Career Center

University Professor

Career Path: Professor

Your Title:


What You Will Do: 

Professors at a University are typically responsible for teaching, research and service (sometimes 2 out of 3). Professors in this field typically teach undergraduate or graduate level courses within a Personal Financial Planning department or a Human Development and Family Studies (or equivalent) department, and may include courses such as Financial Counseling, Personal/Family Finance, Insurance, Retirement Planning, Investments, etc.

What Knowledge, Skills and Abilities Will Make You Successful: 

  • Teaching: Professors need to be skilled at teaching college students as student feedback on courses is an important factor in evaluations.
  • Research: Research related to Personal Finance needs to be published and presented at industry conferences.
  • Service: Professors serve on a variety of campus-based committees on Boards of Advisors for related non-profit organizations and businesses.

Where You Should Start: 

Typically requires a PhD. Many programs also require the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) certification. An Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC®) certification is not required, but can compliment the knowledge base and experience.

Most professors with a PhD start as an Assistant Professor. If they are tenure track, and receive tenure, then they are promoted to Associate Professor then full Professor (usually given after a significant amount of research has been completed and published and other factors determined by the university, such as securing grant funds).  Here is a list of CFP Board Registered Education Programs, as well as approved AFC University Programs.

Professors work under a Department Chair, who works under a college dean. First line of responsibility is usually to the Department Chair, but professors usually have a fair amount of freedom to pursue agreed-upon goals. About half the Personal Financial Planning departments are found in Business schools, while the other half are found in Human Environmental colleges.

The next level for most academics would be Department Chair or Dean.

Your Salary Potential:

While data is not available just for professors in Personal Financial Planning departments, professors across the board earn the following:

Assistant Professor: $64,414
Associate Professor: $74,473
Professor: $95,224

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