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How to Become a College Professor in India

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How to Become a Professor in India

Knowledge does not exist without a teacher. Without a good teacher, students can't excel in their life. The success of any college or institution depends on the quality of education and of teachers. What is the road to becoming a professor or lecturer? The road requires sheer hard work and sacrifice. But teaching at colleges is indeed a booming career path.

4 Steps to Becoming a College Professor

To become a college professor, you should follow the steps below:

  • Step 1: You should opt for a stream of your choice (science, commerce or arts) in Class 12th.
  • Step 2: After completing Class 12th, you should opt for the bachelor's degree. It is important that you clear graduation with good percentages.
  • Step 3: You should apply for the postgraduate program and score at least 55%, since this is the minimum eligibility to appear for the NET (National Eligibility Test)—the qualifying examination for teaching in a college.
  • Step 4: Either sit for the NET exam or apply to do research work in your university. Teaching in a college requires an M.Phil or Ph.D. degree. A candidate who possesses a doctoral degree gets an edge over other applicants.

To be recruited as a professor in a university or institution, it is mandatory to clear the NET (National Eligibility Test) / SET (State Eligibility Test) examination. Usually, NET is conducted by the UGC (University Grants Commission) twice a year, in June and December. Candidates who have successfully cleared NET are eligible to apply for the lecturer posts in all Indian universities, institutes and colleges, but SET qualified candidates will be eligible for appointment of the lecturer post only in universities and colleges in the state where they have cleared the SET exam.

Duties of a Professor

  1. Preparing a syllabus for each class
  2. Preparing examinations
  3. Calculating grades
  4. Meeting students outside the class for help
  5. Integrating new learning into current classes
  6. Advising students regarding course selection
  7. Supervising the research work of graduate students
  8. Reading, making suggestions on and evaluating thesis proposals of graduate students
  9. Participating in Ph.D. comprehensive examinations
  10. Participating in departmental faculty meetings

Skills Required for Professor Jobs

Passion for teaching and interest in the subject

Good communication skills

Interest in research work

Ability to solve complex problems

Ability to monitor and encourage people

Time management

Ability to persuade

Service orientation

Active learning

Top Employers in India

Some of the top institutions in India paying the highest salary to an assistant professor or lecturer are:

  • IITs
  • IIMs
  • BITs

Salary and Perks

On an average, an assistant professor can earn anywhere between Rs 16000-40,000/month in India. A professor can earn between Rs 38000-68,000/month.

Apart from that, a college professor gets paid summer, winter and autumn holidays. Some colleges offer accommodation to their teaching staff within the campus. Some of the other perks include conveyance and medical facilities.

Salary Range of Assistant Professors by Educational Sector in India

Source: A leading job portal

SectorSalary (per annum)

General Education (post -econdary institutes)

Rs 2-8 lakh


Rs 3-8 lakh

Technical Colleges

Rs 1,78,268-6,19,656

Mechanical Engineering Institutes

Rs 1,85,330-Rs 6,66,485

Biotechnology Institutes/ Research & Development Institutes

Rs 1,89,209-Rs 6,24,183

Where Can You Find Professor Jobs?

There is no dearth of good job opportunities for those who want to kick-start their teaching career as professors. In the coming years, the number of colleges, universities, and professional colleges is going to rise and increase the demand for qualified teaching staff. A lecturer can serve as a reader, assistant professor, professor or associate professor, or eventually become the department head. All the universities and colleges in India follow the guidelines detailed by the University Grants Commission (UGC). It is the only statutory body in India that looks after the maintenance and standards of institutions in higher education. Before you apply for any job with a college, it is crucial to check the list of reputed institutions which are issued by UGC every year. It will help you to start your career in the right direction.

You can find both assistant professor and professor jobs in any of the following:

  • Government colleges
  • Private colleges, both aided and non-aided
  • Universities
  • Research institutes
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If we closely look at below table then we will find that there is a great demand of professors in IITs, where there is a severe faculty crunch. Apart from offering a handsome salary package, teaching at an IIT is highly prestigious.


Cities in India With the Highest Number of Assistant Professor/Lecturer Jobs

Source- A leading job portal

Pune, Maharashtra

Mumbai, Maharashtra

Kolkata (Calcutta), West Bengal

New Delhi

Bangalore, Karnataka

Noida, Uttar Pradesh

Ahmadabad, Gujarat

Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Jaipur, Rajasthan

Faridabad, Haryana

Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh

Indore, Madhya Pradesh



Career Progression

As per the UGC (University Grants Commission) rules and regulations, an assistant professor/ lecturer holding a PhD degree, will be promoted to Associate Professor after the completion of 12 years of service. Similarly, candidates with an M. Phil degree or a postgraduate degree in a professional course will be moved to the Associate Professor post after the completion of 13 years of service.

Other Work Areas for a Professor

There is a misconception that anybody can teach, which is not at all correct. Impeccable knowledge of the subject matter, clarity of thought, zeal, articulation ability and passion are some of the attributes that a teacher should possess. If you have a deep passion for teaching, then it is the right career choice for you.

Some hesitate to take up teaching as a career choice because of the package. But thanks to the pay commission, professors usually get salaries that are pretty high by industrial standards. The ascending hierarchy in the teaching field is Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Professor/Reader.

Teaching is a continuous learning process, and it can take you to a completely different academic level if you have the patience, ability and passion to keep your ears and eyes open all the time. When you have a good college teaching experience, it opens up many other options, and some of them are detailed below.

1. Consultancy

Many academic institutes have established their tie-ups with different industries and research organizations through Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) which helps in augmenting faculty research, consultancy and technology exchange programs. You need to have a good experience because then only you will be considered eligible to take up this leap.

A faculty member who decides to do consultancy should:

• Adhere to regulations and rules of institutes and make sure that the work does not disturb your normal teaching.
• Pick those subjects in which you have expertise and interest.
• Create a guideline for pricing (e.g. travel time, teaching, initial meetings) but make sure you are flexible enough.

By taking up a consultancy job, you not only get monetary benefits on top of your salary, but you can accomplish your dream of doing something like your industry counterparts. Many reputed colleges like IITs and private colleges have entered into tie-ups with industries. Nowadays, consultancy has become the independent profession.

Some areas where consultancy opportunities exist are:

  • Technology
  • Finance
  • HR/Career/Recruitment
  • Construction

2. Leading Training Sessions and Seminars

The audience for your teaching skills doesn't have to be college students. Typically, training sessions are held for corporations. You can become a certified trainer and take it up as your career choice. Corporate trainers teach topics people usually don't study in their formal education, including business writing etiquette, communication skills, presentation skills, and public speaking. Academic bodies like ISTD (Indian Society of Training & Development) and XLRI (Jamshedpur) offer these types of certifications.

Before you jump into a profession as a trainer, you must ensure you have:

  • Lots of creativity which you may need to make conversation interesting
  • A mature thought process
  • The spontaneity to deal with any tough problem

You can associate with an institute or also work as a freelancer. Below are some of the main areas where trainers are required:

  • Technology related training
  • On the job training (OJT)
  • Behavioral training
  • Human resources training

3. Research

Research in India is a limited field, but still government bodies encourage youth to take it up as a career choice. Funding agencies in India like AICTE, DAE, TIFR, and UGC are also encouraging the young generation to come forward.

Universities encourage more and more faculty members to take up research, especiallty at those colleges which aim towards upgrading and rejuvenating their faculty resources.

If a new faculty member has decided to take up research activities, he should be able to do the following things:

  • Work in a team
  • Be ready to think beyond the track
  • Work for longer hours
  • Open to the idea of going for higher studies

There are many benefits of taking up research activities. Besides job satisfaction & security, you get research grants apart from your basic salary. IBM has signed a research tie-up with IIT Guwahati.

Some areas where you can do research work are:

  • Medicine, engineering, computer science
  • Finance, management, accounting
  • Classic and ancient history, music, performing arts

Other Career Ideas for College Teachers

As a professor, you could consider starting your own coaching classes. This profession has a great future and seems recession-proof. Nowadays, coaching for engineering entrance examinations is much in demand: coaching classes charge around Rs 3000-5000 per subject and each batch has nearly 75-90 students.

If you don't become a full-time teacher, you can impart education as a part-time or visiting teacher. The salary could vary anywhere between Rs 30,000 to 1 lakh/month. Thanks to the advent of technology, online tutoring is enjoying great prominence these days. You can teach students, sitting in any part of the world, through Skype. Also, you can create different educational videos and sell them over the internet. It is a win-win situation for both students and teachers. This field is highly lucrative because you get the chance to earn in international currency.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


Hemanta Ramchiary on May 30, 2019:

Sir,could I become a lecturer/ professor after completing my Msc. In geography (general) in cotton University?

Shrishti on May 21, 2019:

This can really help me

kunal on May 12, 2019:

this can reaily help me

Simran Rawat on January 29, 2019:

Its really useful thank u so much

Dia on January 22, 2019:

Is it possible to become professor without M.ed in Kerala?

M.Saikia on January 20, 2019:

Is the percentage in Master's degree important for applying a professor's job?

Ravani Suru on December 02, 2018:

This is Amazing Career Line, but How to became India's successful Professor . which is Best Field line in commerce who became proffecer.which is best university for studying Proffecer line in India and Gujarat .

Bharath on December 01, 2018:

Its a nice post to read however i personally feel that the teachers are being paid way too low in an engineering colleges here in Bengaluru. I am working as an assistant professor in one the reputed college and still the pay is incredibly low. The fresh M.Tech grad can get as low as Rs.16,000 to Rs.21,000/- per month in Bengaluru. Right now i have 4 years of experience and getting Rs.29,000/- per month even though i have good academic track record, many publications in hand and very good results (96%) and feedback (98%) from the students. Its the irony of the India that everyone respects the teacher but nobody wants to fight for their salaries. I get a chance to speak to lot of faculties whenever i go to other colleges as external examiner or to some conferences, during a chat, everybody used to say that they regret for choosing this field. We are always motivated for teaching but the way the college management treat us is surely no one could ever imagine. My sincere advise never choos