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University Professor

University professors are employed by degree-granting schools such as universities and colleges. They focus on teaching and service to their school, as well as their own research and professional practice.

  • Avg. Salary $84,845.00
  • Avg. Wage $50.63
  • Minimum Education 8+ years post-secondary
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 5,900
  • In Demand High
Also Known As

Educator, Instructor, Lecturer, Professor, Research Scientist

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: University Professors (4121) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: University Professors (E111) 
  • 2011 NOC: University professors and lecturers (4011) 
  • 2016 NOC: University professors and lecturers (4011) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest Codes
The University Professor is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
University Professors

Interest in synthesizing information to advance existing knowledge and develop new theories in specialized fields of study by conducting research; in publishing findings in scholarly journals and books, developing curricula and in preparing examinations, laboratory assignments and reports


Interest in advising on research matters and directing research programs of graduate students, in advising students on course and academic matters and career decisions, and in administering and grading examinations, laboratory assignments and reports; may serve on faculty committees dealing with matters such as curriculum planning and degree requirements and perform a variety of administrative duties


Interest in instructing undergraduate and graduate students; may provide consulting services to government, industry and private individuals; may represent their universities as speakers and guest lecturers

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Mar 31, 2020

University professors are scholars and educators recognized for their teaching and research, as well as their creative or professional practice. They are evaluated regularly on their performance and output. University professor duties vary, but in general, they:

  • Plan and teach university courses, which includes preparing, administering and marking student assignments and examinations
  • Create or perform works of art, or conduct research studies
  • Present their work in peer-reviewed venues such as journals, books and galleries
  • Advise and mentor students regarding course and academic matters
  • Supervise graduate students
  • Represent their universities as speakers, guest lecturers, consultants and resource personnel
  • Participate in university governance, which may include curriculum revision, academic planning, degree requirements and faculty matters
  • Organize and co-ordinate curriculum and course schedules

Professors also may have other duties. For example, they may advise students about academic requirements and options. Or they may serve as peer evaluators for research outside of their own institution.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Depending on their field of study, professors work in offices, laboratories, studios, libraries or classrooms, or in the field. A professor may teach large classes, work with small groups in seminars and tutorials, or advise students one-on-one. They also may work with a wide range of academic and non-academic groups.

Professors work long hours when classes are in session, as teaching and supervision require a lot of time. They must be productive in their research or professional activities. They also must serve their departments, institutions, academic field and communities. Typically, universities grant professors research and study leaves (sabbaticals) to assist in their research or practice.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2020

University professors need:

  • A passion for learning and for sharing their knowledge with others
  • An aptitude for research, scholarship, or creative or professional practice in their discipline
  • Critical-thinking skills
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, including the ability to present complex, in-depth materials at their students’ level
  • Project and personnel management skills

They should enjoy finding innovative ways to prepare teaching materials. They also should enjoy supervising students, evaluating their progress and helping others.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Almost all university professors have doctoral degrees. They usually hold 2 or more advanced degrees beyond the bachelor’s level, often obtained with distinction. They often have made outstanding and innovative contributions in their fields of study.

Students hoping to become university professors should have records of academic excellence throughout high school, undergraduate and graduate programs (often honours programs). Most professors start as assistant professors. So by the time they become professors, they usually have work experience in their fields.

They also need to have a strong record of research and publishing.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Concordia University of Edmonton

University of Alberta

University of Waterloo - School of Optometry

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Becoming a university professor can involve years of study and experience in a chosen field. Graduates often must move from one post-secondary school to another to find permanent employment.

Assistant professors, associate professors and full professors have similar duties. But they have different amounts of experience and achievement, prestige and responsibility. A professor typically begins as an assistant. Within 3 to 5 years of full-time work, they are considered for tenure (permanent status). This means they have shown their potential to have a long and productive career. Their promotion to associate or full professorship involves a rigorous review of their accomplishments. This will be conducted by peers within the department and university, as well as outside the university.

With experience, university professors may:

  • Be appointed to sit on various committees or assume a position as chair or department head
  • Work as consultants for government, industry or private businesses
  • Move into senior administrative academic positions such as dean of a faculty, or vice-president or president of a university

In Alberta, most people employed as university professors work in the Educational Services [pdf] industry.

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Trends and events affecting overall employment, especially in the Educational Services industry
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the 4011: University professors and lecturers occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.7% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 97 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the 97 new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Funding for some areas of research over others heavily influences employment for university professors. For example, if funders consider one area of research, such as environmental science, more essential to public knowledge than others, they will provide more funding for research in this area. This means more positions for university professors.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Salaries for entry-level university positions vary with:

  • Personal qualifications
  • Academic qualifications
  • Administrative responsibilities
  • The faculty and the university
  • The applicant’s research and publication record
University professors and lecturers

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $0.00 $0.00 $38.30 $36.96
Overall $0.00 $0.00 $50.63 $54.72
Top $0.00 $0.00 $56.50 $59.83

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

D: Lowest Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lowest Reliability, represents a CV of more than 33.00% and/or if fewer than 10 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 25% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Educational Services

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
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  • Mathematics
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  • Social Sciences, Law and Religious Studies
  • Social, Community and Protective Services
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Association of Academic Staff University of Alberta (AASUA) website:

Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) website:

Confederation of Alberta Faculty Associations (CAFA) website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2020. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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