CHOOSING A CAREER / JUL. 29, 2014
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How to Become a Higher Education Lecturer

Higher education lecturers play an important role in nurturing tomorrow’s professionals. They deliver high-quality instruction to students pursuing postsecondary courses, including diplomas, undergraduate and graduate degrees. Higher education lecturers can specialize in a wide variety of disciplines, ranging from engineering and medicine to business and nursing. To qualify for this profession, you must hold advanced academic qualifications and possess excellent instructional skills.

The Work

Apart from delivering lectures in halls, laboratories or workshops, higher education lecturers also perform the following tasks;

  • Preparing for teaching sessions
  • Giving assignments and administering assessment tests and examinations to evaluate students’ progress
  • Supervising and guiding students on research activities
  • Engaging in research projects to gather more information on various topics
  • Publishing research findings in journals, educational newsletters and textbooks
  • Counseling students on relevant issues
  • Executing administrative tasks assigned by the institution, such as curriculum development.

Work Environment

Although the number of hours higher education lecturers work in a week depends on their teaching schedules, they spend most of their time in offices or staffrooms. Evening and weekend work is common in this profession.

Lecturers teaching technical and science courses, such as mechanical engineering and nursing, often wear overalls when instructing students. In general, the work of higher education lecturers involves talking and standing for long hours.

Salary

Salaries for high education lecturers depend on their seniority, as shown below;

Level of seniority

Annual pay

Junior lectures

£33,000-£43,000

Senior lecturers

£44,000-£55,000

Source: National Careers Service

Education and Training

To qualify as a higher education lecturer, you need vast teaching experience, along with an advanced degree in the discipline you want to teach. For example, if you want to be an economics lecturer in a university, you must earn at least a master’s degree in economics and gain about five years of teaching experience. Some positions might require a PhD.

Wondering where to get this experience? Well, it takes patience and persistence to qualify for employment as a higher education lecturer. While working toward a master’ degree, for example, you can look for teaching jobs in vocational schools and junior colleges. The experience you gain here will help you secure jobs in universities.

Research experience is also a key employment factor. How many research projects have you engaged in? Have you published any research findings in academic journals? These are the kind of questions potential employers will be looking to answer when scrutinizing your CV.

Important Skills, Abilities and Qualities

Apart from having vast knowledge in your subject area, you should also have;

  • Confidence to stand in large multitudes and deliver instruction effectively
  • Organizational and time management skills to prepare for, and attend all lectures on time
  • Good verbal and written communication skills
  • The ability to inspire your students
  • Commitment and hard work to secure promotions to senior positions
  • Administrative skills to be effectively manage students and lead a department or faculty.

Training and Development

In a profession were everyone is looking to earn advanced degrees, it can be quite challenging to take your career to the next level. It often comes down to your versatility, experience and competence as a lecturer. This should not, however, discourage you from pursuing more knowledge. If you have a master’s degree, go for a PhD.

Professional associations are also important career progression platforms. You should join as many relevant associations as you can. When these associations are holding seminars or conferences, be sure to attend and network with other lecturers.

When a promotion comes your way, you can become a head of department, head of faculty or dean of students.

Job Opportunities

The employers for higher education lecturers include;

  • Universities
  • Colleges
  • Vocational schools
  • Research institutions

Useful Links

To this point, we have no doubt you have acquired all the information you need to become a higher education lecturer; a profession that puts you in a position to influence the futures of thousands of students.

Image SourcedNortheastern University

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