How to Become an Assistant Professor?

7 minute read
Assistant Professor

If you are looking forward to opting for a lecturership after completing your PhD degree, the first step towards gaining this designation is to become an assistant professor. No matter what your field of expertise is if you have a knack for teaching and simultaneously carrying out the research work, you can easily apply for assistance professorship in academic institutions. Instructing the students in the most effective and innovative ways, preparing daily lessons, delivering the lectures, administrative functions and so on, an assistant professor carries out an array of tasks and responsibilities. Through this blog, we aim to provide a complete career guide on assistant professorship, the job responsibilities it entails as well as the major qualifications you need.

Who is an Assistant Professor?


They are the newly appointed tenure tracks in the universities or colleges who are supposed to carry out the teaching, research work and administrative functions simultaneously. An assistant professor is basically a member of the junior or intermediate academic ranked faculty who are assigned teaching responsibilities by the department head and engage in other scholarly activities beyond teaching such as carrying out research projects.

Job Responsibilities of an Assistant Professor

As mentioned above, an assistant professor has to execute a lot of responsibilities related to academics and research work. Here is a specific list of all the roles and responsibilities that an assistant professor has to perform.

  • Design and implement innovative methods of teaching. 
  • Teach both undergraduate and graduate students who are pursuing their own field of expertise.
  • Prepare daily lessons and targets for the students.
  • Mentor the students with their academic progress.
  • Guide and mentor the research students in their projects.
  • Assess, review and evaluate the progress and activities of the students.
  • Assist or lend a helping hand to the superior professors in performing their duties and functions.
  • Carry out the publishing of the university’s research works in journals and academic books.
  • Develop professional logistics to help the students improve their performances.
  • Support the functional activities of the department.
  • Facilitating a learning environment that encourages the thirst for knowledge. 
  • Communicate productively with all the other departments, schools and units inside the university and its external organizations.   

How to Become an Assistant Professor?

Now that you have already decided to pursue your career as an assistant professor, you must follow a proper educational track in your chosen field of specialization. If you are wondering how to become one, then have a look below.

Undergraduate Degree

The first step towards starting a flourishing career in research and academics is that you need to complete a bachelor’s degree in any discipline with a good percentage or CGPA. Also, for screening candidates for the post of assistant professors, universities majorly prefer those with stronger academic performance.

Graduate Degree

After you earn your bachelor’s degree, you can opt for the specialization you are wanting to pursue in your postgraduation. Generally, the field of specialization closely relates to the majors of your bachelor’s degree. Be careful while choosing a specialization as this shall be a lifetime commitment for you. While pursuing a master’s degree, you must also start preparing for teaching exams like NET JRF if you are planning to take up the job profile of Assistant Professor in India. Further, universities abroad commonly don’t have particular entrance exams but might require you to pursue a doctoral degree from the university itself if you plan to become an assistant professor abroad.

PhD or Doctoral Degree

Upon completion of the master’s degree, you can enter PhD programs which entail rigorous research work and successful completion of the dissertation towards the end of the program. This is the most important step you need to take in order to follow a career as an assistant professor.  

Career Opportunities as an Assistant Professor

Assistant Professors in India are paid INR 50k to INR 70k per month. They can find career opportunities with top universities in India as well as abroad. All Assistant Professors are required to crack the NET (National Eligibility Test) and SET (State Eligibility Test) to apply for different positions at government and private-run universities. Here are some universities in India that hire assistant professors:

  • Delhi University
  • Jawaharlal Nehru University
  • Amity University
  • Jaypee Institute of Information Technology

Top Universities Offering PhD Programs

Since a PhD degree is an essential qualification to become an assistant professor, we have listed down some of the major academic institutions that are renowned for their quality doctoral degree courses:

Best Colleges in India for PhD

  •  Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay
  •  Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi
  • Indian Institute of Technology, Madras
  •  Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
  • Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur
  • University of Delhi, New Delhi
  • University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad
  • Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee
  • Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati

How to become an Assistant Professor in India

YouTube: AJ

Masters Degree

The basic eligibility criteria for becoming an assistant professor in India is a master’s degree in a related field. For instance, if someone aspires to become a teacher for English, then he/she must hold a master’s degree in English with a minimum of 50% marks in order to qualify for the position.

Entrance Exams for Assistant Professor

There are two major entrance exams for assistant professors in India – NET and SET. NET stands for National Eligibility Test and SET stands for State Eligibility Test. The former is conducted for pan-India and qualifies candidates to work at Indian universities and colleges across India while SET is conducted every year for posts at state universities and colleges.  

Skills for an Assistant Professor

The fundamental skills to become an assistant professor in India are teaching aptitude, communication skills, public speaking skills, rich knowledge of the subject matter, and the ability to comprehend and explain concepts to students. They are required to possess patience, empathy, and have a strong aptitude for research in order to excel at their jobs.


Assistant Professors in India are paid INR 50k to INR 70k per month. The salary depends upon a number of factors like subject, college, experience, and skills of the applicant. The salary increases as they are promoted to higher positions like associate professors.


Is there a demand for assistant professors in a college?

Despite there being immense competition to become a professor, the demand for assistant professors in various universities of the world is high. Assistant professors are the first step towards leading to the more developed and educated economy and therefore assistant professors are still in demand.

Professors of what field are most in-demand and earn more?

Throughout the world, law professors are most in-demand and earn a huge amount. They teach different specializations and are extremely in-demand in different countries of the world. Additionally, they are amongst the highest-paid professors amongst all the fields.

Is becoming an assistant professor a good career choice?

Becoming a professor comes with its own set of fascinating challenges and new experiences on a daily basis. Professors are in-demand in every part of the world especially since the shift in focus on education. It is one f the most opted- for professions and although competitive, it opens up a world of opportunities to explore from.

How many hours can an assistant professor expect to work per week?

For an assistant professor, the per week work hours would change based on the level they teach and the research they have undertaken. To become an assistant professor, one can look at working for 3-10 hours per week.

Does it take many years to become an assistant professor?

To become an assistant professor, one has to earn a large number of degrees and therefore it might take longer to become an assistant professor. A traditional bachelor’s degree is to be followed by a master’s and a doctoral degree in the field the person wishes to conduct research in. The duration of study increases with aiming to become an assistant professor.

Thus, we hope that this blog has provided with all the major details on pursuing your career as an assistant professor. If you are looking forward to explore opportunities in academics and research and don’t where to start, reach out to our expert mentors at Leverage Edu and we’ll help you sort your interests and aspirations and make an informed decision towards establishing your career in your chosen field of study. Book your free 30-minute career counselling session with us and add wings to your dreams and take a flight to a sky full of opportunities available.

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