How to Become a Tenured Professor?

6 Effective Steps To Become A Tenured Professor in 2023 | Future Education Magazine


Many-a-times, professors are attached to the educational institute via contracts. Renewal of the contract depends on the professor’s teaching technique and the success rate of the teaching. The college or university has the right to eliminate the contract whenever they want to. Some professors enjoy being the tenured professor for the rest of their lives while some do not. The tenured professor is secure throughout his life regarding his job and will not be insecure about the same.

A tenured professor can also shift colleges. Meaning, he can become a tenured professor by applying to another college, if he wishes to change the current college he is teaching in where he already is a tenured teacher. But, doing so requires years of teaching and experience and a fine sense of knowledge in the subjects he/she teaches.   

Here Are 6 Steps To Become A Tenured Professor:

1. Get a master’s degree

6 Effective Steps To Become A Tenured Professor in 2023 | Future Education Magazine

To work as a tenured professor, you need to be a post-graduate. This can also be compensated by working in the field you’re going to teach in. It depends on your choice. You can concentrate on your studies on a detailed topic and earn a master’s degree badge while displaying the same as a specialist in the field. These degrees give the opportunity to students to learn more about research and work with experts in the field who have contributed to the field substantially.

2. Gain relevant experience

When you are done with your master’s degree, you might take a job as an adjunct professor or an educationist in a college/university. These positions do not offer tenure so early on, as you do not have the relevant knowledge of teaching and experience. This will help you make your resume stronger and build a career path for you in the future. If you opt to take up teaching, some work experience is considered. In the same fields as you want to teach like engineering or computer science, then the relevant work experience is considered. 

3. Complete a doctorate while publishing your research

Sometimes, based on post-graduate degrees, the gates to a tenured career are open. You can complete your doctorate while publishing your research paper. Post completing your doctorate, you will need to complete a dissertation, which is an in-depth research essay on the topic you have chosen. Doing this simultaneously saves time. You can do it separately if you wish to. As the research takes time, it is advised to start early on. Candidates take months and years to complete the research and publish the same.

4. Apply for a tenure-track assistant professor

6 Effective Steps To Become A Tenured Professor in 2023 | Future Education Magazine

Once the doctorate is complete, you can start applying for jobs at colleges and universities. When starting to apply for a tenured professor, preferably individuals apply for a tenure-track assistant professor position. These assistant professors teach full-time, which might include up to taking six lectures in a single term. These tenured professors also mentor students and might be eligible to apply for being on the advisory board for student organizations. This will help them gain a practical experience in the teaching field.

5. Work as an associate professor

Associate tenured professor usually has a tenure of five to seven years. Post this, they go through a review for another tenure. Publishing more research during the associate professor period will help the individual to easily pass the tenure review as they increase their research towards their research. They may also engage in giving services to the college, which will make their professional growth strong. This is a third element that helps the professor to increase his professional exposure and will bring him a bright future.

6. Pass a final tenure review

This happens at the end of the associate-tenured professor period. As you’re already in the league almost, still a final review is necessary. In this review, the tenure review board scrutinizes the individual teaching and research from the time when they were an assistant professor. This time they may have a more rigid structure in order to give approval for the tenure. Overall, while looking at the past performance, and the research work and not ignoring the fact that they have mentored students n the college while being the board member, most of the time the board agrees to give the tenure in full terms.

Benefits of being a tenured professor:

1. Security

6 Effective Steps To Become A Tenured Professor in 2023 | Future Education Magazine

They are secure in terms of a job till the time they retire. If they make some serious errors while their tenure is on, the board may take strict action and cancel their tenure too, if need be. But, only in case of some major errors made by them. But the tenure acts as a protective shield and they cannot be fired from their jobs which gives them the required long-term financial stability.

2. High salary

Being in the league of a tenured professor depicts the professor’s dedication and intellect toward his teaching profession. He/she is considered an expert in the field and is well-recognized. All of this leads to higher salaries as compared to non-tenured professors. That makes the whole difference.

3. More authority

Due to their experience and extensive knowledge, these professors get to participate in the institutions’ decisions such as recruitment, retention, and mentoring. They can help improve the image of the institute and also shape the future of the students who are studying in the institute. All of this in turn increases the overall image of the individual and builds a good image.


Tenured professors are highly skilled and knowledgeable beings who have gained the designation after a lot of dedication to the subject. The role lasts till the person’s retirement which gives him full job security. Also, they can enjoy the privilege of not being attached to a single institute for their whole life. They can switch the institute if they wish to.

But, they cannot cross some limits as per the rules of the board and the university. If caught doing so, their tenure can e canceled then and there which is the right of the university. The board will also support the institution after some investigation is done. But this is just in case something wrong is done by the professors. A professor which such knowledge and experience is well-respected in the institute and can keep serving the institute till his age of retirement.

Also Read: Teacher Recruitment: A Complete Guide.

Most Popular Stories