If your dream is to impart knowledge to others, then becoming a lecturer may be the best career choice for you. If you’re interested in becoming a lecturer, then you are in the right place as I will outline all you need to know in this article.
What is a lecturer?
A lecturer is a teaching professional who impacts knowledge on students at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. They have specialized knowledge in a particular field and may teach a particular subject under that field, or a variety of subjects related to their field of expertise.
Lecturers are well-learned individuals who have extensive knowledge in their chosen fields. They know so much that new knowledge is usually gotten from the research activities they do to contribute to their university or institution of work.
How to become a lecturer
1. Obtain a bachelor’s degree
If there is a subject you’re particularly interested in, you can pursue a bachelor’s degree in that area. For instance, if you love chemistry and you see yourself teaching chemistry in the future, then go for it. However, if you’re not sure what exactly to pursue, you can study a more general subject and spend time exploring other subjects that you have an interest in. You can choose to major in education and take up courses in more specialized areas like biology or finance depending on where your interest lies.
While earning your bachelor’s degree it is paramount that you maintain a high academic standard. To become a lecturer, you must pursue postgraduate studies and most schools will only accept you if you graduate with a high GPA.
2. Obtain a postgraduate degree
You must obtain a postgraduate degree if you want to become a lecturer. Most universities will accept you with a master’s degree, but to move up the ladder in your career, you must attain a PhD.
Postgraduate studies are not just important in getting you a job. It will also help you gain more depth in your knowledge of your field. And since the job of lecturers is research-intensive, postgraduate studies especially a PhD will help prepare you for advanced research methods.
During your postgraduate studies, you should have a clearer goal of the subject you want to delve into. At this stage, you must specialize since you can’t possibly teach everything as a lecturer. A bachelor’s degree will help you explore your interests so that you can pursue them in your postgraduate degree.
3. Gain experience
Teaching experience is extremely important in your goal of becoming a lecturer and the sooner you start to accumulate it the better. You can offer your tutoring services as early as during your bachelor’s degree and amass experience to add to your portfolio. During your graduate studies, you should aim to become a graduate teaching assistant to get some teaching experience. This involves marking essays and exams, performing tutorials, and assisting with lectures and research.
You can try your hand at internships or apprenticeships to gain more experience and learn directly from other lecturers. This will help increase your skills and give you a better understanding of what being a lecturer entails.
You may also need several years of experience working in your chosen field, especially if your area of expertise is a vocational subject. You may also need to attain professional qualifications. This will help to establish your expertise in the subject.
4. Pursue research and publication
Lecturers are often expected to contribute to their field through research and publications, so having something published will help kickstart your career. This is not a prerequisite to becoming a lecturer, but having your work published will help show your expertise in your chosen field. One great opportunity is your PhD thesis. If you can write a good thesis and it gets published, it will help boost your research profile significantly.
Even as a lecturer, you should always strive for continuous research and have some of your best works published. This will help you contribute to the research activities of your university, and build your prominence in the field.
You can share your extensive knowledge after years of teaching and research by publishing your textbook or work of fiction.
5. Find a job
After you have gained the required educational background and have acquired the necessary experience, then the next step is to kickstart your career by getting a job. Start researching for open positions by visiting job boards and contacting your chosen institution to ask if there are available positions.
When applying to jobs, you must craft a good resume and cover letter that is tailored to the job description and showcases your best qualities and relevant experiences. This will help you stand out more and increase your chances of landing a good job.
A career as a lecturer is quite rewarding if you find teaching enjoyable. It is a highly respectable career with growth opportunities. It also comes with a lot of freedom, as lecturers have the freedom to pursue their own research. If you think becoming a lecturer is the right choice for you, then following the guide in this article will put you on the right track.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
To be successful as a lecturer, there are certain skills you must have. They include research, time management, multi-tasking, teaching, critical thinking and networking skills.
The salaries of lecturers will depend on their country of residence and the institution they choose to work in. In the United States, lecturers earn an average of $57,000 per year according to Indeed.
While not always mandatory, teaching experience is highly beneficial for aspiring lecturers. It provides valuable insights into the teaching process and improves your career prospects.
Lecturers give lectures to a large group of students and may prepare seminars, while teachers teach a smaller group of students in a classroom. Another major difference is that teachers teach at the primary and secondary levels while lecturers teach at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
Professors are tenured members of the institution they are working for and have attained a great level of experience and seniority. A lecturer can eventually become a professor after gaining a lot of experience and earning their PhD.
You can enter the workforce as an entry-level lecturer, and work your way up as you gain more experience and pursue higher education. Common paths include lecturer, senior lecturer and professor. Each level comes with increasing responsibilities, leadership and salaries.