Nathan Lonneman

A Career as a College Professor

Career Goal- Biological College Professor


University and college teachers teach classes, conduct research, and write papers.

University and college teachers are also called faculty. They are usually organized into departments based on their subject or field.

Most faculty members teach several courses each term. They may teach undergraduate or graduate students, or both. They may give lectures to several hundred students in large lecture halls. They may also lead small seminars or supervise students in laboratories.

Faculty give lectures, lead discussions, and answer student questions. They prepare lectures, exams, and assignments. They develop classroom exercises or lab experiments. They also grade exams and papers. Faculty with large lecture classes may assign grading of exams to teaching assistants. Faculty advise students about what courses to take. Many supervise the teaching and research of graduate students.

In addition to their teaching duties, faculty must keep up with developments in their field. They read current literature and discuss it with other faculty. They attend professional conferences, and sometimes present their own work.

Faculty do research to expand knowledge in their field. They conduct experiments and collect and analyze data. They publish their findings in academic journals and books. They also use these findings to update the content of their courses.

Faculty may post course content and schedules on the Internet, and have contact with students via email. Increasingly, student assignments are collected via email or software that guards against plagiarism. Faculty often integrate social media into their classrooms and lectures.

Faculty also have administrative duties. Most serve on committees that deal with college policy or department matters. Other committees deal with academic issues, budgets, or hiring. Some faculty members work with student groups.

Some faculty are hired as non-tenure track, meaning they are hired for instructional purposes only. These individuals usually teach more courses per academic year but have limited administrative duties.

Career Skills and Interests


  • Express ideas clearly when speaking or writing.
  • Read and understand written information.
  • Listen to others, understand, and ask questions.

Reason and Problem Solve

  • Analyze ideas and use logic to determine their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Combine several pieces of information and draw conclusions.
  • Use reasoning to discover answers to problems.
  • Understand new information or materials by studying and working with them.
  • Identify problems and review information. Develop, review, and apply solutions.
  • Judge the costs and benefits of a possible action.
  • Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong.
  • Develop rules or follow guidelines for arranging items.
  • Think of new ideas or original and creative ways to solve problems.
  • Identify ways to measure and improve system performance.
  • Determine how a system should work. Study how changes in conditions affect outcomes.
  • Concentrate and not be distracted while performing a task.
  • Remember information such as words, numbers, pictures, and procedures.

Use Math and Science

  • Use math and science skills to solve problems.
  • Add, subtract, multiply, and divide quickly and correctly.

Manage Oneself, People, Time, and Things

  • Check how well one is learning or doing something.
  • Manage the time of self and others.
  • Motivate, develop, and direct people as they work.
  • Go back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information without becoming confused.

Work with People

  • Teach others how to do something using several methods.
  • Be aware of others' reactions and change behavior in relation to them.
  • Look for ways to help people.
  • Persuade others to approach things differently.
  • Solve problems by bringing others together to discuss differences.

Perceive and Visualize

  • Identify a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in distracting material.

Career Working Conditions

Interpersonal Relationships

  • Have a high level of social contact with students and other faculty.
  • Are somewhat responsible for the work outcomes of graduate students, especially teachers in science fields.
  • Are sometimes placed in conflict situations in which students may be upset over a grade.
  • Speak in front of large groups of people on a daily basis.
  • Communicate with students and other faculty daily by telephone, e-mail, or in person.
  • Write letters and memos on a weekly basis.
  • Work in a group or as part of a team.

Physical Work Conditions

  • Nearly always work indoors.
  • May sometimes wear safety attire when exposed to contaminants or hazardous conditions. This is true for chemistry teachers and a few others who work with chemicals.
  • Work somewhat close to other people, such as when sharing office space.

Work Performance

  • Must be sure their work is exact. Errors in research could lead to incorrect results.
  • Often make decisions that affect the reputation of the university or college. They rarely consult a supervisor before making a decision.
  • Rarely consult a supervisor before setting tasks and goals for the day.
  • Are moderately competitive with other faculty and universities or colleges.
  • Repeat the same physical and mental tasks, such as grading.


  • Generally have a set schedule each week.
  • May work part time or full time, but most work more than 40 hours a week.
  • May work irregular hours, such as when teaching evening or weekend classes. This is usually true only for two-year college teachers.

Career Wages and Outlook

Depending on how long professors and teachers have been at the college their wages differ as do the wages for different fields of study. However the median for Biological Science professors is $74,840/year. Many teachers also make additional money by conducting research, writing and publishing papers, and teaching additional classes.

Most full-time faculty receive benefits. These include sick leave, health insurance, and a retirement plan. In addition, most faculty receive some unique benefits. They may have summers and school holidays off. They have access to campus facilities and tuition waivers for their dependents. They also receive travel allowances and paid sabbatical leaves. Part-time faculty usually receive fewer benefits.

Career Related Occupations

Program of Study- Biological Sciences, General


Programs in general biological sciences teach people about living things and their life processes.

These programs include topics such as:

  • Evolution of organisms
    •Cell biology
    •Laboratory science
    •Human biology
  • Program Admission

    You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

    Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

  • English Composition
    •Advanced Biology courses
    •Probability and Statistics
  • Typical Course Work

    A bachelor's degree program in biological sciences, general, typically requires that you study courses such as the following:

  • Applied Calculus
    •Cellular and Molecular Biology
    •Elements of Physics
    •English Composition
    •General Biology
    •General Chemistry
    •Introduction to Physiology
    •Organic Chemistry
  • College Choice

    University of Minnesota- Twin Cities

    College Info

    • Size and Location - The Twin Cities, with 51,853 students
    • Admission Requirements - ACT average: 22. Most students are in the top 50% of their class
    • College Expenses - $17728 total
    • Financial Aid - Grants and Scholarships - FAFSA/SAR. College of Science. There are many scholarships available.
    • Housing - Dorms or Apartments - Room and Board or Off Campus Housing
    • Activities - Baseball, Football, ASME, ASCE, Chemistry Club. There are many activities and clubs available.

    Informational Interview

    1. I enjoyed the intierview very much, he was very friendly but also very knowledgeable. He explained many things about the job and he did it in a way that was easy to understand. The interview was very relaxed but it was also very engaging for both of us.

    2. What did you learn in the interview?

    I learned that becoming a professor is a lot of work but it does pay off.

    3. What did you like? What didn't you like?

    I liked that they get to travel and they get to set their own work, but I don't like that they have to do a lot of paper work and committee service.

    4. Did you uncover concerns or advantages to this occupation?

    I enjoy that they get to travel, but they also have to serve on committees and they don't get paid overtime.

    5. What advice did you receive?

    He told me I was pretty sharp and that I will figure it out!

    6. Did you discover another occupation to explore?

    I might be a good history professor or I could not teach and just be someone who is in the main work force like a chemist or biochemical engineer.

    7.How was the work environment?

    It was good, but I will have a better knowledge of what a university is actually like when I go there.

    8.Do you think you would be happy in this occupation?

    Yes, I think it's a very real possibility but I'm still considering my options.

    Plans to Reach My Goal

    Internships and job shadowing would both be great ways to gain hands-on experience and see how the average day of a professor goes. It would also help in learning how to teach efficiently.