History Professor: Education Requirements and Career Information
History professors create lesson plans, lecture students and proctor exams. In addition to their teaching responsibilities, history professors research historical subjects and may be required to publish scholarly papers, articles and books.
Education Requirements for a History Professor
The minimum education requirement for a history professor is a master's degree with a concentration in history. Students interested in becoming history professors often begin by earning a bachelor's degree in history. Coursework for the master's may cover topics such as history of different geographical areas, major historical events and the history of different cultures.
Teaching at 2- or 4-year colleges and universities requires at least a master's degree in the field for non-tenure, part-time or temporary positions. During a master's degree program, students typically focus on a specific history topic. Coursework is usually a combination of classroom study, lectures and research. Many programs require a thesis upon completion and some programs may include mandatory fieldwork or research seminars.
Most tenure-track professor positions at 4-year colleges and universities require a doctorate degree. Students usually earn a doctorate degree in a specialization, such as twentieth century, medieval or military history. A doctoral candidate must complete a dissertation in a topic related to their major, which must be unique and contribute new ideas to the field of history. Many postgraduate students also serve as teaching assistants during graduate school and gain first-hand experience teaching at the college level.
Career Information for History Professors
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), history professors earned a mean annual salary of $70,860 as of May 2010 (www.bls.gov). Those working at 4-year colleges and universities received an average wage $72,930 annually, which was higher than the $65,610 average annual wage earned by those employed by junior colleges. The BLS projected that job opportunities for postsecondary professors were expected to increase by 15% between 2008 and 2018. This growth was attributed to a large number of retirements in the field combined with an increase in enrollment at colleges and universities.
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