in some fields will be stronger than in others. Professors in the health sciences, for example, are expected to be in great demand.

What are the long term career prospects for professors?

New faculty members start their careers as assistant professors and can be promoted to the roles of associate professor and professor. Colleges and universities evaluate professors on their performance as an instructor, the amount and quality of research or publication they’ve done, and on their participation in the school community. Professors who are in tenure-track positions are eligible for tenure review after a certain number of years. If they are granted tenure, they cannot be fired from their position without just cause.

As their careers progress, professors may move on to new colleges and universities. They may also take on leadership roles in their academic department.

How can I find a job as a professor?

Many who want to work in academia begin looking for faculty positions while they are still working on their doctoral degrees. The hiring process for new faculty members can take a year or more, so you should begin researching opportunities as soon as possible. While working on your degree, prepare your curriculum vitae (CV) and begin requesting letters of recommendation.

You can find information on job openings through your advisor and other faculty members in your department, at conferences, in newsletters, and in publications that focus on higher education and your field of study. As you research job openings, consider whether or not the position is a good fit for your teaching preferences and for the kind of research you do.

If you do not receive an offer right away, you can take other positions related to your field until you are ready to apply for faculty positions again. You can work as a lecturer or research associate, for example.

How can I learn more about becoming a professor?

The Chronicle of Higher Education is a good resource for those who want to enter academia. The Chronicle focuses on issues of importance to college and university faculty and administrators. Its website hosts a job board and discussion forums as well.

You can also learn more about becoming a professor by talking to some professors in your field. They can tell you about the path they’ve taken to their current position and offer advice on your own path.

Five Steps to Becoming a Professor

The path to becoming a professor begins with a bachelor’s degree. It is a prerequisite to entering graduate school. A student may know the subject they want to specialize in from their first day of college, or may discover it later on.

People who want to become a professor must choose a subject to teach and begin gaining expertise in that area, usually by studying the subject while pursuing their undergraduate degree but not always. In addition to taking coursework in a specific subject matter area, participating in an internship program in their undergraduate years can also help future professors develop their knowledge and skills.

Hopeful professors must continue their education with a graduate degree. Generally, those who want to work as professors at community colleges are required to earn a master’s degree, while those who want to teach at four-year colleges and universities should earn a doctorate. However, when there are a lot of job candidates to choose from, community colleges may also favor those who have earned a doctoral degree.

During their graduate years, students who want to become professors should participate in an assistantship program at their school, which is a kind of financial aid that allows students to get full or partial tuition remission and a stipend as they gain work experience under the supervision of a professor. In some cases, students may also be able to earn graduate credit hours toward their degree when they participate in an assistantship.

There are different kinds of assistantships available, depending on the students’ academic department. Research assistantships allow students to perform certain duties, such as collecting, documenting, and analyzing research data. Those in teaching assistantships participate in instructional activities that may include grading tests and assignments, meeting with students during office hours, and giving class lectures. Those in an administrative assistantship work with the staff of an academic department and perform duties such as providing academic advising and career counseling to students, giving presentations, and evaluating programs in the department.

No matter what kind of assistantship students participate in, they will be expected to work a certain number of hours each week and maintain a minimum GPA.

In order to successfully compete for professor positions, people should obtain post-doctoral experience. This allows those who completed their Ph.D. to conduct original research and begin to amass a catalog of studies published in academic journals.

Post-doctoral jobs are generally positions at a college or university that last two or three years. Those who want to teach in scientific disciplines, such as biological science, chemistry, and physics, may be expected to have this type of experience in order to land a position.

FAQ on Becoming a Professor

Some colleges not only want professors who have academic experience, they also want those who have hands-on experience in their subject of expertise. This means prospective educators should have a work history in the area they want to teach. For example, professors who want to teach law, health specialties, art, and education are usually expected to bring some real-world experience to the classroom.

Professors who work with students who have to earn a license in order to get employment—such as nurses or teachers—should also hold the same license. The license requirements depend on what field the professor specializes in and the state where they work.

Professional organizations are a great way for professors to network with each other, get to know potential employers, and stay abreast of developments in their subject matter area. Some professional associations they can join include the American Association of University Professors, the National Education Association, the American Association of Adjunct Education, the Academy for Academic Leadership, and the American College Personnel Association.

Professor Salary & Job Growth

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2017 the median salary for professors was $76,000 a year, with the bottom ten percent earning around $39,000 and the top ten percent earning $170,160. There are several factors that go into how much professors earn, including the type of institution they work for. For example, professors at private colleges and universities earn a median income of $77,170 and those at state schools earn $79,340. In addition, professors who work for local junior colleges make a median income of $76,890 and educators at state junior colleges make $56,030.

Also, the agency reports that the subject professors teach can influence their earning potential. The following are some examples of the median annual income of educators in different disciplines.

Prof. Pettigrew: It’s nice work, if you can stand getting it.

By Todd Pettigrew October 29, 2012

How to become an english literature professor

Todd Pettigrew is an associate professor of English at Cape Breton University.

Have you ever looked at the front of your lecture hall or into a professor’s office and thought, “That looks like a pretty good gig”? Probably not. But if you have, you may have wondered how you get from where you are to where your professor is. As you might imagine, it’s neither easy to get there nor always as much fun as it looks. Still, if you’re interested, here’s what it looks like.

Getting the Credentials

First, you have to understand that becoming a professor is not like becoming a teacher. You don’t need a Bachelor of Education degree. What does matter is getting a doctorate – typically a PhD in your chosen field. That means finishing your four-year bachelor’s degree, preferably an honours degree – and then (for most fields) getting a Master’s degree before applying for doctoral work.

Getting into a PhD program is tough, and finishing the PhD is even tougher. If you are doing it in Canada it will likely mean some combination of courses, some very rigorous exams, and a dissertation. The dissertation is basically a book-length study that contributes to the discipline in some usually modest but still significant way. It’s the thing you write to show that you have mastered the discipline and can contribute to it as a professional. My advice: don’t take your time. The longer you take on it, the greater the chance that it will become an albatross around your Coleridge-reading neck. At some point, whoever is paying for you to study is going to stop paying, and eventually your department may even kick you out. Dive right into the thesis and get it done before you lose interest.

Along the way, you are going to want to start publishing articles related to your field. In some disciplines you may publish as a co-author with your doctoral supervisor. In other cases, you may rewrite a paper you wrote for a course to bring it up to professional standards, or publish a chapter from your dissertation (usually after the dissertation is finished).

Oh, and if that’s not enough, it won’t hurt if you get some teaching experience in there as well, preferably teaching a course of your own (as opposed to being a teaching assistant in someone else’s course).

If PhD student is nobody’s idea of a dream job, getting an academic job can be a nightmare.

The university job market is incredibly competitive because there are plenty of PhDs produced every year and plenty more hanging around from the last few years. What’s more, universities look to hire in very specific areas. Just because you have a PhD in History doesn’t mean you can apply to any opening in a History department. You will need to look for a job in your specific area of history – Canadian or maybe even Atlantic Canadian. There may be literally only one or two tenure-track (ie permanent) jobs in your field in any given year. Some years there might be none at all.

As a result, few people get tenure-track jobs right out of grad school. You may have to spend some time scratching out a living teaching a course here or there where you can. This may mean part-time appointments (which may pay as little as a few thousand dollars per term) or full-time limited term positions (which pay salaries similar to new regular faculty but don’t last). Or, if you’re lucky, you might be able to get a post-doctoral fellowship that will allow you to continue your research while you look for jobs.

Your chances of getting a job will increase if you are willing to cast the net broadly. Not everyone is willing or able to relocate to the other side of the country so, if you are, that will let you apply to a job where you might be one of, say, two dozen highly qualified applicants instead of one of two hundred.

Keeping Your Job

If you successfully land a tenure-track job, you will have a period of relative security for about five years. After that you will have to apply for tenure, which is a type of permanent appointment that allows you to teach and conduct research the way you want without much fear of getting fired. What exactly you have to do to get tenure will depend a lot on where you are hired, but most universities claim that tenure depends upon strong evaluations in the areas of teaching, research, and, to some extent, service (any number of things you do to help the university and wider community).

In practice, though, how much each element counts can vary widely. At some universities, the emphasis on research far outweighs everything else, and if you don’t have enough published papers, you’re out. At other places, you nearly have to set the building on fire to be denied tenure. Find people in your department and Faculty Association who have been through the process and know how it works.

If you can make it through the slough of papers, tests, and self-esteem-destroying revisions required to get a PhD, being a professor is a job worth having. Sure there are boring meetings, high-pressure research deadlines, and frustrating students. But you have a lot of freedom to talk and read and write about things that interest you. If you’re full time, the money is decent. And you have plenty of time and opportunity to travel or pursue other interests. Plus you get to spend time with like-minded people, most of whom are smarter than average, not to mention being able to wear tweed unironically.

It’s a long hard road with no guarantees. But, if you make it to the end, it is a pretty good gig.

Teaching english in korea, Korea jobs, Jobs in Korea on HIexpat

How to become an english literature professor

How to become an english literature professorA university job is considered ‘the ultimate’ vocation when it comes to teaching English in Korea. It’s the most coveted and highly sought after position. Teaching English at a university is more laid back. It comes with less working hours per week and more vacation time than a public or Private school job.

Kind Of Jobs Available

There are two types of university jobs available in South Korea. Unigwon and Regular university teaching job.

Unigwons are basically university run hagwon or private English institution. As such, you will be teaching mixed age groups from primary school kids to adults. You will teach 20-30 hours per week and have 2 weeks or less of vacation. Since you will be working in the university’s private language academy, the university students you teach will be the ones who come after class for extra help.

In a regular university teaching job, you will teach adults. Regular university jobs can be further sub-divided into two categories: teaching credit courses and teaching non-credit courses.

Credit courses often pay more and consist of classes that teach regular

subjects in English. For example: Science, Business, Writing, Presentation, Literature, and so on.

Non-credit courses usually pay less and are usually conversation, reading, writing and listening classes.


How to become an english literature professorYou need a Bachelors degree or higher. A degree in English related field or in TESOL is preferred but not necessary. Most Korean universities ask for a minimum of 2-years teaching experience if you have a Master’s degree or 4 years teaching experience if you don’t have a M.A.

If you’re going to teach English in Korea, you must be a native speaker. The English speaking countries that are considered ‘native’ are Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, the UK, and the US. You will also need a federal background check with no criminal record.

These are the basic qualifications. But the more qualified you are, the better. Many universities prefer candidates who have conducted workshops, been published, completed a TEFL course (with at least 120 hours and 6 of teaching practice) etc.

Working Hours And Vacation

How to become an english literature professorTeaching hours are usually 10-20 per week (the standard is around 14-16). For example a contract may call for 15 class hours/week, which is basically 5-6 classes a week. Most university teachers end up teaching only 2 or 3 classes a day as opposed to 6-7 classes a day at the private schools. Furthermore, you may have to keep 3-4 office hours a week for paperwork and student counseling.

On average university positions offer 4 months or more of paid vacation. You may be asked to do some special vacation classes. For these classes overtime rates apply so usually these special classes

Salary And Other Benefits

How to become an english literature professorSalaries vary as do hours. Some universities pay between 1.8 mil won 2.8 million per month. However depending on your qualifications, experience and the location of the university you can make up to 3.7 mil won a month. Overtime pay can vary between 20,000 won up to 50,000.

Other benefits include: university provided housing or a housing allowance of around 300,000-400,000 won per month.

Just like most hagwons, public universities provide an end-of-year bonus equivalent to one month’s salary, private universities usually don’t. Universities in Korea also provide a pension (about 10% of your

yearly salary) and health care. Some universities may pay for your roundtrip airfare.

Visa Sponsorship

How to become an english literature professorIf you are hired, the university will sponsor an E-1 visa and provide paperwork assistance. Most contracts are for one year but some universities offer contracts for 2 years.

How And Where To Find These Jobs

The academic year in Korea begins in March. The fall semester usually begins in September. The main hiring season starts in October for a March 1st job. The other hiring season is in the spring for a job opening in September.

Right before the semester starts is another good time to look for jobs because some teachers decide to accept jobs elsewhere at the last minute.

Most universities advertise job postings on the Internet. There are some good websites like: HiExpat, Dave’s ESL Cafe, Gone 2 Korea, Craigslist etc. that are worth checking out. You can also visit the website of the universities and apply online.

Furthermore, there are various reputed recruiting agencies that can help you find a suitable position.

If you’re looking to get a job with few working hours, a comfortable salary and lots of vacation time, give the university teaching job in Korea a try! It may end up being the perfect fit for you.

Roma Lucarelli always knew she wanted to be a teacher. But it was only after a few years of being exposed to her professors at the University of Toledo that she figured out what kind of teacher she really wanted to be.

Lucarelli, a senior distance runner on the Rockets’ women’s track and cross country teams, will receive her degree in English literature, her second bachelor’s degree, at UToledo’s virtual graduation ceremony on Dec. 6. She previously received a degree in adolescent and young adult education last spring.

How to become an english literature professor

CELEBRATING SUCCESS: During this time when we cannot come together to celebrate our graduates, UToledo is recognizing the Class of 2020 with a series of feature stories on students who are receiving their degrees during our virtual commencement ceremony on Sunday, Dec. 6.

Lucarelli began her academic career with the objective of becoming a secondary school teacher. But the inspiration provided by her instructors in the Department of English Language and Literature persuaded her to set her sights on becoming a university-level English professor.

“In all of my English classes, the professors have been so personable and willing to help me,” said Lucarelli, a graduate of nearby Bedford High School. “I really love the college atmosphere and doing research, so I think going the professor route would be good for me.”

Lucarelli is grateful to her instructors for supporting her through her five years as both a student and a student-athlete.

“My professors have been great,” Lucarelli said. “As a student-athlete, flexibility and understanding are key, and I never had an issue with that from any of my professors. But more than that, my professors have often shown a personal interest in me as a student and as a future educator. One of the best parts of my college experience has been the one-on-one attention that I have received from my professors.”

Lucarelli particularly credits Dr. Parama Sarkar, an associate professor in the English Department, for inspiring her new career path. Lucarelli took Sarkar’s World Literature class during her sophomore year. At the end of the semester, Sarkar spoke with Lucarelli and suggested that she had what it takes to be a college professor.

How to become an english literature professor

Roma Lucarelli, a senior distance runner on the Rockets’ women’s track and cross country teams, will receive her degree in English Literature, her second bachelor’s degree, in December.

“Dr. Sarkar has been a role model for me,” Lucarelli said. “She is what I want to be as an English professor.”

Sarkar, who now serves as Lucarelli’s Honor’s Thesis mentor, said she sees a bright future for her star student.

“It has been a pleasure having Roma in my classes,” Sarkar said. “She is smart, intellectually curious and extremely motivated as a student, and I can see her excelling in any field she chooses in her future.”

While Lucarelli has altered her academic path somewhat, she decided to stick with her original major and simply add another bachelor’s degree to her resume before entering graduate school. This gave her the opportunity to work as a student teacher at Toledo Early College High School, an experience she found fulfilling.

“Even though the students I worked with were in seventh and eighth grade, they were very advanced students who took the subject matter seriously,” said Lucarelli. “It further convinced me that I wanted to teach at the college level. There’s nothing wrong with teaching junior high or high school. I’m sure I could be happy teaching at a school like Toledo Early College. But I think the best fit for me is being a college professor.”

How to become an english literature professor

Lucarelli and Coach Andrea Grove-McDonough at the MAC Cross Country Championship Meet in Bowling Green on Saturday. The Rockets took second place, just three points behind first-place Northern Illinois.

After graduating in December, Lucarelli will begin graduate school at UToledo with the goal of receiving her master’s degree in English Literature. After that, she plans to begin work on her Ph.D. and enter the world of academia.

While Lucarelli has been busy navigating her academic path for the past five years, she has also been competing as a student-athlete. Though her athletic experience has had its ups and downs (nagging injuries have limited her participation in the past two seasons), Lucarelli is enthusiastic about the support she has received from her coaches, teammates and teachers.

“I’ve had two great coaches, Linh (Nguyen) and Andrea (Grove-McDonough), who have supported me and been there for me. We have a strong emphasis on building a positive team culture, which is so important because training day-in and day-out can be hard. I love my teammates. We have fun and are there for one another.”

McDonough, who succeeded Nguyen as Toledo’s director of track & field and cross country in the summer of 2019, said that Lucarelli has played a vital role in the program.

“Roma has been a wonderful leader for our program and has really taken on a mentor role in her senior year,” said Grove-McDonough, “She is the epitome of a leader by example in all that she does. She is kind, compassionate, well-liked and well-respected by her teammates. Roma has been a terrific comeback story this year after battling setback after setback the past year-and-a-half. Her relentless positivity and commitment to the team has allowed her to get to this place where she has made the MAC Championship squad.”

Lucarelli finished her cross country career at the MAC Cross Country Championship Meet in Bowling Green on Saturday. She and the Rockets took second place, just three points behind first-place Northern Illinois.

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