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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.

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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 two- or four-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 four-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 an average annual salary of $73,090 as of May 2012 (www.bls.gov). Those working at four-year colleges and universities received an average wage of $75,320 annually, which was higher than the $66,820 average annual wage earned by those employed at junior colleges. The BLS projected that job opportunities for postsecondary professors were expected to increase by 17% between 2010 and 2020. This growth is attributed to an expected increase in enrollment at colleges and universities.

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