Teachers vs Professors


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Many students interchange the terms 'professor' and 'teacher' without thinking about what separates the terms from each other. In simple terms, professors are university or college instructors who have a doctoral-level education.

Having achieved the highest level of education, they have earned the title of 'Dr.' or 'Professor.' Teachers can also teach at the college level. They have to be a specialist in their field and have a Master's degree.

Only those with a PhD or EdD are referred to as 'Doctor' or 'Professor.' The job of being a teacher or professor has similar educational elements. There are also differences. Read on to learn more about the difference between a professor and teacher.

The job of being a teacher is the progress of students' overall well-being. Professors give career advice and perform research for publication. Professors and teachers are both jobs in pedagogy. Classroom instruction is a primary focus of teachers in high school and below.

Teachers vs. Professors

Professors are mainly college or university educators. College professors have more freedom in what they teach. They do not usually have back-to-back classes, which provides more time for office hours. The schedule of a teacher in an elementary, middle, or high school is much tighter. There is not as much time to make appointments to discuss questions or problems with students.


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The Primary Differences in Salary, Qualifications, and Jobs for a Professor vs. Teacher

There are differences in salary, qualifications, and tasks. Both are engaged in disseminating knowledge to others and are expected to guide their students. A professor is an expert in a teaching institution. He or she has attended the highest academic rank. Teachers provide instruction irrespective of an institution's level. They teach at both the school and college level.

Professors and teachers are qualified professionals responsible for teaching management. Teachers may work as probationary educators where a professor receives tenure and becomes a full-time faculty member.

Professors and teachers have an essential role in guiding the minds of young people and turning them into decent human beings. Regardless of their differences, professors and teachers care about their students and enjoy their job. They are devoted to helping young people learn.

What Are the Main Differences Between a Teacher and Professor?

One of the primary differences between a professor and teacher is the education level. A professor has a higher level of education. He or she attained a Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, and Doctorate while convincing an academician jury that he or she deserves to be recognized as a professor based on his or her contributions to the field. Because they teach university students who can interrogate and conceptualize different scenarios, professors need a high level of education. Teacher requirements are only a Bachelor’s degree.

A professor and teacher work in different types of institutions. Teachers primarily work in elementary, middle, or high schools. Their fundamental task is to pass knowledge to young students and ensure they receive an explanation of the importance of learning. Professors pass knowledge and skills to students at universities and colleges. Knowledge is advanced and specialized. Primary level teachers interact with children who experience homesickness or loneliness after separation from their parents. Interaction for all teachers is geared toward explaining the importance of learning. The interaction with high school students reduces to a moderate level. Professors have little or no interaction with students at the college or university level. Professors give instructions, and students comply.

The level of research teachers and professors conduct is a point that expresses the difference in the two professions. Conducting a specific number of primary and secondary research is a requirement of professors. They must provide specific research knowledge to their field before they are recognized as professors. Professors have to guide students and supervise them when conducting the primary and secondary research. Teachers are not required to do research. A meaningful difference between a professor and teacher is the salary and compensation received. Based on the expectations and work, professors and teachers receive different benefits and wages. Teachers receive an average to moderate salaries in accordance per an agreement with the employer. Professors receive higher salaries in addition to specific benefits as the highest-ranking employees in the college or university.

Jobs and Careers as a Professor

The U.S. Bureau of Statistics noted job opportunities are expected to grow at a rate of 11 percent from 2018 to 2028 for postsecondary instructors. The best prospects are for those who hold a PhD and willing to work on short-term contracts or part-time. College professor earnings vary depending on the specialty. It takes time for a professor to establish the credentials leading to tenure. College professors are responsible for organizing and conducting higher education functions. They engage in various activities, from supervising graduate student research and running laboratory experiments to writing textbooks and conducting large undergraduate lectures.

Scheduled classes consume three to 16 hours per week. Time is spent mainly on meeting students, preparing materials, and research. Professors choose how to spend most of their time. Self-starters are best suited for the profession. The highest rewards go to those who explore and identify original problems in their field. Security and professional freedom are relatively high for tenured professors. Tenured professors can mostly choose their responsibilities and decide how to divide their time between administration, research, writing, and teaching. Tenure is no longer equated with complete immunity.

Most universities now mandate post-tenure reviews. The early years are the most difficult for professors. There is a significant amount of pressure to publish a body of work that establishes the credentials leading to tenure. Fifty percent of PhD holders work at academic institutions. Many work in lucrative jobs in the private sector. Academic marketability is determined by the specific needs for the expertise of a university. When tenure is established, professors have the most considerable freedom to teach, write, and say what they wish. Few tenured professors leave their professions. They are extremely satisfied with their jobs. Those who do leave typically move to influential government positions or lucrative positions in private enterprise.

Differences in Educational Requirements and Best Degrees for Each

The average number of units or credits needed for an EdD is 60. For a PhD the average number of units or credits is 90. Common learning objectives that are embedded in an EdD education curriculum are to develop the ability to advocate for social justice and to identify and eradicate discrimination, training to view situations from different perspectives, and applying theory to educational problem-solving. Some programs give credit to students who have earned a Master’s degree.

PhD coursework varies from one program to another. It is meant to provide candidates the opportunity to specialize in a field of interest. Classes cover areas of a subject as well as tools needed to do research and use the scientific method, statistics, and theory when working with data. As part of earning the degree, candidates conduct projects, research, experiments, and a dissertation of their own. A PhD program requires four to six years to complete. A thesis or dissertation is required to achieve candidacy.

Education provides new scientific discoveries, job readiness, and maturity and emotional well-being that makes us who we are. Educators seeking a doctoral degree are ready to boost their impact. They may want to take on a leadership role, enable a move in a work setting, or drive better results for an organization. Some are naturally curious and wish to advance knowledge through research in a field. All of this is possible with an educational doctorate.

An EdD program is shorter and is not tied to research objectives. The degree provides educational expertise for work in a wide variety of educational settings, such as business or healthcare, public schools, or a specific teaching position. PhD in Education programs are research degrees. The central aim of the program is to prepare candidates to teach at the university level. The programs also seek to create environments in which candidates can add to the knowledge base of a field and perform research.

Difference in Salaries and Careers

EdD and PhD salaries are comparable (average between $78,000 and $79,000). They depend on the career path chosen. Both a PhD and EdD qualify professionals for careers such as a superintendent or school principal in the public school system. They also qualify for careers as chancellors, deans, or professors in higher education. An EdD salary depends on the job. School administrators are not typically paid as much as college administrators. Superintendents earn more than principals. The salary of a PhD is less than a dean or department chair. Researchers typically make more in the private sector than public education. Having an EdD or PhD is not the deciding factor when it comes to salary.

The real determination is based on specialization and the job. Settling the dispute as to which degree is better comes down to what one wants to do with the degree. Both degrees are of value to professionals wishing to be leaders in education. One’s personal career goals determine which is a better fit. EdD graduates become strategists and leaders in the field of education. Career choices are often school district officials, provost, deans, and superintendents. PhD graduates are more tailored to preparing the next generation for research and instructional roles. Either degree is acceptable for all of the above career choices. EdD holders are more focused on strategy and the broader scope of an educational institution or organization. A PhD holder often serves as a researcher, an instructor, or a professor.