Assistant professor is an academic rank used in universities or colleges in the United States, Canada, and some other countries. It is generally taken after earning a doctoral degree and sometimes after several years of holding a postdoctoral researcher position. It is below the position of associate professor at most universities and is equivalent to the rank of lecturer at most Commonwealth universities. In the United States, assistant professor is often the first position held in a tenure track, although it can also be a non-tenure track position. Full professorships are assistant professor, associate professor, and full professor in order. After 7 years, if a tenure-track position and successful, assistant professors can get tenure and also get promotion to associate professors.  It is very competitive to become a tenure-track assistant professor, especially at top tier and research universities in the U.S. Sometimes close to 300-500 applicants apply for a single position. Due to funding issues the number of positions for full time professors has dropped significantly. Colleges are saving money by replacing full-time professors with adjuncts. With these facts, less than 20% of graduates get tenure-track assistant professor positions immediately after graduation.