Higher Education (HE) Lecturer
Higher education (HE) lecturers teach academic or work-related subjects to students over the age of 18.
The work involves preparing and delivering lectures and holding seminars and tutorials. HE lecturers also assess students' work and carry out research.
Also known as
- College of Higher Education Lecturer
- Teacher - Higher Education
- University Lecturer
- HE Lecturer
Video: - Keith: Higher Education Lecturer
Video: - Mark: Senior Lecturer
Higher education (HE) lecturers teach university-level courses leading to qualifications such as degrees, foundation degrees, higher national qualifications and postgraduate qualifications.
Teaching methods include lectures, seminars and tutorials. HE lecturers assess students' coursework, set and mark exams, and plan and design courses. In some subjects, they give practical demonstrations.
HE lecturers use resources such as the internet and audio-visual materials to stimulate interest and learning, and to produce course materials.
They help to develop students' analytical skills and encourage independent research and study. They also help students who are experiencing difficulties with their studies.
HE lecturers research in their specialist fields, aiming to publish their findings. They must keep up with developments in their area. They also undertake administrative duties, manage student admissions and have contact with examining boards and other outside organisations. HE lecturers might be responsible for securing course funding.
As HE lecturers progress in their roles, they often manage and supervise other staff.
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
As a higher education (HE) lecturer, you'll need:
- The ability to inspire your students.
- Organisational and planning skills.
- The ability to express yourself clearly in speech and writing.
- Confidence to teach large numbers of students in lecture theatres.
- Patience, tact and tolerance.
- Research and analytical skills.
Pay and Opportunities
The pay rates given below are approximate.
Most higher education (HE) lecturers are on salaries in the range of £27,500 - £54,000 a year.
Hours of work
HE lecturers can work around 40 hours, Monday to Friday. However, most work longer hours, including evenings and weekends, to mark work, prepare lectures and maintain research commitments.
There might be opportunities for part-time work.
Where could I work?
HE lecturers work in universities and colleges of higher education.
There can also be opportunities to work in other countries.
HE lecturers can work as self-employed freelancers.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised in the local press and national titles such as The Guardian and The Times Educational Supplement (TES), on universities' websites and job boards such as jobs.ac.uk.
Entry Routes and Training
You usually need a degree and a postgraduate qualification (usually a PhD) to become a higher education (HE) lecturer. Entry without a PhD is difficult but might be possible for lecturers with professional or industrial work experience who teach work-related courses, such as accountancy.
PhD and other postgraduate research students can gain valuable experience by taking on part-time teaching duties, supporting the undergraduate students. They might also have administrative responsibilities. They will usually be paid at an hourly rate. However, paid experience while completing your studies is not a guarantee of employment at the end of your course.
Especially early on in your career, it will be common to have fixed-term contracts.
Once in employment, your training might include staff development courses, seminars and conferences.
Postgraduate qualifications, such as postgraduate certificates (PGCerts) in higher education are available. Some universities make it compulsory for new staff to take a postgraduate course; you can complete them alongside lecturing and research work.
The Higher Education Academy (HEA) runs a professional recognition scheme, leading to the status of Associate Fellow, Fellow, Senior Fellow or Principal Fellow of the Academy. To achieve professional recognition, you can complete an Academy-accredited qualification, such as a PG Cert or accredited continuing professional development.
The Open University provides a postgraduate certificate in academic practice, for new and experienced HE lecturers, by distance learning.
Lecturers might move to other posts within the university or to management level.
Most higher education (HE) lecturers have a PhD. The entry requirements for a PhD are usually at least a 2:1 Honours degree followed by a postgraduate degree such as an MA/MSc MPhil. It can sometimes be possible to enter a PhD directly after an undergraduate degree.
For entry to a degree in any subject, the usual requirement is:
- 2/3 A levels
- GCSEs at grade C or above in 5 subjects.
Alternatives to A levels include:
- Edexcel (BTEC) level 3 Nationals
- The International Baccalaureate Diploma.
However, course requirements vary, so please check prospectuses carefully.
Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A-level.
Higher education (HE) lecturers of work-related subjects often have a relevant professional or industrial background.
Relevant training includes part-time PGCerts in higher education teaching. Some courses are available through online learning.
Open University (OU)
Tel: 0845 3006090
UCAS Teacher Training
National Education Union
Publisher: Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL)
Tel: 020 7930 6441
Higher Education Academy