How To Become a Proctor in 4 Steps (With Skills and Salary)

Updated June 30, 2023

Proctors are professionals who oversee the test-taking process. Academic institutions often hire proctors to monitor high-stakes exams, such as licensing tests, final course exams, admittance tests and proficiency exams. If you enjoy working in academic settings and want a job with a flexible schedule, you might want to consider applying for a proctor position.

In this article, we define what a proctor is and what they do and share steps to teach you how to become a proctor.

Key takeaways:

  • A proctor is someone who administers tests and oversees the testing process to prevent cheating and confusion.

  • There are often age, background and experience requirements to be eligible for proctor positions.

  • Proctors use skills like comprehension, patience and attention to detail when administering tests.

What is a proctor?

A proctor is a third-party professional who monitors students while they take an exam. Academic institutions hire these professionals to ensure the professional overseeing the test-taking process is unbiased and has no motivation to allow the students to use outside resources to pass the exam. Proctors typically monitor important tests such as final exams, the SATs, ACTs and other college proficiency courses. Certification institutions might also hire a proctor to oversee a licensing exam.

Related: 10 Steps You Can Take To Make More Money as a Teacher

What does a proctor do?

When administering and monitoring exams, proctors are responsible for the following duties:

  • Check student IDs and make an attendance record

  • Explain exam instructions to test takers

  • Monitor students to ensure they didn't bring unauthorized outside resources to the test

  • Stay in the same room as the test takers for the entirety of the exam

  • Take note of any student who didn't comply with the exam rules

  • Report technical difficulties and emergency situations

  • Submit additional documentation about the exam as needed

How to become a proctor

If you're interested in becoming a proctor, try to follow these steps:

1. Research the requirements for your area

The requirements to become a proctor differ depending on your location and which institution in which you're applying. Research the qualifications your state typically requires to ensure you take the right steps to qualify. Though these requirements vary, some general qualifications include:

  • Education: Most employers require a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent. However, some prefer proctors to have a bachelor's degree, usually in education, human resources management or a field related to the exam.

  • Experience: For some major exams, employers prefer proctors to have monitored tests before. Some employers prefer candidates who are teachers, military officers or state employees.

  • Age: Many states require proctors to be at least 21 or older.

  • References: Because being a proctor generally requires professionals to have integrity and good moral character, many employers want applicants to have references for both their character and employment history. In some cases, you may need to submit a background check.

  • Background: It's important for proctors to be unbiased third-party professionals. This means proctors can't have any connection to the academic institution they're working for or know any of the test takers personally.

Related: Q&A: What's Included in an Employment Background Check?

2. Find proctoring jobs in your area

Since the requirement for proctors varies, it's often helpful to find institutions in which you want to work first. To do this, consider the academic institutions in your area and search for open positions. If they aren't advertising any proctoring jobs, consider contacting their head office. It's also helpful to connect with a network of proctors, so you can share opportunities and advice.

When looking for a proctoring job, it's important to consider the following:

  • Your personal history: Don't apply to any institutions you've attended or ones that your friends or family members attend, as this would be a conflict of interest.

  • Your schedule: Some institutions require their proctors to monitor a certain number of exams per semester, so it's important that you can fit this requirement into your schedule.

  • Test-taking schedules: If you want to proctor exams on a more frequent basis, it's beneficial to apply to colleges or certification programs, as they often host exams on a monthly basis. If you want to work seasonally, consider applying at high schools, as they usually host college proficiency tests, such as the ACT, during certain times of the year.

  • Special qualifications: If you have special qualifications, such as a teaching license or other certification experience, you may be a good candidate for institutions hosting licensing exams.

Related: The Best Jobs for Making Your Own Schedule

3. Familiarize yourself with test-taking procedures

Once you find a position you'd like to pursue, familiarize yourself with the test-taking procedures of the institution. It may be helpful to gather knowledge on various common exams to help you become a more versatile candidate. During the interview process, you may be asked about specific test procedures and behavioral questions. Because of this, it's important to fully understand the duties of a proctor and how to interpret exam rules.

Related: How To Answer Behavioral Interview Questions

4. Get experience

It's helpful to earn as much proctoring experience as possible before applying for high-profile positions. Consider applying to colleges to proctor for final exams, as these positions may have fewer requirements to meet. Because many exams are online, consider earning experience as an online proctor as well. This can give you an advantage in the hiring process and help you gain valuable knowledge. Try to gain experience with many different types of exams to help you become a more well-rounded professional.

Skills for proctors

To become a successful proctor, consider developing these skills:

  • Attention to detail: Proctors need strong attention to detail in order to notice if a student is using unauthorized outside resources to complete their tests.

  • Integrity: These professionals often need to have strong moral character in order to monitor important exams impartially.

  • Computer proficiency: Because some institutions offer exams online, it's important for proctors to have a reasonable level of computer proficiency.

  • Communication: Proctors use communication skills to explain the rules for exams to test takers and to report to their employers about the results of the exam.

  • Patience: Proctors benefit from having strong levels of patience as they must remain in the same room as test takers for the duration of the exam, which sometimes can last around three hours.

  • Comprehension: In order to share the rules for the exam with students, proctors need to be able to read them in advance and understand them so that they can address any concerns regarding exam regulations.

Salary expectations for proctors

Proctors make an average of $31,244 per year. This salary can vary depending on a professional's employer and location. Many proctoring positions allow for schedule flexibility, and some might also offer tuition reimbursement. Because these positions usually offer an hourly salary and a flexible schedule, becoming a proctor can be a good way to earn supplemental income.

What is the work environment for proctors?

Proctors work indoors, often in classrooms at either colleges or high schools. Sometimes vocational schools and career centers hire proctors for exams. This job requires you to travel to test locations. Once on the location, you sit and observe test takers for the duration of their exam. To ensure the integrity of the test, you may walk around the classroom periodically to supervise students and make sure they're not cheating. The work isn't strenuous, offers flexibility and requires little social interaction, making it an ideal job for introverts.

Tips for working as a proctor

Consider these tips to help you become more successful as a proctor:

Build your network

Building a professional network can help you find more proctoring opportunities. Try to attend education conferences where you might meet teachers or school staff members who hire proctors in their district. You can also connect with professionals online through social media. You can use your network to source potential jobs and to help you connect with more professionals.

Read more: The Benefits of Networking: 14 Reasons To Start Your Network

Make a good impression

Be sure to make a good impression on employers, educators and students when you work as a proctor. This increases the chances of them contacting and hiring you for future tests. You can make a good impression by being attentive during the exam, following all the rules, such as preventing the use of electronics and assisting students to the best of your ability.

Read more: Your Guide To Making Good First Impressions

Travel for jobs

If you're able to travel to proctor exams, you may have more opportunities. Consider school districts that are farther away. This job already requires you to drive to different locations to administer tests, so if you like to travel, you might just travel further.

Create a comfortable environment

As a proctor, you're responsible for creating a suitable environment for taking an exam. Try to limit distractions by closing doors and pulling window shades. You can also collect personal devices like mobile phones before the test. This limits distractions and can help prevent cheating. You can also make the room more comfortable for students by setting the thermostat to an agreeable temperature.

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