How To Become A Professor (University Lecturer) In Australia?

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Students want to know if becoming a professor or university lecturer is hard.


Do you visualise yourself teaching students in colleges and universities? If yes, then a career as a college professor could be perfect for you.


A professor teaches high school graduates various vocational and academic subjects. A university lecturer instructs tertiary students in single or multiple subject areas and helps them execute research projects.


If you want to make a career as a college professor or a university lecturer, read this guide. You will learn about the college professor role, the requirements, qualifications, courses, degrees, salary potential, job growth rate, and steps to pursue this career.



1. Who Is A College Professor In Australia?


A professor is a professional specialising in various subject areas and fields. It includes academic subjects like English and career-focused subjects like lawbusinessmanagement, chemistrynursing, or arts.


They work in private-funded and public universities, vocational schools, junior colleges, and professional schools. 


When employed in large universities, a professor is involved in research work such as performing experiments, analysing documents, and publishing academic papers and findings.


A professor regularly reads academic articles and attends professional seminars to keep himself updated with the latest changes, developments, and innovations in their field. He may also visit and teach at various other colleges and universities.


A full-time professor performs research work; however, a part-time professor (adjunct professor) devotes his maximum time to teaching students.



2. What Are The Duties Of A Professor/University Lecturer?


Knowledge of the duties and tasks of a professor will help you prepare for this role. By being aware of what you need to contribute as a professor, you can make targeted efforts to pursue this career.


  • Make informative lessons, assignments, tutorials, and lab sessions and deliver them to students.

  • Evaluate and grade students' performance in their assignments, examinations, and essays.

  • Oversee students who are studying for doctoral degrees.

  • Talk to students pursuing a degree or certification courses to learn about their aspirations and progress and enhance their knowledge and career skillset. 

  • Plan learning activities and field trips/ tours for students 

  • Perform thorough research in the area of specialisation. 

  • Publish original research and findings in academic journals and books.

  • Attend research-related seminars, conferences, and meetings. 

  • Arrange timetables for the course-curriculum

  • Coordinate and oversee teaching assistants (TA) to conduct theoretical/practical classes.

  • Manage works of PG students, research assistants, tutorial staff, new lecturers, and honours students. 

  • Attends meetings, seminars, and conferences at the faculty and departmental level

  • Actively involved in setting and revising academic course curriculum and degree requirements, per the college/university standards, and performing educational planning.

  • Offer students advice about specific classes to take to achieve their career goals.

  • Lead or support specific learning courses, offering tutorials, practical sessions, and lectures to assist students in getting a good grasp of course material.



3. What Are The Requirements For A College Professor / University Lecturer?


Professors and University lecturers are social personalities gifted with numerous noble virtues that make them apt for this role. They are kind, accommodating, patient, sympathetic, caring, supportive, diplomatic, and welcoming.


Along with the above, a successful professor/university lecturer also exhibits the following skills:


  • Good academic knowledge

  • Inquisitive nature

  • Keen interest in compiling original research

  • Excellent teaching skills

  • Intuitive abilities to understand the needs of their students 

  • Practical written and verbal communication skills

  • Capable of presenting information confidently in front of a large audience 

  • Team player skills

  • Leadership, organisational and managerial skills

  • Attention to detail 

  • Good problem-solving skills

  • Socialising abilities to interact, persuade or assist people

  • Able to express themselves in a creative and artistic manner



4. What Qualifications Are Needed To Become A College Professor In Australia?


A student needs specific basic-level qualifications to become a college professor or a lecturer at 4-year degree colleges and universities. 


However, the exact education requirement will depend on the college you apply to.



A Doctoral Degree


Most colleges look for a job applicant with a "doctoral degree" or a PhD in the field they want to teach—for example, a PhD in economics, English literature, etc.


To apply for a doctoral degree, you must have completed a bachelor's degree and a master's degree. The duration of a doctoral degree is 5 to 7 years.



Teaching Experience


More than just obtaining a degree is required to qualify for the role of a college professor or a University Lecturer. The job also demands relevant teaching experience.


A few colleges offer part-time teaching jobs to students pursuing this career goal. Herein, a student has to teach undergraduate classes under the administration of a full-time faculty member. This is an excellent way to get teaching experience.


The other way to get teaching experience is by becoming a Teaching Assistant. 


The main job of a TA is to help a full-time faculty member with a wide range of tasks, including preparing learning materials and tutorials, grading papers and leading a small group of students.



Professional License / Certification (Only for Technical and Vocational Teaching)


The next step is obtaining a teaching license after gaining a PhD in specialisation and relevant teaching experience. However, a license is only needed if you plan to teach in a vocational or technical field, such as education, health, and accounting.


So, suppose you are preparing to teach college students at the secondary level. In that case, you do not need a teaching certification or a license.



Impressive Academic Presence


The teaching field is highly competitive. Nowadays, many educational institutions seek professors who have published significant and innovative research works to augment learning.


To increase your job chances, you must show your academic presence with quality peer-reviewed scholarly articles; research works, and publications in books and journals. 


It applies to both prospective professors as well as practising professors.



5. Certificates And Courses For University Lecturers And College Professors in Australia


The growing number of professional learning institutions has increased the demand for professors/university lecturers in Australia. You do not require a doctoral degree to present published research works to secure an entry-level position in these career fields.


Having good practical experience in the field you want to teach will make your road easier to pursue the job.


For example, suppose you want to teach business and are already running a successful business. In that case, that experience and relevant certifications are sufficient to start in this field. Read on to learn more about becoming a lecturer without a PhD.


Here are a few certifications and courses that help students expand their skill set and learn the proper methods to teach adults in different settings. 


Some of the highlights of the course are:


  • Enabling lifelong learning

  • Working Dynamics of cultural diversity in the Community and Workplace 

  • Curriculum building for practitioners

  • Practical procedures of instruction


Click on the below links to learn more about the course details:



Having done the graduate-level certifications, you can even undertake advanced-level courses to gain an expert understanding of the field of education. The areas covered under these postgraduate courses are research-based learning and intellectual scholarship in education.


A Master's program requires a student to complete a significant thesis that comprises advanced study and research through PG coursework and thesis. These courses are ideal for all who wish to expand their skills and career possibilities.


  • Master of Education (By Research) - The University of Western Australia

  • Master of Education (Research) - University of Canberra

  • Master of Education (Research) - New England UNE

  • Master of Business Research - The University of Adelaide

  • Master of Education (By Thesis and Coursework) - University of Western Australia



6. Work-Life Of A College Professor/University Lecturer In Australia


A college professor/university lecturer career is considered a noble and prized possession.


  • The job of a lecturer involves teaching students, conducting research, and publishing their research.


  • A university lecturer is employed part-time, full-time, contractual, or casual in tertiary institutions like universities.


  • The work schedule of a professor is quite flexible. They often have to stay on campus teaching students during work hours. It is implausible to take lectures outside the campus.


  • Mostly, a professor has to conduct daytime classes. Those with family responsibilities or existing jobs take classes on weekends and at night.


  • Most professors prefer researching in the summers. They refrain from teaching on these days of the year.


  • Most professors in their initial stages find it stressful to progress in 4-year research universities. However, with time and practice, they slowly get accustomed to these duties and find a work-life balance.


  • Considering the high competition in the educational field and the challenging role of a professor, the overall satisfaction score of professionals employed in this job role is relatively high. The ability to serve students in their learning and help them make a thriving career gives a sense of contentment and achievement. This has been the prime factor that makes the job very appealing.



7. Academic Ranks Of A Professor in Australia


A candidate has to go through various stages to reach the top of the teaching profession and qualify as a professor in Australia.



Level A:


  • Tutor: A college/university tutor can offer online training to students outside of work hours. They are employed privately or via a tutoring organisation to help students excel academically.


  • Associate Lecturer: This is the starting stage wherein the candidate teaches and mentors students. He may even participate in the professional development of students via research and other related works.


  • Research Associate: He is a candidate with a PhD degree or training equivalent to this degree. He plans, organises, and performs research in the field of his specialisation)



Level B:


  • Lecturer: A candidate who has extensive industry experience appropriate to teaching and research but lacks a PhD is appointed for the post of a lecturer



Level C:


  • Senior Lecturer: An academic staff who demonstrates continued competence in teaching and research for 4 to 6 years of service is promoted to this stage)


  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow: A candidate who participates in 'mentored research and academic training for some period at a college/ university to perform research, publish more findings, obtain more teaching exposure and enhance their resume)



Level D:


  • Associate Professor: A candidate who has made an exceptional contribution to teaching and research at a national or international level and is developing an impressive international profile is appointed to this job title)


  • Adjunct Professor: He is a candidate who holds a PhD degree and is appointed part-time faculty in colleges/universities under this post.)



Level E:


There you are! Once you complete the below stages in your academic career, you qualify for the post of Professor.


With continued experience, a university lecturer could be promoted to a post of educational leadership, where he can be a dean, college principal, or head of a training school.


Besides working in an institution, a lecturer can work as an independent consultant or in any professional practice.



8. How Much Does A University Lecturer Earn In Australia?


The average associate professor's salary in Australia is $104,676 per year in Australia. A beginner-level university lecturer with a PhD and a few years of experience in postdoctoral research would make around AU$79,970 a year plus 17% superannuation


The average earnings of a mid-career lecturer with 5 to 9 years of experience are AU$99,910 p.a. An average experienced professor's salary in Australia with 10 to 19 years of experience is AU$99,460 p.a.


Here is the salary range for different professionals in the field of education in Australia:


  • Professor: $175,000 and above

  • Senior Lecturer: between $112,000 and $140,000

  • Lecturer: between $92,000 and $118,000

  • Associate Lecturer: between $64,000 and $92,000



9. How To Become A College Professor In Australia?


Here is a stepwise guide that talks about the steps to take to become a college professor:



Step 1: Earn an Undergraduate Degree


The pathway to becoming a professor starts with securing a bachelor's degree. It is a necessary qualification to enter graduate school.



Step 2: Choose The Field of Specialisation


You must decide on the subject you want to teach and gain expertise in. 


Along with the coursework, enrol in an internship to improvise your skills and knowledge.



Step 3: Complete A Graduate Degree


Getting a master's degree is essential to working as a professor at a community college.


You need a doctorate to teach students at university or four-year colleges.



Step 4: Become an Assistant


Working as an assistant during their graduate years can help them gain practical work experience while earning a stipend/financial aid. 


Based on your academic department, you can work as a research assistant, teaching assistant, or administrative assistant to progress toward becoming a future professor.



Step 5: Gain Postdoctoral Experience


To work as a professor at a college or university, consider gaining postdoctoral experience. 


Conducting original research and building a portfolio of their publishing works in academic journals help you land a postdoctoral job fast.



10. How To Become A University Lecturer In Australia?


To become a lecturer at a 4-year college or university, you must gain suitable educational qualifications and experience before submitting your job application.



Step 1: Identify The Academic Subject To Teach


Before earning a doctoral degree, you must decide on the subject you wish to teach.



Step 2: Earn A PhD


Many universities require a doctoral degree or a (3-7 years) PhD degree to qualify for the post of Professor. 


It is because the degree demonstrates your subject matter expertise and gives you experience in researching and teaching. 


In this way, it helps maximise the possibility of becoming a lecturer.



Step 3: Conduct Original Research


During your PhD, you must extensively conduct original and independent research and publish your discoveries in books and reputed academic journals.



Step 4: Gain Teaching Experience


Impressive teaching skills are a prerequisite among job applicants who aspire to become university lecturers. 


Grab every opportunity that comes your way to teach a small or large group of high school students.



Step 5: Apply for A Lecturer Job


Register on the educational job listing websites and keep a tab on the academic job vacancies released for the position of Lecturer.


Browse these websites weekly to apply for a position as and when it gets released.


Craft a resume highlighting your education, skills, and work experience that qualifies you to work at a university. Supplement it with a job-specific cover letter that shows why you are the most eligible candidate for this role.


You can include your teaching philosophy, personal skills, and experience to make your cover letter creative and impressive. Provide 2-3 references from professors or lecturers who know you and your research works.



10. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)



What Industry Bodies Regulate The Teaching Profession In Australia?




Do I Need To Join A Professional Organisation To Become A Professor/Lecturer In Australia?


Becoming a member of a professional organisation allows you to network with others related to your field. Knowing potential employers and staying updated on developments in your subject matter area is also beneficial.



You can join these few top Australian professional organisations to progress your career.



How Can Becoming A Teaching Assistant Help Me Become A UL Fast?


Working as a TA provides valuable extra-curricular experience to any aspiring professor. Besides earning a stipend, you learn a lot about teaching methods and skills at the post-secondary level.


As a TA, you need to perform the following tasks:


  • Grade assignments and papers

  • Lead a small discussion or practical lab sections 

  • Conduct admin tasks for the professor



Where Can I Study To Become A Lecturer?


You can find top universities in each state of Australia that offers a PhD program and certification courses in a wide area of specialisation.


Some of the reputable Australian universities to get the necessary qualification for a lecturer are as follows:




How Long Does It Take To Become A Professor?


The pathway to becoming a professor involves a series of stages:


  • Undergraduate Education

  • Graduate School

  • Doctoral Dissertation


You need anywhere between 8 to 11 years to complete the above stages and become a professor.



How Do I Become A University Tutor In Australia?


Working as a university tutor helps future professors supplement their learning track. A tutor teaches online classes (after office hours) to support students to progress intellectually. 


A university tutor in Australia earns between $50k and $80k annually.


They perform the following roles and responsibilities.


  • Memorise different course curriculums

  • Design study programs

  • Present learning material to students in innovative and easy-to-digestible ways.

  • Evaluate and work with students of varying learning abilities

  • Get students ready for assessments.

  • Offer advice to students about their progress and future career.



Here Is How To Become A Tutor:


  • You would need to complete a higher school certificate with a good ATAR.

  • Candidates with an undergraduate degree in teaching, like a Bachelor of Educational Studies, can supplement their resumes. 

  • Candidates can join the Australian Tutoring Association to improve their employability for this role further.



What Is The Difference Between Doctors and Professors In Australia?


Doctor and professor are the two valuable titles that are used in the field of education and medicine. This is because a PhD holder and an MBBS degree holder are called Doctors.


However, there are specific differences between them. A doctor belongs to the field of medicine. In contrast, a professor has the highest rank in a university.


A professor with a PhD degree involved in research work is called a doctor in a university, where a doctor in medical science is eligible to treat people and teach junior doctors.



Who Is an Adjunct Professor in Australia?


An Adjunct professor is a PhD holder working part-time in a college/university. 


He is paid based on courses they deliver at various schools in various semesters. They do not get the health insurance benefits of a full-time professor.



11. Conclusion


A college professor/university lecturer career is ideal if you are interested and passionate about teaching. 


The road to pursuing your job is rigorous, requiring expert teaching skills, extensive research abilities, and a long commitment to writing, research, and publication.


It may take years of dedication and hard work, but it is achievable when you know what it takes to prepare for this role and increase your chances of securing a job. 


The above guide helps you make targeted efforts in the right direction to pursue your dream career quickly.


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