Is “Professor” a higher title than “Doctor”? (4 Common Myths)

The title Professor is mostly confused with the title Doctor by many of the people. But in reality, both of the titles are a lot more different from each other. As there are a lot of myths related to both of the titles, it is important to burst out the myths related to these titles. Thus here we will be discussing more on is “professor” a higher title than “Doctor” and other related myths.

Quick Takeaways

  • Professor and doctor are different titles and thus there is no higher or lower rank between them.
  • You can become a professor on the basis of your experience and you will have a vast knowledge of the subject you are studying.
  • When you have a doctoral degree, you will have a deep knowledge related the a particular field of study. 
  • Both the professor and the doctor have their own benefits and thus which one you should go for will depend upon yourself. 
  • You can also become a professor and get a doctoral degree at the same time. 

However, if you are interested in knowing more about it, you must read till the end so that you get a better understanding of whether the professor has a higher title than the doctor or not.

Is “Professor” a higher title than “Doctor”? (4 Common Myths)

Is “Professor” a higher title than “Doctor”?

One of the common confusions between the professor and the doctor is that the Professor has a higher title than the Doctor. Everyone has their own opinion about this debatable topic. Some consider Professor a higher title and others consider doctor as a higher title. The reason behind it is that having a doctoral degree is the highest academic degree to achieve. But if we go in deep, we can not compare both the tiles as both of them are high titles in their own way. The title ‘Doctor’ is received by the people who have done their doctorate degree. Thus if you have completed your doctorate degree you will be considered as a Doctor.

Whereas a professor is the one who teaches you in college or the university irrespective of the degree they have. In short, we can say that neither of the titles is higher or lower. It only shows different roles and accomplishments within academia. However still many people have a lot of confusion about both titles. Therefore further we have discussed some of the common myths related to the titles of professor and the doctor. 

What are some of the myths related to doctors and titles?

Is “Professor” a higher title than “Doctor”? (4 Common Myths)

Following are some of the common myths related to professor and doctor titles-

1. A title doctor is more prestigious than a professor

Many believe that the title doctor is more prestigious than the professor. But in reality, both titles are respected equally. Sometimes a professor may have done great research, publications, etc. which makes them more prestigious. The same is the case for doctors. We can say that getting both titles is equally good and thus both are prestigious in their own ways.

2. You need to have a doctorate to become a professor

Another common myth that most people think is that you will need to have a doctorate degree to become a professor.  But the truth is you do not need a doctorate degree to become a professor . Although most of the professors will have a doctorate degree, there are many other paths by which you can become a professor. 

One of the most common ways is by earning a master’s degree and gaining high experience in teaching. Having a great experience will increase your chances of getting appointed as a professor. There are many people who are appointed as a professor based on their experiences.

3. Doctors earn more than professors

Is “Professor” a higher title than “Doctor”? (4 Common Myths)

Again it is a controversial topic as it will depend upon the context you are comparing. If you are comparing doctors in the field of treating someone or are referring in the context of medicine or law then they will be earning more. Whereas if we talk about professors they may earn more than doctors if they are at a higher level of administration.

Further, an important thing that you should consider is that the salaries for professors and doctors can be influenced by a number of factors like the area of living, type of institutions, etc. Thus it is hard to compare the salaries of both of them. 

4. You can not be both a professor and doctor in medicine

The confusion between the opinions of the people gives emerge to myths. The greatest confusion between professors and doctors comes when they talk in reference to the medical field. Most people think that you cannot be both in the field of both. There are many medical professionals who are working in the field of medical academics. The important fact that you must remember is that not all doctors are professors and not all professors are doctors.

5. Doctors are more respected than the professors

Is “Professor” a higher title than “Doctor”? (4 Common Myths)

Again this is completely a myth and which title will get more context will depend upon the context in which you are comparing. In most cases, doctors will be highly respected for their expertise in the field of medicine. On the other hand, professors may get more respect, especially in the fields like literature, history, etc. Thus we can say that both are highly respected in their own fields. 

If a professor is not having a doctorate degree, will he/she still be an expert in the chosen field?

Being a professor means teaching the students at a higher level. It means that they are all already experts in the fields they are teaching. Although having a doctorate degree means a high level of expertise in a particular subject, it is not only the factor that shows the expert level. Many professors who do not have doctoral degrees have strong records of publications and thus are experts in their fields. 

What are the benefits of earning a doctor’s title?

The following are the benefits of earning a doctoral degree-

  • You will get more expertise in a particular field which will bring new opportunities for you.
  • As you have done the highest academic degree, the chances of earning more will increase.
  • There will be more improvement in your problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.
Is “Professor” a higher title than “Doctor”? (4 Common Myths)

What are the advantages of earning the professor title?

Following are the benefits you will be getting when you on the professor title-

  • You can get the opportunity to teach and mentor the students of higher education.
  • The opportunity for conducting research will increase which will further vast your knowledge of the specific field. 
  • There is job security and thus you will not need to worry about your career anymore.
  • You will get self-satisfaction as becoming a professor is very hard and not all can do it.

Do doctors and professors need to have published research?

Both professions need to be involved in some kind of research project. The main difference between both of them is the type of research they need to be a part of. If we talk about a person pursuing a doctoral degree, he/she will need to be in a research where they will have to do research by themselves. It means that they have to collect the primary data and have to work according to it. However, on the other hand, if we talk about being a professor you will need to be in a research project where you will need to collect the data already available. Based on the date available you will need to do your research projects.

Is “Professor” a higher title than “Doctor”? (4 Common Myths)


Many people have a great confusion regarding the professor and the doctor titles. The biggest question regarding it is whether “Professor” is a higher title than “Doctor” or not. There is no doubt that the doctor title is the highest rank in the academic degree, but it does not mean that one of them is a higher or lower title. It implies that if you think that doctor is a more prestigious title than the professor then you are wrong.

Also if we talk about the earnings of the doctor and the professor then it will depend upon the person and also where you are placed as a professor. Getting both of the titles has their own benefits and thus you can choose any of the professions according to your own choices. Thus we can say that both of the titles are equal and thus you can choose any of the professions according to your choices. 


What is harder to become: a Doctor or a Professor?

Getting both degrees is hard and therefore you need to put a lot of effort and give more time to become one. When you are thinking of getting a doctorate degree you will need to give several years to research and publications. Also, you need to do a lot of coursework, writing, etc. to become one of them. If you want to become a professor you will need to go through a lot of competition in the field. Also, you will need to have good publications and experience to enter the field.
To become a professor or doctor you will need a lot of hard work and patience. Thus, we can say that becoming a professor or doctor is hard in their own ways and therefore which one is hard will depend upon the individual and not the title.

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