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What is an academic career and how to start one?

Have you been thinking a lot about the  way forward in your professional life ? Have you ever considered an academic career? Well know: this is an excellent job option for those who like to study and have a taste for knowledge. Is this your case?

Just to serve as an appetizer: university professors receive better salaries than basic and fundamental education teachers. Not to mention that they still enjoy more favorable working conditions, with space dedicated to research and extension activities, for example. Are you getting more and more interested?

For these and many other factors, an academic career can be a great path for those who, in order to grow professionally, would like to dedicate themselves continuously to their studies. It sounds like a good idea? Keep reading and understand better!


Understand the different graduate levels

First of all, it is important that you understand that there are different levels of postgraduate education, each with its own value and purpose. Be it a  lato sensu training , in the specialization or MBA modality, for example, or even  stricto sensu , with a master’s and doctorate, all of them can lead you to teaching in the university environment.

It is noteworthy, however, that masters and doctors will always have preference in this professional environment, since masters and doctoral courses have a deeper profile focused on teaching and research. Specialization generally focuses on the job market.

There are indeed some universities (mainly private ones) that hire professors with specialization only. However, if you want to go further and work in the best educational institutions in the country, it is essential that you consider the need to reach higher levels of training — not least because salaries are equivalent to the training of each teacher.

Dedicate yourself to studies constantly

It’s impossible to be a good teacher if you don’t like to study, don’t you agree? If you earn a place at a university as a professor but don’t pursue your studies further, you run the risk not only of falling behind, but of actually losing your job at some point.

In addition, academic professionals are always writing and publishing articles, participating in conferences and seminars, as well as developing research projects and other work with students. To handle all this, it is necessary to prepare. And constant dedication to studies is what allows this to happen.

Participate in academic events

As in any other professional area, here you too need to be seen to be remembered. Only then will it be able to consolidate its space in the field of knowledge to which it is dedicated. In addition, participation in academic events promotes the debate of ideas, promoting the maturation of the works presented and generating new insights.

For  the curriculum  and also for the Lattes platform, the main reference for university professionals, acting in congresses, seminars, symposia and other events counts positively for the researcher’s or professor’s history. In contests to teach at federal universities, for example, points are scored according to the number of events that the professional has participated in, as well as the articles published.

In this sense, to position yourself better professionally when an academic career is your choice, it is essential to integrate yourself into the happenings in the environment.

Build good networking

Nobody goes very far alone, is that right? Specifically in the case of the academic environment, the quality of your contacts can determine how far you will go. In practice, many important studies in different areas start with informal conversations in the corridors that later turn into large projects.

The same happens with exchanges and research for master’s and doctoral degrees abroad. If you develop a relationship with a professor from a foreign institution and he shows interest in your work, you can in the future work together, creating international connections to leverage your careers.

Think that great achievements do not start through bureaucratic and institutional ways, but through contact between people, whether face-to-face or virtual. In this sense, using professional social networks can also be of great value, such as LinkedIn and, specifically aimed at the academic environment.

Know the field you want to work in

The academic career offers ample possibilities for specialization in the most diverse subjects. You can be anything from a hip-hop music researcher to an expert in nanorobotics. It all depends on the areas of knowledge you choose to invest in and how you articulate the knowledge acquired with your work in academia.

In this environment, subjects increasingly discussed are interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity. Simply put, it is about the ability to connect different knowledge in the same work.

Although it is possible to drink from different sources and this is very well regarded in academia, it is important to remember that, professionally, her trajectory cannot be understood as a patchwork quilt. Putting it simply: at some point, people will want to know what you study, what you do and how you can collaborate with the institution. At this point, you will need to give a consistent response.

Thus, if by chance you graduated from a course in  the humanities  and then migrated to the field of health, for example, the ideal is to build a research or study connecting both fields of knowledge. As much as many people migrate from one field to another, those who know how to do so consistently are able to create relevant connections, not getting lost when acting in the market.

Take advantage of the scope that the academy offers to think:

  • if you want to continue studying in your undergraduate area;
  • if you want to migrate to another area, how can you connect it with the knowledge you already have so as not to waste it;
  • about the academic environment of the college where you want to teach;
  • if you have a desire to study abroad, how can your research topic be connected with universities abroad.

In Brazil, working exclusively with research is still a privilege of few areas of knowledge, especially those linked to large industries, such as pharmaceuticals. It is important to consider, therefore, that a master or doctor who remains in the country will probably act as a professor, since the possibilities of only being linked to research are usually limited here.

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