Average Age of Professors at Colleges in the USA
The average of professors is usually 55 years old. This can depend on the type of professor or college.
The average age of a college professor is 55 years old. This depends on what kind of professor they are, what school they teach at, what degrees they acquired, and when they decided that they wanted to become a professor. Most professors are required to have a master’s degree or higher.
Continue reading to learn about the average of college professors.
Types of Colleges
The average age of a professor can also depend on the type of college you are looking at. There are community colleges, private or religious universities, public or state schools, and the ivy league. Community colleges do not require as many qualifications as public or private colleges.
According to the Crimson, the Harvard student newspaper faculty at Harvard is getting older as well. The article says that the amount of professors at Harvard over the age of 70 is increasing. This is new, as the average age to retire across the age has been 65 for decades. This is due to the act that Congress passed in 1986, stopping employers from firing employees at a certain age. Colleges were exempt from this until 1994.
Since there is no law saying a professor has to retire by a certain age, professors are staying as long as they would like, and they can since they often have tenure. Tenure is something that professors get after a certain amount of time working at a university, and they cannot be fired easily.
Students are now being taught by an older and older generation, leaving a larger age gap between the teachers and the incoming generation of workers. Will this have a big effect on their learning? The world is ever-changing, and older professors are not always up to date.
Types of Professors
There are several different types of professors. There are instructors, new assistant professors, assistant professors, associate professors, and full professors. These positions differ in experience, how often they teach a week, and the role they have in the university. We probably think that most professors are full professors, but it turns out some of them could be assistant or associate professors. (Source)
Someone rarely becomes a full professor during his or her 30s. They usually receive tenor at the age of 39, which is what makes someone a full professor. They now have a bigger say at the university and cannot get easily fired. They don’t teach as many classes but assist graduate students in their research. (Source)
The age of professors is getting higher as the years go on. A study on medical school faculty in 2009 shows that the percentage of faculty ages 55 or above is rapidly increasing. The average age used to be in the 40s but is now in the 50s. This study was done from 1967 to 2007, a span of 40 years. Times have changed in the past forty years.
Students are taking longer to finish school, if they even go to school. Adults are getting married and having kids later in life, leaving them with less responsibility while in their 20-30s. They aren’t as in dire need to figure out their life right away and determine what they want to do for the rest of their life. This is causing professors to get older and older. As the average age to finish school and find a job is getting higher.
If a professor is younger than the age of 30, they likely started college early in life, as getting all of the degrees required to become a professor can take up to 12 years.
How to Become a Professor
The average age of a college professor is 55 years old. This is due to how long it takes to become a professor. You can’t just get your undergrad in your early 20s and call it good. Becoming a college professor requires a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and sometimes a doctorate or professional degree. Completing this much schooling takes a long time, which is why the average age is much higher than in other careers. (Source)
There are also some people who don’t decide right away that they want to become a professor. They may have a career in a different field before they decide on their new career path, introducing an older age group of people getting their masters to then become professors.
It is common for professors to have spent time in their field before becoming professors. This creates a much more meaningful education for college students, as they are receiving real-world knowledge from their teachers.
It also takes much longer to find a college to teach at as candidates don’t simply participate in a job interview and give the interviewer their resume. Schools thoroughly interview the candidates to make sure they are a great fit for the job and the school. They have to evaluate their knowledge and teaching skills. There are also fewer openings because professors are working for longer than they used to, and they are harder to find if you don’t have connections within a school.
Oftentimes, you won’t start out as a full professor but as an assistant or associate professor instead. These kinds of professors are usually younger, and as you gain experience over time, you can become a full professor.
As professors progress in their teaching careers, they often move onto higher positions at the school as needed. They can move to roles that oversee the department and eventually oversee the entire school.
This isn’t common as there is only one president for each college. Most colleges prefer higher leadership positions to be filled by someone who has experience leading and guiding college students.
Most professors retire at the normal age of 65, but there are few who stay longer than that. It isn’t uncommon to have a professor over the age of 65. The average age of professors is age 55, only ten years before the most common retirement age. Professors reach the highest teaching position at a later age, causing them to continue teaching past the normal retirement age.