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

The Role

  • Teaching lectures and seminars
  • Doing practical demonstrations and fieldwork
  • Planning their sessions and developing teaching materials
  • Setting and marking assignments and exams
  • Assessing the work and progress of their students
  • Acting as personal tutor to some students who require extra support
  • Possible to be employed in a joint teaching and research position


  • 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.

Qualifications and 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.

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


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Bruce Wright

Bruce Wright is a Senior Technical Tutor in Land Surveying and Computing.

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Find out more

For information on the Lecturer role in Scotland please visit the Skills Development Scotland website My World of Work.

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