Daniel Beckman is a professor at Missouri State University in Springfield.
Top 50 rank: 3
What they do: Teach and grade papers, of course. But profs also spend about half their time doing research and writing articles and books about their field.
Why it's great: For starters, major scheduling freedom. "Besides teaching and office hours, I get to decide where, when, and how I get my work done," says Daniel Beckman, a biology professor at Missouri State University. And that doesn't even take into account ample time off for holidays and a reduced workload in the summer.
Competition for tenure-track positions at four-year institutions is intense, but you'll find lots of available positions at community colleges and professional programs, where you can enter the professoriate as an adjunct faculty member or non-tenure track instructor without a doctorate degree. That's particularly true during economic downturns, when laid-off workers often head back to school for additional training.
More valuable perks: reduced or free tuition for family members and free access to college gyms and libraries.
Drawbacks: Low starting pay and a big 50% salary gap between faculty at universities and community colleges. If the position is at a four-year university, you'll probably have to relocate, and you'll be under pressure to constantly publish new work to sustain career momentum.
How to get it: For a tenure track position, you'll need a Ph.D. But all colleges want at least a master's degree and prefer plenty of teaching experience.
Do College Professors have great jobs, or what?
College Professor stats
|Job title||Best Jobs rank|
|Telecommunications Network Engineer||30|
|Personal Financial Advisor||N.A.|