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

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

Are you a detail-oriented person who likes doing research and interacting with students? Do you visualize yourself teaching students in colleges and universities? If yes, then a career as a college professor could be meant for you.

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

If you are interested in making a career as a college professor or a university lecturer, then read this guide. Starting with an overview of college professors, the article discusses the basic requirements, educational qualifications, salary potential, job growth rate, and steps needed to pursue your career.


1. Who is a College Professor In Australia?

A professor is a professional who is specialized in a range of subject areas and fields. This includes academic subjects like English, and career-focused subjects like law, business, management, chemistry, nursing, or arts.

He is generally employed in private-funded and public universities, vocational schools, junior colleges, and professional schools.


When employed in large universities, a professor is majorly involved in carrying out research works such as performing experiments, analyzing 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 various other colleges and universities.

A full-time professor majorly performs research works; 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 the performance of students in their assignments, examinations, essays and grade them

  • Oversee students who are studying for doctoral degrees

  • Talk to students who are 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 specialization. 

  • Publish original research and findings in academic journals and books

  • Attend research-related seminars, conferences, and meetings  

  • Arrange timetables of 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 honors students 

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

  • Actively involves in setting and revision of academic course curriculum, degree requirements, as per the college/university standards, and performing academic planning.

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

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


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


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

  • Effective written and verbal communication skills

  • Capable to present information confidently in front of a large audience 

  • Team player skills

  • Leadership, organizational and managerial skills

  • An attention to detail 

  • Good problem-solving skills

  • Socialising skills 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 certain basic-level qualifications to become a college professor or a university lecturer at 4-year degree colleges and universities.


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


A Doctoral Degree

Most colleges look for a job applicant to have a “doctoral degree” or a Ph.D. in the subject field that they want to teach. For example, a Ph.D. in economics, English literature, etc.

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


Teaching Experience

Just obtaining a degree is not sufficient to qualify for the role of a college professor or a University Lecturer.


The job role also demands a good amount of relevant teaching experience as graduate students lead or support undergraduate classes.

There are a few colleges that offer part-time teaching jobs to students desiring to pursue this career goal.


Herein, a student has to teach undergraduate classes under the administration of a full-time faculty member. This is a good way to get a teaching experience.


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


The main job of a TA is to help a full-time faculty member in 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)

After gaining a Ph.D. degree in the area of specialization and relevant teaching experience, the next step is to obtain a teaching license.


However, a license is only needed if you plan to teach in a vocational or technical field, such as education, health, and accounting.

So, if you are preparing to teach college students at the secondary level, then you do not need a teaching certification or a license.


Impressive Academic Presence

The teaching field is highly competitive. An increasing number of educational institutions are nowadays seeking professors who have published significant and innovative research works to augment learning.

To gain an edge over your competitors and increase your job chances, you need to show your academic presence via quality peer-reviewed academic articles, independent and original research works, and publications in books and journals.


This is applicable for both prospective professors as well as practicing professors.



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

The growing number of professional learning institutions has led to an increase in the demand for professors/university lecturers in Australia.


To secure an entry-level position in both these career fields, you do not essentially require a doctoral degree and present published research works.

If you have good practical experience in the field you want to teach, then it will make your road easier to pursue the job.

For example, if you want to teach business and you are already running a successful business, or have a popular business app, then that experience along with relevant certifications are sufficient to make a start in this field.

Read on to know more about becoming a lecturer without Ph.D.

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

Completing these courses adds weightage to your resume and increases your employability too.

Click on the below links to know 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, 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 those who wish to expand their skills and career possibilities.

Click on the below links to know more about the course details. 



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

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


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


  • A university lecturer is employed on a part-time, full-time, contractual, or casual basis 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 very unlikely 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 time.


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


  • Most of the professors who are at 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 quite 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 work hours. They are employed either privately or via a tutoring organization 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 who holds a Ph.D. degree or training equivalent to this degree. He plans, organizes, and performs research in the field of his specialization)


Level B:


  • Lecturer: A candidate who has extensive industry experience appropriate to teaching and research but lacks a Ph.D. 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 are promoted to this stage)


  • Post-doctoral 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' in teaching and research at a national or international level and is developing an impressive international profile are appointed at this job title)


  • Adjunct Professor: He is a candidate who holds a Ph.D. degree is appointed as 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 and training, a university lecturer could be promoted to a post of educational leadership where he can take the roles of a dean, college principal, or head of a training school.

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


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

The average associate professor salary in Australia is $104,676 per year in Australia.

A beginner-level university lecturer who has a Ph.D. 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 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:


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.


Choose the field of specialization

You need to decide on the subject that you want to teach and gain expertise in it.


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


Complete a Graduate degree

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


If your goal is to teach students at university or four-year colleges, then you need a doctorate.


Become an Assistant

Working as an assistant during their graduate years can help you 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 on your path to becoming a future professor.


Gain Post-Doctoral Experience

To compete for the post of a professor at a college or university, it is beneficial to obtain post-doctoral experience.


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


10. How To Become A University Lecturer In Australia?

To become a lecturer at a 4-year college or university, you need to gain the right educational qualification and experience before you submit your job application.


Identify the academic subject to teach

Before earning a doctoral degree, you need to decide on the subject that you find interesting and wish to teach.


Earn a PhD

A lot of universities require a doctoral degree or a (3-7 years) Ph.D. degree to qualify for the post of professor.


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


In this way, it helps maximize the possibilities of becoming a lecturer.


Conduct original research

During your Ph.D., you need to extensively conduct original and independent research and publish your discoveries in books and reputed academic journals.



Gain teaching experience

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


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


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 a lecturer.


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

Craft a resume that highlights 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.

Some of the things that you can include in your cover letter to make it creative and impressive are your teaching philosophy, personal skills, experience, and skills that make you a potential candidate for the lecturer post than other applicants.

Provide 2-3 references from professors or lecturers who know you and your research works.


11. Conclusion

A career as a college professor/university lecturer is ideal if you are inquisitive 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 to secure a job.


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


FAQ’s on Becoming a Professor

What industry bodies regulate the teaching profession in Australia?



Do I need to join a professional organization to become a professor/lecturer in Australia?

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


These are a few top Australian professional organizations that you can join to progress in your career.


How can becoming a Teaching Assistant help me become a UL fast?

Working as a TA provides a 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 of the states of Australia that offer a Ph.D. program and certification courses in a wide area of specialization.

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




How long does it require me to become a Professor?

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


  • Undergraduate Education 

  • Graduate School 

  • Doctoral Dissertation

You would 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 in a year.

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 good ATAR.

  • Candidates who possess an undergraduate degree in teaching, like a Bachelor of Educational Studies, can supplement their resume 

  • A candidate can get membership of the Australian Tutoring Association to further improve their employability for this role.


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 both a Ph.D. holder and an MBBS degree holder are called Doctors.

However, there are certain differences between them. A doctor is a person who belongs to the field of medicine, whereas a professor is regarded as someone who has got the highest rank in a university.

A professor who has passed a Ph.D. degree and is 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 Ph.D. degree holder who is employed on a part-time basis in a college/university.


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


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