To become a mathematics professor, you should have a formal and extensive education in mathematics with a specialized field of interest in a particular aspect of math, such as algebra, calculus, or geometry. You will likely need a master’s degree or doctorate in mathematics or a specialized area of math to be a professor and teach at a college level. It can often be a requirement for continued employment to publish essays in peer-reviewed journals. Similarly, you may come up with an equation or mathematical principal that changes the way math is performed, or achieve a similar accomplishment to gain prestige and become a mathematics professor.
Though teaching at a public level, such as in primary or secondary education, typically requires only a four-year degree and necessary certification, a higher level of education is usually necessary to work as a mathematics professor. While you may be able to find work with only a master’s degree, many colleges and universities require a PhD for a person to become a professor. The additional education is certainly a heavy investment of time and money, however, if you want to be a professor, you may find better opportunities based on your additional time spent in academia.
Once you have the necessary degrees to become a mathematics professor, you will then have to actually find a position at a college or university. The motto often heard within colleges regarding being a professor is “publish or perish.” This is meant to indicate that for a person to attain a position as a professor and maintain that position toward gaining tenure, he or she is expected to publish in journals and periodicals within his or her field. It can be vitally important to your success as a professor that you are able to contribute something new or fundamentally different to your field.
The college or university that you teach at often uses your success as a watermark to show the level of quality expected from their professors. This means you will not only need to know a great deal about your field of study to become a mathematics professor, but you will also likely be expected to improve upon what others have done before you. All of this is, of course, on top of teaching classes and working with teacher’s assistants to instruct students.