What Do You Call Teachers in College


What Do You Call Teachers in College?

When it comes to addressing teachers in college, the terminology can vary depending on the region and the specific educational institution. Unlike the more universally known titles like “Mr.” or “Mrs.” used in primary and secondary schools, college instructors often have various designations. In this article, we will explore the different names used to address college teachers and provide answers to frequently asked questions regarding this topic.

1. Professor:
In many colleges and universities, instructors with a doctoral degree or extensive teaching experience are referred to as “professors.” They are often the most senior and respected members of the faculty. This title is usually used to address individuals who hold a professorship, which is a permanent position granted by the institution.

2. Doctor:
Teachers who have earned a doctoral degree but do not hold a professorship are often addressed as “doctor.” This title is commonly used for individuals who have completed a Ph.D. or other doctoral programs in their respective fields. It is important to note that not all college instructors with a doctorate have the title of “professor.”

3. Instructor:
Many colleges and universities use the term “instructor” to refer to teachers who do not hold a doctoral degree. These individuals may have a master’s degree or extensive professional experience in their field. The title “instructor” is often used for adjunct faculty members or those who are not on a tenure track.

4. Adjunct Professor:
An adjunct professor is a part-time faculty member who does not have a permanent position at the institution. They are usually hired on a contractual basis and may have other professional commitments outside of teaching. Adjunct professors often have expertise in a specific subject area and bring real-world experience to the classroom.

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5. Lecturer:
The title “lecturer” is commonly used for individuals who primarily teach but do not have a research focus. Lecturers may have a master’s degree or a doctorate, but their primary responsibility is delivering lectures and facilitating discussions. They are often hired on a contractual or temporary basis.

6. Assistant Professor/Associate Professor/Full Professor:
These titles are typically associated with faculty members who are on a tenure track. Assistant professors are early-career faculty members who have completed their doctoral degrees and are working toward the achievement of tenure. Associate professors have typically achieved tenure or are in the process of doing so. Full professors have earned tenure and are recognized as senior members of the faculty.


Q: Can I call all college teachers “professor”?
A: It is generally acceptable to address all college teachers as “professor” as a sign of respect. However, it is best to use the specific titles they hold, such as “doctor” or “instructor,” if you are aware of them.

Q: How do I know which title to use?
A: You can usually find information about a college instructor’s title on their syllabus, the institution’s website, or by asking them directly. If in doubt, using “professor” or “doctor” is a safe choice.

Q: Can I call a college teacher by their first name?
A: Addressing college teachers by their first name is becoming increasingly common and acceptable in many educational institutions. However, it is always best to use the title preferred by the instructor or adhere to any specific guidelines provided by the institution.

Q: Are there any differences in titles between universities and community colleges?
A: The naming conventions for college teachers can vary between universities and community colleges. While universities often have a more diverse range of titles, community colleges commonly use titles such as “professor” and “instructor” for their faculty members.

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Q: Do all college teachers have a doctoral degree?
A: Not all college teachers have a doctoral degree. Many instructors have a master’s degree or extensive professional experience in their field, making them qualified to teach specialized subjects.

In conclusion, the titles used to address college teachers can vary depending on the institution and the individual’s qualifications. While “professor” and “doctor” are commonly used, other titles like “instructor” and “lecturer” are also prevalent. It is always best to use the specific title preferred by the instructor or follow any guidelines provided by the institution to ensure respectful communication within the college environment.