How to become an assistant professor

Professors play a very important role in shaping the career of a student. It all starts by starting out as an Assistant Professor. If you are exploring ways to become part of an academic scenario as a Professor, we have answers for “How to become an Assistant Professor in India?”.

They get to simultaneously carry out research work and be part of an academic setup.  

Like every career path, being an Assitant Professor has ups and downs and unique responsibilities. Their daily schedules revolve around students which can be stressful and also enjoyable in students’ company.

In this article, you can find all the details needed to become an Assistant professor in India, including assistant professor qualifications, roles and responsibilities, salary, pros and cons, etc.

Who is an Assistant Professor?

An Assitant Professor is a position in the academic hierarchy with the responsibility to teach students in Colleges, Universities, and Research Institutions.

They rank below Associate Professors and are the first point of entry into academics.  The typical down-up hierarchy is Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and a Professor. It generally takes more than 7 years to reach the position of Professor. 

Skills Required to Become an Assistant Professor 

    • Strong Communication and Interpersonal skills

    • Excellent research and writing skills

    • Patience and empathy

    • Ability to teach and engage with students

    • Subject matter expertise and specialization

    • Public speaking skills

    • Ability to research and good observation

    • Comprehend new topics and subjects to teach students

    • Be upto date with subject specialization

Roles and Responsibilities of an Assistant Professor

    • Teach undergraduate and graduate students in their academic courses.

    • Prepare daily teaching material and schedules for respective classes.

    • Assist students in their academic progress.

    • Design and implement different teaching methods.

    • Facilitate a learning atmosphere to encourage students

    • Support the departmental activities and smooth functioning.

    • Mentor students in their research projects.

    • Evaluate the performance of students. 

    • Assist superiors in performing departmental duties and functions. 

    • Publish research works in university journals and academic portals. 

    • Establish and maintain good communication with industry peers. 

Eligibility to Become an Assistant Professor 

An aspirant must meet certain eligibility for assistant professor in India. They are

    • Passed 12th or +2 in science, commerce, and arts stream. 

    • Engineering diplomas are also eligible. 

    • Entrance exam for Bachelor’s program (few specializations).

    • Bachelor’s program in any of the specializations.

    • Entrance exams for the Master’s program (few specializations).

    • Master’s program in the respective specialization. 

    • Take up and clear the UGC-NET examination conducted by National Testing Agency and University Grants Commission. 

    • PhD for additional research specialization.

How To Become an Assistant Professor In India? A Step-by-Step Guide

Here is a step-by-step guide to becoming an Assistant professor in an Indian Education and Research Institution. 

    1. After completing 10th standard, take up Science, Commerce, or Arts stream based on your area of interest. 
    2. Complete the +2 or 12th standard with a good academic record. 
    3. Enroll for a bachelor’s program based on the academic stream in the 12th standard. 
    4. Some Undergraduate courses provide admission only after clearing or getting a higher ranking in the entrance exams. The common entrance exams are JEE mains and advanced, NATA, CET, etc. 
    5. Completed the Bachelor’s program with a good academic record.
    6. A Master’s degree is a must to become an Assistant Professor. Enrol in a Master’s program to specialize in a subject of your academic line. 
    7. Some Masters’s programs require clearing entrance exams. The common exams are PGCET, GATE, etc. 
    8. Candidates must clear the Master’s program and appear for the UGC-NET examination. 
    9. UGC-NET is conducted by the University Grants Commission and National Testing Agency for gaining eligibility to become an Assistant Professor. 

Assistant Professor Salary in India

The average salary of an Assistant Professor in India is 3.8 LPA. The entry-level salary of Assitant professors is 3 LPA to 6 LPA.

The salary of an Assistant Professor widely depends on their subject expertise, specialization, public or private organization, etc. Their salary can go upto 10 LPA for technology, agriculture, biotechnology, microbiology, quantum physics, and many high-profile specializations. 

Pros and Cons

Pros of Becoming an Assistant Professor

    • Freedom to pursue research 

    • Joy of teaching

    • Flexible and convenient work hours

    • Highly respected career

    • Job security

Cons of Becoming an Assistant Professor

    • High competition

    • Need more academic accomplishments

    • Slow career progression

    • Low salaries in entry-level


    • An Assistant Professor to teach students in higher education institutions. They develop teaching schedules and work around students.

    • Being an Assistant professor is a highly respected role and provides job satisfaction and security as well. 

    • Multiple degrees need to be studied to be eligible to become an Assistant Professor and it may take upto 10 years to become to be employed.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, a PhD is not mandatory to become an Assistant professor. However, some institutions prefer to employ candidates who are pursuing or completed a PhD.

There is no age limit to become an Assitant professor. However, setting age limitations is at the discretion of prospective employers like union and state governments, private universities, colleges, etc.

Though there is no significant distinction between the work of an  Assistant Professor and an Associate professor. However, Associate Professors have more work experience and have secured tenures with the institution.

Yes, the UGC-NET exam is mandatory for an Assistant professor. They must clear the examination to be eligible for the designation of Assistant Professor.

No, it is not easy to become an Assistant professor in India. It takes 6 to 10 years of academic approach to finding employment as an Assistant professor.

PhD is not mandatory for an Assistant Professor. However, enrolling or completing the Doctoral program is recommended.

There are no fixed academic degrees to pursue to become an Assistant Professor. Candidates are employed in their respective dreams such as Engineering, Science, Commerce, Arts, etc.

To know more on how to become an assistant professor in India, read the article above.

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