The University Teaching Ladder--How Does it Work?


I'm considering becoming a nurse educator and was looking at some position openings in order to get an idea of what's available. I noticed that there were positions for: instructor, assistant professor, associate professor, professor. What are the differences between these positions, and what will qualify you for the advanced ones? How long does it take to become a full professor? Thanks!

Specializes in OB, NICU, Nursing Education (academic).

It will differ from school to school. Where I am, you are instructor level for at least 2 years, before being considered for promotion to assistant professor. You must have an MSN (again, this is at our school) to be promoted to assistant professor. Then there is a period of at least 5 years at assistant professor level before being considered for promotion to associate professor. Promotion will depend on positive evaluations. Another 5 years, before consideration for full professor status. Full professors must have their terminal degree. Add it all up, and it would take a minimum of 12 years to become a full professor where I work (assuming that you are starting out with no teaching experience at all).

Like I said, though, it will differ from place to place.


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Tht sounds about right. At the state uni where I interviewed for a clinical instructor position, it was very much the same as you describe. BSN with 30 continuing education units in nursing education was the minimum for clinical instructor, masters with same or MSN specifically in nursing ed for classroom instructor. Tenure went with associate professor status. I think things are different at research universities to some degree where publishing is more highly emphasized.

I ended up turning the job down b/c I couldn't afford the pay cut. The only bonus was free tuition for my kids, none of whom want to go to that school so I needed more money to send them where thy do want to go, lol.

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