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Higher education (HE) lecturers teach adults and do research in universities and some colleges.


Average salaries are in the region of £19,000.00 to £55,000.00. Salaries will vary depending on location / employer

Career Profile

Higher education (HE) lecturers teach adults and do research in universities and some colleges.

What they do

A lecturer teaches academic and vocational (job-related) subjects at undergraduate and postgraduate level to students who are usually over the age of 18. He or she can be a professor, senior lecturer, lecturer, researcher, research associate or research assistant.

This is a challenging and satisfying career educating the next generation of construction professionals.

Typical duties include:

  • Teaching at lectures and seminars
  • Doing practical demonstrations and fieldwork
  • Planning their sessions and develop teaching materials
  • Setting and marking assignments and exams
  • Assessing the work and progress of their students

They also act as personal tutor to some students and have paperwork to do, which includes writing reports. It’s possible to be employed in a joint teaching and research position. In a college, the focus of a lecturer’s work is likely to be on teaching rather than research.

Some lecturers are allowed time off (called a sabbatical) of up to one academic year to pursue research work.

Hours & Salary:

  • HE lecturers on a full-time contract can earn between £33,000 and £43,000 a year 
  • This can rise to around £50,000 to £55,000 for senior lecturers 

Salaries depend on location, employer, experience and level of responsibility.


 

More information can be found on the University and College Union website

You can also take our Personality Quiz to find out which construction career is right for you.

Case Study

Loughborough has one of the largest multi-disciplinary engineering faculties in the UK. I prepare and deliver lectures at undergraduate and postgraduate level in surveying, computing, estimating and construction management. I deliver learning material in a range of formats including small tutorial groups, practical lab sessions and field trips. I devise the delivery methods and material to suit the group to try and maximise the engagement of the class.

A growing part of my role is the preparation of online digital lectures and additional online tutorial material. I am also the industrial placement co-ordinator for two courses. This involves securing over 70 placement jobs each year, both in this country and overseas. This carries over to helping the graduates get jobs as well.

How did you get started?

I started out as a trainee, completing my civil engineering degree studies while working in the industry. I then progressed to engineer and held a variety of roles as an engineer and land surveyor both in this country and overseas. This included working in the Middle East on oil production facilities. Following this I worked as a contracts manager and director then joined Loughborough University as a technical tutor in 1993. I wanted to be more involved in the career development of individuals over a longer period of time and over a greater breadth of subjects.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I get to have a positive input to the course direction and content, which provides very tangible results in the development of young people in an interesting career. I also enjoy the variety of the work, which allows continued personal development. I get the opportunity to meet and listen to a number of speakers across a range of topics on a daily basis. Finally, I enjoy working with the other staff. All of them are committed to producing quality work across the full spectrum of the built environment. The people I work with are a very key factor in my enjoyment of the role.  

What skills do you need?

Communication skills are key in this role. The ability to engage and encourage students through lectures and tutorials is important. The lecturer's job requires you to communicate with students on a one-to-one basis. You need to be able to put the students at their ease and encourage them to discuss personal issues with you. This is very important if you are given the role of personal tutor. Skills in the production of course notes and handouts to support the lectures are equally necessary. The growing requirement to produce material online requires another range of communication skills.

Organisational skills in personal time management and record keeping are important, along with self-motivation. There is a level of freedom with the role so you need to be focused to reach and exceed set goals. 

Proudest achievement?

In the past 40 years I have progressed from a chain lad on site (the least senior member of a surveying crew) to a chartered civil engineering surveyor with a wealth of friends and memories that I have acquired along the way.  

Any advice about joining the construction industry? 

The opportunities to work in the UK and overseas on a range of different projects are what makes this industry exciting. It is the people you meet that make it special. 

There is no team game quite like it and no two days are the same. You play your small part to make it all work. Me and a couple of thousand other people built a power station or a road or a tunnel. There are very few other professions that can say that.  

Qualifications & Training

For most lecturing roles you need a relevant degree (first class or 2.1) and a PhD (or be working towards one). You also need the ability to carry out original research and have work published. 

You must have experience of teaching or be able to show that you have the potential to teach. To lecture in vocational subjects related to construction careers you need a relevant degree or professional qualification – plus several years of relevant work experience behind you.

You may be able to gain experience by taking on teaching duties (possibly paid by the hour) while you are a research student. Some universities advertise opportunities under job titles such as graduate teaching assistant.

Scotland

Entry is very competitive. You need a first class or upper second class Honours degree in your subject.

For entry to a degree course you normally need 4-5 Highers plus subjects at Standard grade or National 5, depending on the subject you want to study.

In addition to their first degree, most new entrants have, or are working towards, a postgraduate qualification (such as MLitt, MPhil, MSc, MBA, PhD). It is now very difficult to become an HE lecturer in many subjects unless you have a PhD or are working towards one.

Most entrants also have research experience and have published reports, papers or, in some cases, books on their subject.

It is useful to have teaching experience of any kind.

If your subject is a vocational one, it is very helpful to have had relevant work experience.

There are no age limits for entry, but you will probably be in your mid to late twenties by the time you have the necessary qualifications.

You would require a satisfactory PVG (Protecting Vulnerable Groups) check to show you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details.

HE lecturers can usually do a wide range of in-house training and may also be supported in doing external courses if they are relevant to your work.

Postgraduate qualifications such as Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching (Higher Education) are available. These are sometimes compulsory for new staff on permanent contracts and can be done alongside your lecturing work.

Your Progression

With experience you could be promoted to senior (or principal) lecturer with academic management responsibilities. The next step is reader, with responsibility for high-level independent research. Promotion to these levels is very competitive, so your work must be of a very high standard.

An outstanding research and publishing record could lead to becoming a professor. This brings the responsibility for furthering research through action such as setting up new research teams and bringing in new funding. At this level you may also be head of a department or a group of departments and do less teaching.

Want to find out more?

Try our Matching Service for work experience opportunities in your local area, with new opportunities being added on a regular basis. 

Looking for a vacancy? 

Here are some construction vacancy websites you may find useful: 

Indeed

FE Jobs

The number of jobs vacancies related to your preferred job role may vary daily, as these are external websites. Check regularly to see new opportunities as they are posted.

Career trends and forecasts

Higher education is part of the lifelong learning sector. This also includes community learning and development, further education, libraries, archives and information services, and work based learning.  

Search other careers

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